Relapse Prevention


            Segue:           You don’t need to be cleaned up first
                                    Simple message of HOPE for all of us
                                    Don’t let enemy define who you are:
                                                Satan’s labels are not God’s labels
                                                When you start to believe the enemy’s labels you WILL relapse

  •   Can anyone define “Relapse”

    • To fall back – or revert

    • To regress after partial recovery

    • To slip back into bad ways – backslide

        • Can happen after Holidays

        • Or after Drama’s if you are in them

  •   Can anyone tell me the two things that precede Relapse ?

    • Starts w/ Critical Spirit

    • You begin to Isolate yourself from friends, CR, Church, God


  • Research shows clearly that the following conditions need to be present in order for “Relapse” to occur?  (can be only one or combination of any)

      •  (Top 11  risk factors  OR Triggers leading to Relapse)

        • Excessively critical spirit followed by Isolation

        • Venting or expressing anger – violent

        • Anxiety & nervousness

        • Boredom or lack of healthy leisure interests

        • Denial

        • Depression

        • Impulsive behaviors

        • Exhaustion or fatigue

        • Fears – (unhealthy fears)

        • Feeling helpless or hopeless

        • Guilt


  • Plan your relapse prevention strategy.

    • Cravings & Urges can be triggered by things all around you that may remind you of the good feeling you got when you medicated your pain with some form of addiction.

  • Get out Tonight’s bulletin and we will go over the RELAPSE Acrostic

    • “R” stands for principle # 7 itself:  RESERVE a daily quiet time with God for Self-examination, Bible Reading, & Prayer.

      • It’s easy to slip back into our old HHH. 

        • Alcoholic goes back to drinking

        • People with food issues go back to letting food control them

        • Gambler goes back to Las Vegas

        • Workaholic fill his schedule back up

        • Codependent goes back to unhealthy relationships

        • Person who struggles with Anger vents that anger on others

        • ON & On it goes.

      • The first step in preventing Relapse is to admit that you WILL be tempted – that you are NOT ABOVE temptation.   Jesus wasn’t, so why should you be?

      • Look at Matthew 4: 1-11

        • “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.  Jesus answered:  It is written:  Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.  If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down.  For it is written:  He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  Jesus answered him, it is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.  Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  All this I will give you, He said, if you will bow down and worship me.  Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan!  For it is written:  Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.  Then the devil left him and angels came and attended him.”

        • The test was over  -  The Devil left  -  Jesus was tempted.   He never sinned, but he was tempted.

      • Mark 14:38 tells us: 

        • “Watch & pray so that you will not fall into temptation..  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

        • Remember that being tempted isn’t a sin – it’s falling into the action of temptation that gets us into trouble.

        • Temptations are different from opportunities.

          • Temptations will always give you a 2nd chance – not so w/opportunities.

      • Story of man spoke w/ one Sunday a while back:

        • Struggling w/so many weak around him. 

        • Needed to be around strong people who don’t fail & fall back to HHH

        • Struggling to daily stay clean.

        • I reminded him that Recovery does not take place in a vacuum

          • Or in a monastery

        • No, recovery takes place among those who fail. 

    • Same true of sinners.  We don’t recover from sin in a sinless environment free of temptation.   NO – we have to recover from sin in the midst of constant temptations.   All around us.

        • It always astounds me when people get mad and leave churches because there are sinful people there. 

  • The next letter in our acrostic is “E” which stands for EVALUATE

    • The last two weeks we have been talking all about this – won’t repeat, but let me just remind you of what John Baker calls the HEART test:

      • Ask yourself daily if you are :  Hurting – Exhausted – Angry – Resentful – Tense.

      • If you answer yes to any of these, use the tools we’ve already talked about.


  • The “L” stands for LISTEN

    • Listen to your higher power – Jesus

    • Need to take time out of daily rat race to hear from God – cleanse & clear our souls & minds:

    • Then apply I Thessalonians 5:21 to it:  “Don’t be gullible.  Check out everything and keep only what is good.  Throw out anything tainted with evil.”

  • The “A” stands for ALONE  -  Don’t be alone!!!   DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF!!

    • First part of step 11 says:  “We sought through prayer and MEDITATION to improve our conscious contact with God.”  

      • Meditation is “Alone time w/God”

      • Psalm 46:10 tells us to:  ”be still, and know that I am God.”

      • Some uncomfortable w/ word:  Meditation

        •  All it means is:  “slow down long enough to hear God.”

  • The next letter is “P” which stands for PLUG in to God’s power through prayer.

    • Many times people come to counselors like me and ask:  “Why did God allow this horrible thing to happen to me?”

      • Almost without exception, when asked if they took time to pray about whatever decision they made that got them into trouble – their head drops.  Realize never even brought God into the picture

      • If we don’t daily seek His will for our lives, how can we blame Him when things go wrong?

  • The “S” in our acrostic stands for SLOW

    • Slow down long enough to hear God’s answer

    • After you spend the time praying – need to be patient and be Silent & wait for the answer. Not very good at this.  (NOTE: SILENT & LISTEN = same letters)  NOW. 

    • Philippians 4:7 says:  “

      • If you present your requests to God you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”




  • The last letter is “E” stands for ENJOY

    • God wants you to ENJOY your growth in Him.

    • You need to celebrate your victories.

    • Rejoice in the small successes along the way.

    • I Thes. 5:16 tells us to “Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances.  This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”


Well, that’s it for tonight. 

            You know, sometimes you may wish for a vacation from your HHH

            Well, that’s the invitation to RELAPSE.  It’s REAL and it hurts.

            Here’s a recap of what you can do to avoid Relapse:

  • Pray & read bible daily

  • Make attending CR a priority

  • Flee from the negative self-talk where you come up with excuses to miss the meetings.

  • Celebrate the little victories – then come and tell us about it at CR

  • Get involved in your church.  Volunteer!   Serve others

  • Don’t feed a critical spirit

  • And DON’T ISOLATE yourself

  • ABOVE  ALL:   Remember that you ARE Redeemed!!

    • God alone has the authority to define your worth and value.