Sometimes when someone is making changes and taking control of their chems, at some point they might make a wrong choice and see themselves somewhere they didn’t want to be. This can be because of a lapse, or a relapse.
A lapse is a temporary slip into a previous behaviour, most of the time a one time occurrence and with relatively low consequences, while a relapse happens when someone stops maintaining their goal of reducing or avoiding Chemsex and return to previous levels of use. Lapses are just millimetres away from that relapse point, and that is why it’s so important to explore ways to prevent a lapse from becoming a relapse.
If you see yourself in a situation where you had some goals but something happened that made you make a decision that you regret, here you have some TIPS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO GET BACK ON TRACK:
- It’s very frustrating and scary to see yourself again where you didn’t want to be, after feeling in control for a while. It’s a natural reaction to be very harsh with yourself, thinking that you are always ruining everything and that you won’t ever be able to take control back. You had been feeling very proud, and suddenly you feel that you have disappointed yourself terribly, and even though these are very normal feelings, they are not practical at all.
- Now more than ever you have to love yourself. The same way that you would support the person who you love the most if they were in your situation, you would do as much as you can to help them to do whatever is needed to prevent that lapse from becoming a relapse. Don’t forget that Chemsex involves very 2 potent elements: very powerful drugs, and sex; lapses are sometimes part of the process of taking your control back.
- Putting yourself down is not practical, but exploring what happened and being constructive is. Whatever happened, it can happen again unless you learn from your mistakes, so have a look at when everything started, who were you with, where you were at, what you were doing, what you were thinking and what you were feeling. Explore when exactly you made the decision, and what you could have done differently, and you will gather lots of information that can help you to prevent similar episodes. Maybe there are sometimes patterns of use that you weren’t aware of and, once you realise, setting a plan about how to avoid them in the future could be much easier, and you won’t be surprised when the situation happens again.
- Cravings will be a bit stronger now after the lapse and NOW is when you are most vulnerable. REMEMBER: you are not in the same place you were before. Now you can compare between your life when you are using and your life when you have got some control. Additionally, you have been practicing how to work with cravings and how to avoid triggers. Compare how you look when you have some control and when you haven’t, the quality of your sleep, your mood, etc.
- Therefore, the following days are going to be challenging. These are when lapses are more likely to become relapses, but if you get over these tempting days, you will get back on track, remembering this episode as something isolated.