Relapse Prevention

This is a sample of a phone conversation I have had several times throughout the years.

“Hello, my name is Mary Smith and my husband is Joe Smith. I don’t know if you remember my husband but you did an intensive with him about a year ago.”

“Sure, I remember him. How is he doing?”

“Well, he was doing great after he came back from visiting with you but over time he has just gone back to being his old self.”

“Do you know if he has relapsed back into his sexual addiction?”

“No, I don’t believe so but he is not growing spiritually and is more emotionally distant”

“Do you know if he set up accountability with other men?”

“He tried a few times but then he quit trying. So, no he didn’t”

Healing from sexual addiction begins with brokenness before God. This state of brokenness is what generally sends men into the recovery process. What keeps them on the path of healing and recovery is having men of grace to hold them accountable and address unmet needs. First, let’s address the term men of grace.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus had the perfect balance of grace and truth and did not forsake one for the other. As Christians, one of our primary goals is to strive for that same balance. Christian men that are recovering from sexual addiction will need men who consistently seek grace and truth. They will point them toward God’s Truth when they fall short or fail but always remain coupled to the sufficiency of His grace. This is a masculine need and part of the iron sharpening iron process.

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

Secondly, let us address the concept of accountability. Accountability is needed in any area of our life where we lack internal discipline or where we need encouragement. Men struggling with sexual addiction lack internal discipline regarding lust. To attempt carrying out a plan of recovery without external support is a set up for failure. Sexual addiction recovery is hard and the men in this journey need encouragement to continue in the fight. It is easy to go with our natural bent of sinning. We need encouragement to go the path of obedience and purity.

Thirdly, the men of grace also meet needs. Many sexual addicts lack the affirmation of their earthly father. Affirmation is a very basic and core need. If this need is not addressed then a void is created and temptation is Satan’s way of addressing that void or need. Sexual addicts in recovery need men of grace that will address those unmet needs. Without these root needs being addressed then the plant of sexual addiction grows back. If I had to give only one reason for sexual addiction relapse then it would be because of arrogance and pride. Once a sexual addict leaves the place of brokenness, he soon forgets the pain of his rebellion. He gradually begins to believe he is doing ok. He will slowly over time start directing his own life again. Arrogance and pride tells us that I don’t need anyone else to lean upon because I am doing fine on my own.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

Without accountability your “I” or self direction will grow back. Do you realize the same word is in the middle of pride and sin? That word is “I”. Pride truly does go before the fall or relapse.

Finding these men is not easy nor is it instant. There is not a one size fits all for what, who and where these men are located. Sexual addicts need assistance and counseling in finding the right men of grace for them. I have seen men with many years of sobriety and healing and the one common factor is they all had men of grace to come along side them in the fight.


About David Jones

David Jones is the Executive Director for Restoration Path Ministries. David is a Memphis TN area native and lives with his wife of over 32 years and has two adult children. He is a long-standing deacon, ordained elder and Sunday school teacher. David has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis. Restoration Path is founded on David’s experiences and teachings. David has over 35 years of counseling, mental health, and ministry experience. In 1998, he began providing intensive workshops for Christian men struggling with sexual addiction. His work has also included workshops for the wives and families of sexual addicts. He has also facilitated numerous training institutes. The teachings that are presented through the ministry workshops and intensives are the result of proven and biblically based techniques. He is also the author of 4 other books Goldfish Devotionals, The Blessing of the Thorn, 10 Truths Wives Need to Know, and The Top 10 Lies Sex Addicts Tell Themselves. He is the author and creator of the 4 and 3-day Restoration Path intensive sexual addiction workshops and workbooks. He is the designer, author, and creator of the Restoration Path video workshops and workbooks for male sexual addicts as well as the video workshop for the wives of addicts. All of David’s books and material can be ordered from the ministry website.

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