Success and Relapse Risk
Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built . . . Hosea 10:1
Everyone addict in recovery has situations in which he is at a higher risk for relapse. A return to old using friends, a life trauma, newfound freedom, loneliness, or fatigue can all be triggers, tempting a return to drug use.
For me, I was at the highest risk for relapse in my times of success. In my previous attempts at recovery, I put significant effort in . . . until life returned to normal. While suffering the consequences of my addiction, I was motivated to work at recovery, but once the suffering subsided and life improved, I became complacent. I quit going to meetings, I neglected my daily time with God, and soon, I was back at my addiction.
This is the condition described in today’s passage, in which God pointed out that Israel’s success was its downfall. God’s people too, became complacent during the good times. In their distress, when they needed God, they pursued him, but in times of abundance, they turned to foreign gods, abandoning the one who had saved them.
Most of us can look back and realize that the times when we pursued God most desperately, and the times in which we grew the most, were the tough times. In discomfort, we were motivated to pray and seek God, but when the pain was removed, we lost sight of our need for him.
The truth is, we always need God. We just don’t always perceive that need. We are like the inmate who turns to God in jail, only to leave him at the prison door when he gets out. Then, as we return to following ourselves, we again find that we need God in our self-inflicted misery.
If we want to avoid the rollercoaster of success and failure, then we must be honest enough to admit that we need God daily. We must develop the discipline to follow him in the good times and the bad times. We always need God. Now, we must live like it.