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Does Relapse Mean that Faith has Failed?

In the rooms of AA and NA, we often hear that relapse is a part of recovery. Many people struggle through several attempts to get sober before finally succeeding. For the Christian who trusts in Christ for the strength not to drink or use today, this can lead to a belief that somehow their faith has failed them.

There are no easy answers to the problem of relapse. When faced with the prospect of trying once again to “get it”, it is important to get some perspective on relapse as it relates to recovery. First and foremost relapse is not a part of everyone’s path, but it is very common. Many people today who possess very strong recovery had numerous relapses along the way. Everyone’s path is different and no one way is the right way. It is possible for anyone to get sober, no matter how many times they have relapsed in the past.

In reality, this view of relapse as part of the process for some, but not for others, fits well with a strong faith in God. God does not have the same path laid out for each person. He has a purpose and a plan for each of us according to his will.

If we trust in the basic goodness of God and his grace in our lives, we will not have to question why one person’s path is more difficult than another. We can be assured that God does not judge us by our past and that He has forgiven our mistakes and wrong actions. We are then able to walk forward toward recovery free of guilt and shame. No matter how many times we have failed in the past, a strong faith in God makes recovery possible.

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