(No) Excuses for Relapse


1. I’ve been working really hard and I deserve a break.  (Sorry, but no. Good on you for working hard; but the thing you want a break from is a life-dominating whirlpool of addiction that will suck you down if you dip your toe in).

2. I can handle it. (You can’t.  It’s bigger than you – which is why you need Jesus and other people and all the support you can get).

3. I’ve learned from my mistakes.  (Great! So don’t make the biggest one of all – complacency)

4. What’s the harm in…? (Ask this question of your loved ones.  What has it cost you already? What has it cost them?)

5. Other people can do it. (You are not other people.  Their life is not yours, their weaknesses are not yours and their rules are not yours).

6. I’m sick of this: it’s all too much.  (No.  It’s hard; very hard – but your addiction is harder. That’s the thing that’s too much).

7. I deserve my old habit. (Deserve what?  A habit that is killing you? An addiction that steals you from God, the world and yourself?  It’s not “freedom” – it’s a death sentence.

8. Other people don’t understand.  (Or is it that they understand all too well – and are threatening what you want?)

9. I’m too tired and it’s too much.  (I’m sorry you’re tired.  And I’m sorry life is so busy.  But this is your priority – all the other stuff can wait).

10. I’m angry and annoyed and stressed and burnt-out.  ( These make you vulnerable to temptation; but they are not reasons for it. Acknowledge them: talk them out and pray them.  Don’t channel them into old behaviours).

11. This is how I cope with life.  (No.  The old you might have used it.  But you’re different now.  This is not what you do any more.  It’s not you).

12. I’m too ashamed to admit I need help. (There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.  Shame comes when we try to do it alone – and fail.)

13. But I’m still not happy. (Life in recovery is not perfect. But it’s not hellish either. There will be ups and downs – but these are part of normal life.  Stick with it – it takes time to rebuild life and relationships).

14. I’ve passed the point of no return.  (Stop.  Right now.  And turn around. This is the point of return.  There is grace and forgiveness when you ask for help).


7 thoughts on “(No) Excuses for Relapse

  1. Emma, I am so grateful for you!! I recently started a Christian-based ED recovery group in the US with two other women in recovery, and we plan to share this in one of our meetings soon! Many blessings!

  2. Haha Emma you are my brain …! (so, I keep wondering if you write these entries of mental health x Christian life in a what capacity? Like do you consider yourself recovered or recovering?) Stop tresspassing my brain hahahah that’s not nice! :p

    #1, #9, #10 strike a chord most in me (probably because I do this stupid thing called counting relapse-free days hahaha … oops.) & I’ve said them many, many times. I’m thankful most days I have better & more meaningful things to distract myself (ha), but the danger of relapse is always real. & I know that much as I have managed to be less caught up with counting relapse free days, the temptation & possibility/threat is always real – & for me, knowing myself – honestly it’s the pride of not crashing that relapse free count to zero. Heh. & also, I think that combines with the knowledge that with a crash, I’d have something in more recent memory to start counting with all over again. Gahhh.

    (was one year relapse free on Aug 17! Then I was less uptight abt counting after one year – probably 13months-something now .. but I can’t quote a specific figure offhand now – yay? Might be 400+ haha oops.)

    thanks for this, it was gentle & stern & relatable all in the right spaces. I hope you take heed in them for you, too! hugs.

  3. Thanks Karen and Aimee

    Dee – I definitely need to take heed of them all! And congrats on your aug 17 anniversary

  4. Sometimes we end up relapsing because we don’t know how to move forward or manage the new stresses we face. I move from eating alone my own diet to feeling i now ought to be able to plan, prepare and eat all that my family do, in spite of the fact that recipes, planning, cooking and eating with others are all beyond me. How to move forward in small steps, who to ask for help that is relevant and specific AND being able to keep going is hard. initially there is a momentum and euphoria with the new way of living, then it can just feel like an increasing and unbearable burden and stress to be different and ‘better’ that is false and unsustainable.
    All that said coming across your post has given me a bit of renewed impetus and I am, if with fairly low expectations, back on the right path!

  5. These are great points Emma – especially the challenge of moving from that initial momentum, (I can do it! Everything is different!) and then plunging into the day-to-day (Wait, this is hard – and boring! And it doesn’t feel like me. And I’m tired!) As with many things, I try to find middle ground – I’m a sinner and stuck in sin, but in Jesus I’m new and His power in me is greater than my self-will. My hope is in Him; so I can keep going and stumbling into His arms.

  6. thank you for writing and sharing this, Emma – much needed, very convicting, & quite encouraging! (I printed these words of truth so I would be reminded of them often!) :)

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