Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Do Christians in Recovery Continue to Relapse?

In the Solid Rock Road recovery ministry, we’re always amazed when addicts find the right path and start living an honorable and blessed life, then suddenly change directions. It doesn’t make sense. People discover what works, they get sober, safe and happy, but an off-ramp catches their attention and away they go -- with Christian leaders warning them of danger and destruction.

We’ve asked many relapsed Christians why they went off course. Some said it was because they were bored. Others reported that they were fearful of taking the next step, or taking responsibility for their lives. Then there’s a whole group of relapsed people who claim that being a Christian is too hard. This is the biggest lie Satan tells those struggling with addictions. The truth is, it's hard being an addict. It takes a lot of money and effort to stay high and out of legal trouble.

Admittedly, the devil is the father of lies. Plus, he has installed plenty of detours to take Christians off of God’s well-beaten and blessed path. He makes the off-ramp look like an easy and fast way to get somewhere. But we all know that these insidious detours are not quick and easy. Instead, they result in spiritual death and in many cases, physical death.

No matter how many people urge their addicted loves ones to keep moving forward along God's path, many follow their addiction cycles and agree with Satan’s strategic plan for their lives. Some actually believe it's their destiny. But if God created them, He's the one with the true destiny.

As Christians in relapse wander from safety, they justify their actions with clever excuses and bold-faced lies. They also find validation for their crazy actions from people who either don’t understand addictions, or from those who share their propensity to abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Veering off the path seems innocent enough, like taking a Sunday afternoon car ride down a one-lane country road. But it’s far from innocent. Where the devil tempts people to go is the opposite of where God wants to take them. Christians who struggle with addictions knows this in their souls, but their drug dealer is waiting and the liquor store is around the corner. Before they know it, they’ve gone way off the wagon and there’s no turning back until the damage has been done.

It’s hard for Christians heading toward relapse, or those in full-fledged addiction, to admit they’re guilty of cooperating with the dark side. It’s much more comfortable to claim they have a chronic disease and can’t help it. And that might be true for those who don’t know Christ and don’t understand the power of God or the work of the Holy Spirit, but Christians are without excuse.

No matter how well Christians in addiction argue their "I can't help it" case, the Bible wins the debate. It says we are more than conquerors.

To make matters even more clear, the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

In other words, God works on our behalf to ensure that Christians are protected from the plans and hands of the enemy. However, He leaves room for free will and people often choose Satan as their master. 

What can family members and loved ones do? Pray, enter into spiritual warfare, then release them to God as the Father did in the story of the Prodigal Son. Don't make the mistake of enabling them with your love or your money. This is counterproductive to Christian principles, and doesn't help the addict in the long run.

The Solid Rock Road is a Christian recovery program in Medford, Oregon using the book “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery” to offer freedom from addictions. We also work with families on intervention strategies and creating boundaries. 

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  1. This article really helped me see I need to stop playing the part of an enabler.
    I would like to know more about the phrase: "Don't make the mistake of enabling them with your love ..."
    What does this mean? How can I love an addict so that they know I'm there for them, not their enemy - without "enabling them with love"?

  2. Thanks for your comments and questions. You're in a hard place to be sure. In fact, I find myself counseling family members of the addicted as often as I do the addicted.

    There's a fine line between showing them you're there and enabling them. I've written some other articles on this subject and have included the link for you.

    As Christians, we must look at everything with spiritual eyes. You know the devil is involved so you have to protect your love!

    My recovery book can help you understand the mind of the addict and there are some words for those who might be in co-dependent relatonships with addicts. The link to my website and book is at the bottom of the article.

    Read this, and if you have any more questions, send me an email at

  3. I really want to read this but my eyes are really having a hard time with the white on black background~

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  5. Please email me at if you have the time to discuss a personal question. Thank you.