When many think of a lapse they oftentimes associate it with a lapse in time. But a lapse is defined as, “an accidental or temporary decline or deviation from an expected or accepted condition or state; a temporary falling or slipping from a previous standard.” This differs from relapse in a number of ways because a relapse “represents a full-blown return to a pattern of behavior that one has been trying to moderate or quit altogether.”
In turn, although they are both similar to one another – as each involves the backslide of the individual – the difference between the two helps to distinguish the stage of the person’s addiction. One example of a lapse is if someone ends up slipping up, and using the preferred substance once or twice; but when one relapses he/she usually gets worse – and/or finds himself/herself fully immersed back into his/her addiction. However, if one is not careful – when experiencing a lapse – he/she might find himself/herself trapped by feelings of shame or guilt; that’s why it’s crucial for the addict to stay encouraged – or in the right mindset – despite his/her slip up. In doing so, he/she is a lot more likely to bounce back – compared to those who dwell in their mistake.
In addition to this, it would also be foolish to think that one living drug/alcohol-free no longer feels the urge to resume use. For several triggers – that stem from the individual’s environment or the outside world – risks jeopardizing that person’s progress. Not only that, but his/her inner thoughts begin to take a toll as well – as thoughts of what it felt like to be under the influence have the potential to sweep in due to high-stress situations.
In conclusion, it is important to know the difference between these two – no matter whether you’re a struggling addict or a recovery addict – because it can make all the difference when looking at your road to recovery. In fact, it’s better to be mindful – so that you have a better chance of ridding the substance right at its source. Just keep in mind that sobriety is not impossible for those who have experienced a lapse – or a relapse; but even so, addiction isn’t easy so it will still take some time for them to autocorrect back into the right direction.