The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 13.12 NIV

Relapse. The place no one wants to be. But here we are. Falling back into the same trap we try so desperately to avoid.  

Each stage leads us closer. Distractions and temptations lull our gaze away from God and our feet eventually follow. Fear and instability creep in as we wander, starting as a subtle hum that builds with increasing rapidity to a screaming maelstrom. Fight or flight activates as we deny and numb ourselves to the storm of anxiety in our hearts. Irrationality and frustration fuel directionless, destructive anger that erodes the last of our ability to outrun or deny the darkness. With nothing left, we are empty, powerless, and without hope. Desperate for relief, we return to the pit of porneia.

We have entered the final stage.* We have Relapsed.

F – Forgetting Priorities. Start believing the present circumstances and move away from trusting God.

A – Anxiety. A growing background noise of undefined fear.

S – Speeding Up. Trying to outrun the anxiety, which is usually the first sign of depression.

T – Ticked Off. Getting adrenaline high on anger and aggression.

E – Exhausted. Loss of physical and emotional energy; coming off the adrenaline high and the onset of depression.

R – Relapse. Returning to the place you swore you would never go again.

No one wants to be here. Well, I cannot imagine anyone would like to experience any of the other stages either, but relapse is the rock bottom of this slippery slope. We cannot get any lower, because all of the things that have driven us to this point are still pressing in on us and we have decided to surrender to them, yet even in surrender there is no relief.


To surrender is to yield in favor of another. To relapse is to yield to porneia—to admit, whether consciously or not, we cannot overcome it. 

But this is why relapse is necessary for most every addict to experience before we will find freedom. We need to be reminded—usually over and over again—that we cannot beat porneia on our own. Most, if not all of us, must yield to terrible masters before we are prepared to yield to a gracious one.

As men and women with sexual addictions, any hope of recovery requires yielding our pride, fear, mistrust, disobedience, self-contempt, depression, denial, anger, trauma, anxiety to the only One who can conquer them.

Relapse is never meaningless, and it can be a learning tool if we let it. But we absolutely must yield to the healing process, no matter how painful and difficult it is. We must yield to our need for God and our need for community. We must surrender to achieve victory.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4.22-24 NIV 

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.

Isaiah 42.3 NIV

Contributor: Jordan N.

*FASTER Scale developed by Michael Dye from Genesis Process

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