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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
November 21, 2011
Slips and Relapse
What’s the difference between a slip and a relapse? If you’re quitting smoking, it’s important to recognize the difference. A relapse is more serious than a slip and a slip doesn’t have to lead to relapse. A slip happens unexpectedly—it isn’t something that is planned. A slip might happen at a party if you’ve had a drink, your defenses are down and you smoke a cigarette. Usually slips are followed by feelings of guilt and remorse. You feel badly that you slipped and you get right back on track with your quit plan.
Relapse happens when you find yourself on a slippery slope, quickly going down the old familiar road. Before you know it, you’re back to where you were before your Quit Date and smoking regularly. The road to relapse can happen when you purposefully choose to smoke again but it can also happen if you slip and don’t recognize that you can still stay on the road to becoming smokefree.
If you slip, take a moment to consider your feelings. If you’re having negative thoughts, immediately change those to positive ones. Tell yourself that you’re getting right back on track, that you are strong and that nothing is going to stand in your way of reaching your goal of being smokefree.
One key to preventing slips and relapse is planning. Go back to the “FFS Quit Plan 2” handout in Module 5. Take time to consider what might lead you to slip, and plan what to do instead of smoking. Avoid your “slippery places” until you’re feeling stronger and more cemented in your new smokefree lifestyle.
If you find yourself slipping, check out the American Lung Association’s Quitter in You site for some motivation to stay on track: www.quitterinyou.org. Watch the videos of others that have gone through the same thing and triumphed. You may also want to review the “What to do if you get off track” handout in Module 5:
Here are ten ways to cope with a slip:
- Ask someone for help. Talk with your buddy.
- Complete theFFS Quit Plan Part 2.
- Keep your list of reasons for quitting with you at all times. Look at them when you feel tempted.
- Review the Benefits of Quitting handout in Module 5.
- Call the Lung HelpLine for support: 1-800-LUNGUSA (586-4872, Option 2)
- Reduce your stress. Review the 52 Proven Stress Reducers handout in Module 5.
- Practice deep breathing with our Relaxation Exercise.
- Drink water—lots of it.
- Increase your physical activity. Spend 30 minutes today being active.
- Reward yourself for getting back on track.
Don’t let a slip, or a day of slipping or even a weekend of slipping lead you to relapse. You’re in the right place to help yourself!
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.