I first want to start off by saying how sad I am to hear of the passing of George Michael. He struggled with many issues in his life and I hope he has found some peace. I also hope the Tabloids won’t destroy his memory and leave him as the vocal icon he was. I know that’s too much to ask.
How do you define a “slip” or a “relapse”?
It boils down to intent. A slip is usually a single unplanned use of drugs or alcohol. A relapse is when you abandon sobriety or abstaining from drugs or alcohol all together.
There were times I knowingly went somewhere with the intention of drinking even though I had been sober for a considerable length of time. I knew I would continue to drink.
There was one time I had no intention of drinking, no need to drink, but when I arrived at the place I was going, I felt so awkward, alone, and noticed I was the only one NOT drinking. I drank. The next day I immediately wrote down what I had been feeling at the time and how I could’ve handled the situation differently. I had to understand WHY I felt the NEED happen in the first place. Why did I feel so out of place? Why did I always feel I was “less than” everyone else? If I didn’t deal with those feelings then I wasn’t going to be able to give up alcohol.
It happened at a time where I had learned not to let “shame” and “guilt” consume me. If I did I would convince myself that it was useless to try to please the people around me who wanted me to stay sober. I also realized WHY I had to do it for ME and NOT THEM.
With a relapse you know what the outcome will be if you drink or use drugs but you do it anyway. You might use what started as a “slip” as an excuse. Like I did at one time. I went from an everyday drinker to a weekend binge drinker rationalizing it by thinking “at least it’s not everyday”. It was still the same but I was actually causing more harm by binge drinking.
A slip DOES NOT MEAN YOU RETURN TO DAY ONE. This kind of thinking is detrimental to anyone who is struggling with addiction. The thought of starting over after say 15 years or more has left many returning to their old ways. Only this time their bodies are not use to the same quantities of drugs or alcohol it once was. This is why you see many people who have been sober for a length time that have overdosed or died from alcohol poisoning or alcohol related deaths.
You can never take away a sober day. It all counts no matter what. A mistake doesn’t mean the end. It means you are human, you have to find a reason, a way, to get back up and keep going. The only thing chips are good for is dip.