The Difference Between a Slip and Relapse

Searching for substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC? Call Legacy Freedom for help, today!A recovering addict always has the fear of returning to his old habits. No matter how much work he has put in and how much time he’s been sober, it’s a valid concern. An addict may always crave the substance that he fought to break free from. Even someone who smoked cigarettes may still have the desire for a cigarette after years of being a nonsmoker.

Sometimes a person will turn to drinking or take a drug after he’s been sober and in recovery. When that happens, it can be a slip or a relapse. They may sound like the same thing, but when it comes to addiction, they have different meanings.

A slip is when someone uses a drug or drinks but it’s unplanned. He immediately stops and doesn’t do it again. It may have been a spontaneous act that he consciously knew was wrong but did it anyway knowing it wouldn’t occur again. It’s considered less serious than a full-on relapse because it probably won’t have as big of an impact on the person if he knows it was wrong and doesn’t plan to do it again.

Although highly unlikely, in some cases, a slip could even be accidental. Perhaps someone was served a drink with alcohol when he ordered a soda. Or maybe someone ate a brownie with marijuana in it.

It’s important to note that a slip can be defined by the addict’s past and patterns of behavior. If he has no history of using after he has been in recovery, then it’s likely not going to happen again. If someone has had several slips without trying to prevent them, then he’s experiencing a relapse.

A relapse is when an addict returns to using drugs or drinking again. It's not just a one-time occurrence. It could span a period of days or weeks. If the addict has completely abandoned his recovery plan or has made a decision that negates his sobriety, such as drinking on weekends, then he is in relapse.

Slips often turn into relapses if the addict doesn’t get help after the first or second time they go back to using or drinking. It’s important to talk to someone after a slip because it could cause feelings of guilt and shame that will just compound the desire to return to negative ways of dealing with emotions.

If someone has begun to relapse, they need to remember, or hear from a counselor, that this event doesn’t mean they have no other choice than to return to his old habit. The addict needs to realize that maybe it’s a sign that his treatment program isn’t working anymore. He may still have issues that haven’t been resolved, or he may need a new approach.

Once someone has had a slip or a relapse, it’s important he doesn’t let it undermine the progress he has made in recovery. Everyone makes mistakes, and if there is something to learn from them, then they are worth it.

Searching for Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Wilmington NC? Call Legacy!

Take the first step toward addiction recovery by asking for help. Reach out to Legacy Freedom! An admissions counselor is waiting to answer your questions about our unique approach to treatment. We offer alternative therapies that meet your individual needs. We want to help you become a healthier, happier person. Call Legacy Freedom Center today, to find out how we're different from the other substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC.

1 Response

  1. If you had 16 days recovery off crack and use one night but don't use again the next seven days does it affect your number of recovery days? My friend says no, you don't have too start at day one after the one night slip and only have seven days you still have the other sixteen days and now 23 days total. I'm struggling because I want to be honest about the number of the days, can someone please help me with what is the true number of days, it's that important that I know...Thank you so much

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