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Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention

I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

When I first attempted recovery, I didn’t need relapse prevention because I knew I’d never be stupid enough to return to addiction. I discovered that occasional failure is disaster for the addict and that I did indeed need relapse prevention. Recovery isn’t a one-time choice. It’s something I must work at daily.

We know this to be true about other endeavors. We promise to lose weight, but after a few days, we’re back at our old habits. We promise we’ll exercise daily, but as the passion wears off, so does our motivation. Occasional efforts don’t get us where we want to go. If we want a certain life, we must pursue it daily.

This is the principle God taught in today’s passage, where he told his people that their love was as fleeting as the morning dew (Hosea 6:4). In their short-lived passion the Israelites promised to follow God, but soon they were back to following themselves. Then, after a time of sin, they would return to him with a sacrifice to make up for their wandering. To this, God said, I don’t want your occasional attention. I want you to love and follow me every day.

If I want to live in faith, if I want to know God, and if I want recovery, it’s not just a Sunday effort. The measure of whether I truly follow God is in my commitment. Do I pick up my Bible and pray once in a while? Or, do I make a daily effort to know God?

My family dislikes it when I speak of the possibility of relapse, but if I stop pursuing God daily, I know I’ll return to following me. I don’t struggle with taking pills today, but if I stopped working at faith and recovery, I’d soon be back at my addiction.

The lesson of today’s passage is that love of God and pursuit of life is not a once-in-a-while decision. If I want to live in recovery, I must continually work at it. If I want to know God, I must spend time with him daily. Today then, I will turn from me to follow God. Tomorrow, I will do the same. This is my relapse prevention.

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