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what is the difference between a slip and a relapse?

Old 04-04-2007, 10:07 PM
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what is the difference between a slip and a relapse?

Is there a difference? Today my ah sponsor said it's a slip part of recovery he can pick himself up and learn from it...............I dont get it, to me if you do the drug again period you relapsed is this not correct?
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:27 PM
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A slip may be a time or two and then you get back into program, a relapse is when you slip and keep slipping.
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:10 PM
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i agree with patch.
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:44 AM
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Thumbs down Semantics

There is no difference...only justification and rationalization.

Although we can choose to look at either term from the numerous ways thay can be defined, here's a couple of definitions that stand out to me:

Slip: to fall off from a standard or level

Relapse: to slip or fall back into a former (or worse) state - as in illness.

To experience a period of recovery and return to active addiction (whether it be "a time or two") is to fall off or fall back...it's certainly not moving forward! If folks want to play word games in order to avoid accepting reality...go right ahead. I definitely won't co-sign that BS! I wonder how many addicts have justified their using as "only" a slip and didn't survive? I wonder how many struggle staying clean because they keep going back believing a slip isn't that bad, or as bad as a relapse?

Too many of us have stayed caught in the grip of our disease for far too long under the illusion of control, thinking that because they could "stop & go" they were okay. They were too busy looking at the stopping instead of the using. I'm so grateful that I understand that using is using, and using NEVER happens by accident.
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:56 AM
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It's the difference between a "slip" and a "fall"...(completely back into your/their old pattern.)...I would think.
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:58 AM
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liesagain-

I saw your previous post as well and I just wanted to say that you A sounds a lot like my AH. My AH went to outpatient treatment, was doing really well, starting "slipping" or whatever you want to call it and eventually was using regularly again (binging on coke every week to two weeks). I got sick of all of the "slips" or "relapses" and eventaully I had enough. I moved out, he tried to commit suicide and he is entering impatient treatment tomorrow. Moving out was the best thing I ever did for myself and for him I think... I think it helped him get back into treatment... he lost his wife, and he knew what came next was the sale of house and a divorce. As of right now, since he is willing to work on it, so am I. That is my boundary, but it took me a long time to get there.

Only you know how much you can take. If he keeps on "slipping" regularly in my opinion I would say his an active addict again.

Good Luck to you, you will find the right path for you, have faith in that.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:47 AM
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Neither is any of my business.

If you are dealing with the chaos again, you will want to take care of your needs, but whether someone is sober one day, ten days or ten years.... is not anything you or I can control, so "knowing" if it is a slip isn't necessary.

In any case, I don't think anyone knows until long after it goes by if it was a slip or a relapse.

Holding you up in prayer .... ((((liesagain))))
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:09 AM
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I'm not looking for an excuse for him, honest I just don't understand the terms and what the difference is suppose to be............it seems that since my husbands initial relapse a year ago, he has repeated the same thing many other times................within 30 days the first few times then within 90 days the next couple times then he made it to 180 days and then used now this last time again.........within 90 days............88th day to be exact..........

But the time between each of these times of use he's doing all the things the 12 step program says, he reads the meditation daily he reads the na book he talks to several other guys from his group, he goes to a meeting a day, goes to therapy both individual and group ......................yet he stilll used many times...................
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:32 AM
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I think it all comes back to the same thing. What I have learned is that the slip or relaspes happens even before they use. Once they start certain behaviours, such as missing meetings, becoming isolated....the relaspse has already happened.

Where I learned this from was when my husband was in Rehab he called one night to say he might be discharged as they felt he was isolating....What, so you just want some alone time....what is going on here, I thought they were to harsh he only has a week to go. He got back with the program, but as I look at it now, he played the part of getting back with the program, he had crack hidden for him when he got out.

Mades sence to me now.

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Old 04-05-2007, 10:05 AM
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Reading over this, I think we all have our own definitions of what a slip and a relapse is. I've had neither in my last year 1/2, but my definition would be different than the others on here. Closet would be to Big Sis's...
None of us really think the same so none of us are really right, just depends
on your beliefs, IMO...
I can relate to slipping and relapsing more with my eating disorder. I know in my head when I've "slipped" and when it's turned into a "relapse" but honestly I wouldn't give anyone else besides my therapist the room to decide what was going on in my head. But that's just me, lol, I'm stubborn about some stuff...
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Old 04-05-2007, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
while they do both involve using again....i think there is a subtle difference......for example, if you remember my boating story....we just got our boat, getting ready to take it out, a friend of ours come by, we're all fine, and all of the sudden he whips out some coke and says, hey you guys want some????? this wasn't something we would have EVER expected out of this guy, he didn't do that stuff, part of why we were comfortable having him over.....he just sort of ended up with some and thought he'd share.........so there it is on our table.....and we said YES. it was not deliberate, it was not planned, it caught us off guard, and instead of resisting and saying no, we gave in.....

a relapse, IMHO, is when you choose to use and do so deliberately, with planning and thought.......and rationalization and justification....had we the next day made the call and got some dope of our own accord and kept going, that would have been a relapse....
So...there it is on the table...and you said YES. I don't suppose someone tied you up and forced it in you, right? So to say YES wasn't a "choice" and a "deliberate" decision? You couldn't say "No, thank you?" I think the problem is that many folks interpret a relapse in terms of quantity and frequency. Then there are those who understand it as something totally premeditated or drawn out over a period of time. The "planning and thought" that Anvilhead refers to can happen in an instant or it can be subconscious. For anyone with a drug and/or alcohol problem to agree to using after experiencing a period of abstinence knows fully well what risks their decision entails. And to use anyway....IS justification and rationalization. Any excuse is just that...an excuse.

Your example illustrated my point, thanks.
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Old 04-05-2007, 11:03 AM
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I must say, I think gary has a point.

I KNOW that relapse is part of recovery but on the other hand, doesn't telling someone to expect to relapse give them permission to go ahead and do it?

I also struggle with the idea of separating the person from the addiction, the disease, the drugs. It feel to me like we are just letting their bad behavior off the hook. when my abf is obnoxious to me before/during/after a coke binge it is not some alien life form that has taken over his body but rather HIM. and I am unwilling to let him get away with that crap, blaming me, berating me, trying to move the anger at himself on to me. and he actually has started backing off that kind of post-drug crap talk pretty quickly at this point because of it.

I think there are a lot of ways that we, the non-addicts, have developed as our own coping methods for dealing with it, there is the separation of the addict from the behavior, there is the acceptance of the sh*t they pull on us, there is having these crazy relationships in which two people who are supposed to be partners are detached and essentially living separate lives...

and then there are things like the fine line between ongoing slips and relapse and full scale active addiction.

We can call it what we want but the fact is -- they went and did drugs!!!! PERIOD.
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GarryW View Post
So...there it is on the table...and you said YES. I don't suppose someone tied you up and forced it in you, right? So to say YES wasn't a "choice" and a "deliberate" decision? You couldn't say "No, thank you?" I think the problem is that many folks interpret a relapse in terms of quantity and frequency. Then there are those who understand it as something totally premeditated or drawn out over a period of time. The "planning and thought" that Anvilhead refers to can happen in an instant or it can be subconscious. For anyone with a drug and/or alcohol problem to agree to using after experiencing a period of abstinence knows fully well what risks their decision entails. And to use anyway....IS justification and rationalization. Any excuse is just that...an excuse.

Your example illustrated my point, thanks.
The question was difference between a slip and a relapse. While any circumstance is actually a relapse I still believe there is a difference in types of relapsing. You can learn from everything in your life good choices and bad. Garry I think your forgetting that if was that easy to "Just say NO" there would not be addicts in the first place.
I used to smoke a lot of weed among other things. Eight years ago I made the decision enough was enough. I had to separate myself from the situation and people completely. It was 6 years before I even smelled it again. At that time I was pregnant and it presented itself right in my home. I made the choice to stick with the never again. It was extremely hard that first time, to this day I cant have it around me or even smell it without getting those old feelings. I am positive if I had not been clean that long and changed so many aspects of my life as well as been pregnant I would have relapsed.
Once again addiction is considered a disease. There is a HUGE difference between premeditating a use and just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and finding yourself unable to turn away
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:27 AM
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A 17 year RA once told me ... "you can't have a slip/relapse unless you have truly been in recovery, everything else is just an addict waiting to use..."
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:36 AM
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eagles girl.................how would you define
truely been in recovery?
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:46 AM
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Cinderellawkids said: "Garry I think your forgetting that if was that easy to "Just say NO" there would not be addicts in the first place."

Pardon me, but I never insinuated that it's easy to say no. What I did say is that using requires choice because we are never forced into a relapse. I also did not say that to relapse involves premeditation or some sort of ongoing planning. "Just say no" might work for people who never became addicted or never used drugs, but I'm well aware that the "normal" state for an addict is to use. Actually, it's easier to say yes than it is to say no...especially for those new in recovery.

One of the things I learned in my process is that I have to get honest about the part I played in every situation that resulted in my using. You see, I was one of those who blamed my using on everything from TV commercials to family members and friends. Once I was able to do this, and accept that I used because I WANTED TO, there was no more room in my story for minimalizations, justifications or rationalizations. There were no "slips" or relapses...just occurrences where I choosed to use.

In my first year clean, I smelled weed all the time in public...never in my home (I took the 'people, places & things' stuff seriously). And I certainly recalled the feelings and euphoric recall. My stomach would flip whenever I smelled crack, etc. etc... and just as others in recovery chose to stick and stay clean, so did I. Seperating ourselves from "people and situations" (as you put it) is something that's fundamental and taught to almost everyone seeking recovery. To ignore it is to have a hand in my own using.

Staying clean isn't always easy...but it is simple. If I don't put it in me, I won't get high. If I put it in me, it's because I wanted to.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:41 AM
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Wink Regarding: slip or relapse

When I read GarryW's reply, I felt the definition of a slip and relapse was good except I viewed it differently.

When you slip: you fall off from a standard or level. (I, as a recovering addict have chosen to live my life differently now, and not be active in my addiction. I have set new standards for my life. I want to live life on a higher level and not in the valley of my addiction. If I slip, and immediately get up, dust off, clear the rubble and get right back into my new life that God has given me. I can learn from this and go forward. It is important for me to remember that I can't always go forward. Sometimes I go laterally and sometimes I go back, and when I say ďbackĒ, I personally, am not talking about the actual consumption of alcohol but my addict ways (negative, doubtful, poor me). As long as I continue to take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, I tend to leave that bat on the ground and donít beat myself up.

When you relapse: to slip or fall back into a former (or worse) state - as in illness (and you stay there)

I was active in my disease for 25 years and now by the Grace of God I have been clean and sober for 3 yrs and 2 mo. I personally canít afford to slip mentally or physically. That doesnít mean I donít, that just means if my mind goes south, I have to catch it quick. My mind is a very powerful thing that Satan loves to try to take control of. It aint happening!




Originally Posted by GarryW View Post
There is no difference...only justification and rationalization.

Although we can choose to look at either term from the numerous ways thay can be defined, here's a couple of definitions that stand out to me:

Slip: to fall off from a standard or level

Relapse: to slip or fall back into a former (or worse) state - as in illness.

To experience a period of recovery and return to active addiction (whether it be "a time or two") is to fall off or fall back...it's certainly not moving forward! If folks want to play word games in order to avoid accepting reality...go right ahead. I definitely won't co-sign that BS! I wonder how many addicts have justified their using as "only" a slip and didn't survive? I wonder how many struggle staying clean because they keep going back believing a slip isn't that bad, or as bad as a relapse?

Too many of us have stayed caught in the grip of our disease for far too long under the illusion of control, thinking that because they could "stop & go" they were okay. They were too busy looking at the stopping instead of the using. I'm so grateful that I understand that using is using, and using NEVER happens by accident.
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:32 PM
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To each there own...

For me, "to fall off from a standard or level" (as in slip) is to fall off of the level of being abstinent or clean. The same applies to "standard" because the measure or rule I'm living by is to abstain. Once I abandon that standard or level and go backward (whether for a day, week or years), I have, in effect fallen off. Once again, time seems to be the determining factor in the interpretation of some folks. To me, time is comparative because there are many who can, "get up, dust off, clear the rubble and get right back into my (their) new life that God has given", regardless of the amount of time that passes. The justification/rationalization peice is when I convince myself that "this time" it wasn't that bad because I didn't go as far as before or because I didn't lose anything. Or I may even congratulate myself for having enough "control" to stop and get back on track. For many addicts, this is very dangerous territory because the groundwork has been set for a possible relapse in the future. In NA, we call it a "reservation."

The definition of relapse I offered: To "SLIP" or fall back into a former state - as in illness, does not add a quantitative factor like time (as in "you stay there"). The addition of this factor is something people tend to do according to their own personal belief, but if we stop trying to minimalize we can see that the "former state" is using. So any time I went back (fall, slip, dive, hurdle, leap, skip, stumble, or slide)...I went back...how long is irrelevant. What is most relevant is why and what I'm going to do about it.

I'm done. The horse is dead.

Thanks for letting me share.
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:47 PM
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The first thing that came out my mouth when I read your header was "Not a D** thing" Thats my opinion. Like already posted everybody has their own opinion. Everyone is different. But for me ...It is what it is. And there is no difference at all.
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:30 PM
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I dont really think theres a difference either.............I tend to agree most with Gary ............I was just wondering others opinions........

One other thing I was thinking was for the term slip.........is that the recovery process started slipping and the relapse is the end result of that. Just my thoughts.

I am still stuck with the choice issue...............my AH insisits that he really doesnt WANT to use or relapse, and with all the ernestness he can muster tells me, that even as he's having the thoughts and making the plans that he's still telling himself he's not gonna do it..............yet he tells noone else about the thoughts, he doesnt consider the thoughts a "burning desire" and since he still believes he's not going to he doesnt share the thoughts..............but he does it anyway, and I even asked so how and when does it change from I'm not gonna to ok I'm doing it? And how if you know your liying and sneaking can you honestly say you BELIEVED you weren't gonna do it?

Does anyone else here (GARY? or others ) have an opinion of any thoughts about this?
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