What is the Difference Between a Slip and Relapse?

What’s the Difference Between a Slip and Relapse?

Slip and relapse are two terms that individuals in recovery will often hear. They can sometimes be used interchangeably, so it is easy to become confused. But are they the same thing?

This article will help explain the difference between the two terms.

You may see slip and relapse as meaning the same thing. It often depends on your personal experience with addiction, which can have an influence on how you interpret the terms. To determine the difference between the two terms, it can be helpful to consider your intention. For example, a slip could be considered an unplanned use of alcohol or drugs, but relapse is when your recovery plan is totally abandoned. A slip is only temporary whereas relapse is more permanent. Slips can easily lead to relapses without proper intervention.

You may unknowingly go through a slip. For example, if you accidentally consume a pot brownie thinking it was a normal brownie. This is an obvious accident; however, slips can also happen because of temptation. If you’re at a party and everyone around you is drinking, you might slip and consume alcohol, thinking you will only slip ‘just this once’. This mentality can easily lead to a relapse, so it is important to consider whether it is worth it to give in to temptation. Being honest about your addiction and being aware of what may trigger you can be helpful in relapse prevention. However, if you do experience a slip, you should return to your addiction recovery plan at once, so you don’t progress into a relapse.

If you have slipped after completing your residential addiction treatment, it is important to acknowledge it and think about why the slip happened. Put in the effort to not make the mistake again and decide to stay in recovery. Talking to anyone who’s a part of your support system can help you move past it. It can be hard to move on from a slip, especially if you feel regret or remorse, but everyone makes mistakes and if you continue to work on recovering, the slip won’t hold you back.

If you have slipped a few times, this does not mean you are in relapse. Relapsing is completely abandoning your recovery plans. This means you have returned to your life before you started your recovery plan. So, if you are still making the effort to recover, you have not relapsed, just don’t use slips as an excuse for relapsing. If you have a habitual use of drugs or alcohol, this is not a slip, this is a relapse. So even if you’re not using all the time, it is still a patterned behaviour of usage.

If you are struggling with slips or relapses, the Hader Clinic Queensland can help you get back on track to sobriety.

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