Remember, a lapse is a single use after a period of sobriety. A relapse is a full return to a pattern of repeated use. A lapse does not always result in a return to previous levels of use and can be a learning experience to reduce the probability of another lapse. There is evidence that a lapse or relapse is commonly preceded by the individual experiencing negative emotions.
Based on interviews with people who have experienced addiction, when they chose to use again, it was most often because they were experiencing negative emotions. They felt increasing anger, frustration, depression and/or anxiety. They used drugs or alcohol in response to these unpleasant and negative emotional states (Marlatt & Gordon, 1985, 2005). Even though you have stopped drinking or using, you will still at times experience negative emotions. You can develop a different solution to anger, frustration, depression or anxiety than returning to use. You have the opportunity to learn positive coping skills to manage your negative emotions.