Navigating the Rocky Path of Recovery: A Christian Perspective

When we think about the struggles faced by our youth today, addiction easily tops the list. This addiction could stem from anything – drugs, pornography, excessive social media use, or even an unhealthy attachment to entertainment. These modern idols have a profound effect on all relationships, with the most crucial one being our divine connection with God. In the face of this destructive force, God offers a beacon of hope and freedom.

However, the journey toward recovery is often marked by obstacles and setbacks. As a recovering alcoholic, I can personally attest to the trials that accompany the process of recovery and the despair that engulfs you when you relapse. The journey to recovery is fraught with guilt, shame, and self-judgment, making the road to freedom long and arduous.

Here, I hope to shed light on some crucial aspects that Christians should understand about relapse.

Expect The Unexpected

My initial period of recovery was a liberating experience, a time characterized by inner peace and tranquility. Despite the looming temptation of alcohol, the inner light of sobriety kept me on track, until I fell back into old habits. The Tempter, as Satan is known, is ever-watchful, exploiting the slightest hint of weakness. This teaches us that nobody is immune to temptation, not even Christ himself. Thus, it is crucial to stay vigilant and ward off the Tempter’s seductions.

Breaking Free Isn’t a Cakewalk

Escaping the clutches of addiction is a Herculean task, and relapse often complicates it further. When Christians relapse, the ensuing feeling of failure can push them deeper into the quicksand of addictive behaviors. At such times, reminding our fellow Christians about their value and the potential for further progress becomes our duty. As Paul advised the churches in Galatia, let’s bear each other’s burdens, especially when the load of addiction weighs heavy.

God’s Love Remains Unchanged

An important reminder for us is that God’s love is not contingent on our sins or merits. Christ took upon Himself God’s wrath on the cross, ensuring that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). However, when we relapse, we often forget God’s infinite love and dwell on our sins, which blinds us to the comfort and companionship God offers. Remember, God’s deepest desire for us is to free us from these destructive behaviors.

Shame Should Not Hold You Back

While shame can sometimes be a helpful emotion that reminds us of our wrongdoings, it must not become a permanent state of being. In the context of relapse, shame can serve as a wake-up call, but we must not let it take control and stall our journey to recovery. Being open about our failures and seeking ways to overcome them constructively is the key to silencing the voice of shame.

Relapse Doesn’t Mark the End

Relapses can occur more than once, even after a person has achieved recovery. Despite suffering multiple relapses, one man I knew found sobriety, maintained it for three decades, and then suffered another relapse in his 70s. Yet, he found his way back to recovery. His faith in God, his “Higher Power”, helped him regain his strength and find his footing again. Remember, no matter how many times we falter, there’s always hope for redemption.

We often mistakenly believe that those who relapse aren’t making enough effort or that they need to hit rock bottom to truly recover. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to debunk these misconceptions. The Church can play a significant role in supporting addicts in their journey towards recovery and finding true freedom in our Lord Jesus Christ.