One of the most common misconceptions in porn addiction recovery is the assumption that a Slip is the same thing as a Relapse.
They are actually two different things and undertanding the difference can play an important role in the progress of your recovery from porn addiction.
I will begin with Slips.
I once heard a definition of a SLIP as Sobriety Loses Its Priority.
I like that definition.
A slip is an isolated incident which occurs when something has changed in recovery. They happen only once or twice.
Slips usually happen in early recovery- for instance, you may be in the Quit Porn Program and perhaps masturbate once in 90 days.
That’s a slip.
Slips only occur when you have not been sticking to a solid recovery plan. Perhaps part of your recovery plan involved not getting drunk or tipsy on weekends because that always leads you to watching porn later when your defenses are down due to alcohol.
You end up drinking one weekend, perhaps justifying it because it was your sisters wedding. You then binge watch porn that night.
That’s a slip.
While a slip only occurs once or twice, a relapse happens when the action occurs repeatedly.
For instance, you drank alcohol on your sisters wedding and watched porn that night. This event only becomes a relapse when you drink alcohol the next month and watch porn again, or do so the next weekend.
That’s a relapse.
If you have consciously or unconsciously made plans to watch porn ” as a reward” or under certain conditions in the future, you have also relapsed.
Handling Slips and Relapses
Slips and Relapses are no joke. You should make it a habit to have consequences for every time you slip or relapse or else you will slowly start to take your recovery from porn addiction less and less seriously.
Here are three things you should do when you experience a slip or a relapse:
- Ask yourself if you need help. If you have been struggling with slips and relapses for years, you may need a helping hand. A therapist or coach can help you here.
- Find out what exactly you need to do to get back to a good place where you are staying away from porn and masturbation. You must always have a solid plan in place whenever you slip or relapse. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Consequence yourself. This means for every slip and relapse there must be a serious consequence to deter you from repeating it in the future. For instance, a slip that involves watching porn and masturbation can have a consequence of not using social media for a month. A slip that involves watching porn, then getting on a video chat site with a cam girl can have the consequence of no social media for one month as well as volunteering for one month of community service in your area.
Taking back Control after Slips and Relapses
As I have mentioned earlier. You must have a PLAN for every time you slip or Relapse. If you don’t have one, contact me for an email consultation and I will custom design a plan that fits your unique relapse or slip pattern.
Some of the things which can help you when you experience a slip or relapse:
Break your isolation and build relationships with people. Most slips occur in isolation.
Journal. Journaling is a fantastic tool because it shows you your progress (or lack of it). This keeps you honest about your recovery process.
Should I add new routines to my recovery ?
Does my coach or therapist have an alternative solution to dealing with my slip or relapse?
If you are a student of the Quit Porn Program, maybe you need to start the program from the top and work your way through the modules again.
Can You Successfully Quit Porn without Slips and Relapses?
Slips and Relapses do not necessarily have to be a part of quitting porn. I have worked with clients who never experienced a relapse or slip and are fully recovered from their porn addiction.
Experiencing them is fine- as long as you learn something from the experience. Don’t waste a slip or relapse- they truly are opportunities to learn more about your addiction, how your operate/ react and can be a great way to strengthen your resolve to quit porn.
Don’t beat yourself up for experiencing either. If it happened, it happened.
Dust yourself off, learn from it and keep moving forward.