The best way, of course, to manage slips and lapses is not to have them. The best way not to have them is by finding your tipping point and having enough leverage to make better decisions every day. A great way to avoid slips is by having many coping skills and lots of positive structure, positive reinforcement, and positive cues. The lapse can take the form of a single drug or alcohol use just like a return to smoking by having a single cigarette. The slip can be the missed commitment you made to others or yourself such as failing to show up at a booked exercise session. Slips can lead to a lapse if you allow them to build up. Lapses can lead to a relapse.
Remember, if a lapse happens, it’s what you do immediately after that determines if it becomes a learning tool to strengthen your relapse prevention plans or a step toward relapse. Remember to get out your leverage lists for your goals. Review and read out loud your reasons for wanting to achieve your goals and the list of things that will happen or not happen if you don’t achieve your goals. Review the list of your commonly used cognitive distortions and stop yourself from slipping back into any of those dysfunctional patterns of thinking such as all or nothing thinking, labeling or fortune telling. These simple actions will dramatically reduce the risk of a lapse turning into relapse.