For those going through any part of addiction recovery, dealing with temptations and the threat of relapse is always one of the most important areas. A “lapse” or “slip” refers to any re-engagement with an addictive behavior, and these can be very difficult to avoid for some participating in addiction therapy.
At Acqua Recovery, we can help. Let’s look at some basic underlying causes behind lapses, and how you can put a plan in place to help yourself avoid and manage these causes.
In most cases, a lapse is triggered by an event that, at least at first, is unexpected. It’s never possible to control every single element of our lives, and we can’t always know how our minds will respond to various pressures or stresses that may come up.
In some cases, a trigger can be something someone else says or does. In others, it could be a strong emotion based on something heard or seen that results in strong urges. Lapses are often unexpected, but our next sections will go over how to best prepare yourself in case they happen.
Make a Plan
When lapses are banging at your door, you need to have a plan ready to combat them. A great strategy here involves using reminders, often in the form of a card or another small item that’s easy to keep around.
During a period when you’re calm and not threatened by any triggers, write out a card or another basic reminder with simple steps for dealing with triggers. Keep the reminder in a simple place, such as a wallet or purse. Over time, as you use the reminders more often, they’ll become more natural for you and you might not even need the card.
Some suggestions for reminders you can list for yourself:
- Contact info for your sponsor, or a close friend you trust in times of need
- A directive to follow when experiencing cravings or triggers – maybe a meeting to go to, or a number to call for help
- Something inspirational or that will ground you and remind you of the importance of your recovery goal
- Other calming suggestions, such as a walk or meditation
- Any other tactics you believe might help you resist strong urges