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Is relapse part of recovery?

Yes, but not necessarily how you might think

Let’s think of life as a town. Now, let’s think of addiction as a street in this town. After you travel the addiction street for a good long while there’s a sign that says, “Recovery turn here.” As you’re driving down recovery street for a while, you come to a fork in the road. To the right, you see the street named “relapse.” Recovery street goes to the left. Now you have a choice to make. You glance down relapse street, and it looks fine. You may even think you recognize some folks down there. But after careful inspection, you see a sign that says “Dead End.”

You glance down recovery street, and it looks plain. It doesn’t look bad. It just doesn’t look like it would be as much fun as relapse street. Then you see another sign labeled “attractions.” That’s a big sign. It shows the following attractions: family, love, job, health, integrity, respect, friends, and joy.

Which way do you go?

I understand that my illustration was a little silly and convoluted, but I hope you catch my meaning. Relapse is part of recovery just like a cul de sac is part of a subdivision. But you never have to turn down that road. You can drive right past it. You don’t even have to look down it. I don’t care how many of your friends invite you. I don’t care what a good time it looks like down that road. It is still a dead end. It doesn’t go anywhere.

Where does your road lead?

I cannot speak FOR you. I can only speak for myself. But I believe my life of recovery looks an awful lot like others’ lives of recovery. Where has recovery gotten me, you ask?

Places my road to recovery has led:

  • Getting my job back
  • Saving my marriage
  • Restoring my relationship with my children
  • Restoring relationships with friends
  • Restoring a relationship with my sister
  • Restoring a relationship with my mother
  • Allowing my father, who is in a nursing home, to see his son again, SOBER
  • New and better job possibilities down the road
  • Having the ability to do ministry

Brothers and Sisters, You deserve better!

I know that addiction and relapse are familiar. I know those are worlds we all know how to function in. It is comfortable. But it WILL kill you, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically (eventually). The life of recovery is more difficult, but it provides hope, restoration, peace, prosperity, purpose, joy, and satisfaction. This is that abundant life that Jesus spoke of in 1 John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly

Satan is the thief

Satan comes as a thief. His desire is to ruin your life (and if possible the lives of those around you while he’s at it) in every single way possible. He wants you to have no joy, no peace, no hope, and future and no life. That’s not the packaging he sells it in. The packaging screams “fun, excitement, belonging, self-worth, care-free, WONDERFUL!” But it’s all a lie. It’s full of poison that will kill you and unleash Hell in your life.

Watch the story of a family torn apart by drugs

Jesus is the genuine gift giver

Jesus has a truly free gift (well he paid the price for it on Calvary, by dying to purchase our freedom). His gift is a level of joy and freedom we may have never known as addicts. He has possibilities better than any story we could write for ourselves. His packaging may be plain. But He doesn’t need great packaging because what’s inside is plenty valuable in and of itself.

Don’t turn down the road of relapse

I know that every day you could. I know there are some days when you WANT to turn down that road. But remember what it holds. Remember where it took you before. Remember the lives of others you love that it has claimed. Remember how hard you have worked just to get to the road of recovery. Don’t throw it all away for a lie. It’s not even JUST a lie. It’s a lie that you KNOW is a lie. My friends, do not be deceived. The abundant life is NOT down that road. Stay on the straight and narrow. And see what God has for you around the next bend. I promise you it will blow your mind. God is good, ALL the time, and ALL the time, God is good. Always.

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  1. Much wisdom and so true.

  2. Greg Bufkin …. You have truly been blessed with a gift of writing that is SPOT ON!!! Thank you for helping others by sharing what God has given you. This is excellent and I intend to also share it – you speak the language of our people in a precise & understandable way.

    • Thank you. I am truly humbled. I pray that God reaches somebody and draws them back from the hell we’ve all lived through.

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