3 Strategies for Relapse Prevention
#1 Pursue Deeper Levels of Intimacy Establishing deeper levels of intimacy with your spouse as well as close friends and family is foundational to gaining and maintaing sobriety. Fulfilling the command found in Luke 10:27 to “love” our God, and our neighbor serves as a critical mantra for recovery. Pursuing deeper levels of intimacy both with your spouse and family though is quite scary. Engaging your spouse or significant other means that there has to be an intentional, consistant, sharing of vital information about one’s life. It means a loss of anonymity. It also means taking the time to invest in finding out more about your partner. All of this takes time which means other things have to be sacrificed.
I also highly recommend Celebrate Recovery, church accountability groups, or recovery groups through xxxchurch.com. My point is that recovery requires community. In a safe, community, surrounded by people who want to see you succeed there can be great transformation. Along the same lines there are also other “practical” things you can do such as more accountability online through x3Watch which is software that will tag any Adult site or questionable sites that you might go on and then send an email to your designated accountability partner.
Obviously for some it is quite possible to manipulate things so that they won’t get “caught” but then that defeats the purpose and the goal of being transformed into the person who makes the right decision and turns away in the first place. In other words, it isn’t just about avoiding the bad, ultimately you want to become the person who makes the right choice every time. But that doesn’t happen magically overnight. It happens in a process. Part of that process is to make our lives open to scrutiny from someone else. It is to lose a level of anonymity that often keeps us from living authentically.
#2 Discover God’s Purpose for Your Life Discovering God’s purpose for your life is truly transformational. A scriptural reference would be Jeremiah 29:11 where it says, “For I know the plans I have for you…”. This is a promise that indeed God has a purpose that you are meant to fulfill. I found this to be extremely powerful in diminishing my own craving for porn. It helps us to avoid the distraction of porn because we can’t help but be compelled by a bigger vision for our lives that God has given us. It is motivating, exhilarating, and freeing. That isn’t to say that we won’t be tempted to return to our old ways it just means God’s purpose undermines all that porn is telling us. In order to keep God’s purpose for my life front and center I create a list of things that would be motivating for me to remain sober. It is called a “motivation review” list. Some of the more obvious things that are listed are, “A desire to honor God with my body,” “A desire to be a faithful husband,” “A desire to be the best father I can be.”
#3 Implement Regular Spiritual Practices The third thing is the importance of implementing specific spiritual practices. Regular Bible study (along with reading other spiritual books) prayer, and serving are critical. These are the “meds” that should be “taken” daily. I also believe the practice of Sabbath rest is vital. Not just rest from physical, paid, labor but true rest for the soul. Resting in your understanding of the beauty and the power of the gospel. Along with that I would add that it is important to get away and disconnect. These are times that we really “hear” God speak when we break away from the distractions of the culture and our own cluttered lives.
In summary: intimacy, purpose, and spiritual practices all matter when it comes to sexual integrity.