Lesson 9 - Relapse: What It Is


The Christian walk is full of blessings, trials, and tribulations. It requires the Christian to take an inventory of himself on a daily basis. The Apostle Paul instructed us to judge ourselves so that we would not be judged. David petitioned the LORD in the Psalms to search him, know him, and lead him in the way of righteousness.

There are times in a Christian’s life when the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desire for other things, and even the cares for our family turn our focus away from our first love. These seasons would harden our hearts to the things of faith and the work of belief if it were not for the grace and mercy of God working sovereignly in our lives. When these seasons begin to take root in a Christian’s life, the Bible addresses this as backsliding. In the life of a recovering drug addict or alcoholic, this series of events is called relapse. Relapse is not short periods of being dry followed by using again. (Drugs are defined in this study as alcohol, pharmaceuticals used in an illicit fashion, or anything mind-altering, whether it is manufactured or natural.)

Relapse: In order for a relapse to occur we must leave the foundation of sobriety, the condition or state of mind of wellness that has provided testimonies from others and the assurance from God that our lives have changed. This foundation includes effective personality and behavioral changes that are practiced daily.

This study will help us to clearly identify the causes, characteristics, and consequences of relapse. It will also help us to avoid the attitudes, circumstances, and mind games that plague the backslider. The last section will discuss the solution to the problem of relapse and give steps to help keep us on the path of righteousness for our own sake and for the sake of those we love.