Within addiction recovery, particularly within an outpatient setting, there are temptations many struggle with. Releasing oneself from damaging addictive behavior is difficult, and at Renaissance Ranch, our outpatient addiction recovery programs are designed to help you or a loved one find the right strategies and support.
A “lapse” or a “slip” is a term we use for any brief re-engagement someone has with their addictive behaviors. We’ll often feel awful after our slips and immediately regret being unable to avoid them. Lapses can be triggered by a few different things, but if they become an issue, there are also some strategies for helping to avoid them. Let’s look at everything you need to know here.
In many cases, lapses will be triggered by events that someone was not expecting. We can never control everything in our lives, and events we don’t manage may cause pressure from an area we weren’t expecting. In some cases, it’s a trigger like something that someone else says or does. In others, it might be a strong emotion we feel based on something we see or hear, and these emotions can result in powerful urges. Lapses will commonly be unexpected, which is why our next two sections on being prepared for them are so important.
Having a Plan
Have a plan at the ready for when lapses are threatening you. One strategy we recommend involves keeping a card or another reminder on you to help when these kinds of urges are creeping up – these cards can be particularly valuable in social situations or other places where you might be outside your comfort zone.
They should be written during periods of calm and reason. Keep the card or reminder in a purse, wallet or another place where it’s easy to access. After repeating the steps on your card a few times during periods of stress, these kinds of coping strategies should simply come naturally.
Here are a few suggestions for things you can put on your card:
- Friend or sponsor contact info
- Something inspirational to remind you of your goal
- A directive to follow – a meeting to go to, or an online resource to view
- Other suggestions for calming activities, like a walk or a meditation phone app
- Any other tactics you think will help deal with strong emotions and urges
Want to learn more about avoiding lapses, or interested in any of our other addiction treatment services? Speak to the caregivers at Renaissance Ranch today.