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7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 1 of 2)

7 Ways to Prevent and Reverse Relapse


Recovery is a life-long journey. It’s day in and day out–morning, noon, and night. We rejoice with our victories, and we sob with our defeats.


Many times, our missteps teach us the greatest lessons. But if we’re not careful, our missteps can also send us head first into a full-blown relapse.


Today–and in my next post, I want to use the letters in the word “RELAPSE” to share with you seven ways we can prevent—and even reverse—relapse on our recovery journeys.


1. Reflect

Think about the things you are doing that remind you of your “former self”—that is, pre-recovery. Lately, I’ve been getting angry easily and making sarcastic comments—signs of “old Daphne” resurfacing. Maybe you are:

  • Criticizing others
  • Trying to please people
  • Taking a drink here and there
  • Bursting out in anger
  • Mistreating your body
  • Flirting with pornography

Identifying these signs will help you uncover any underlying issues that need to be addressed. God will show you those signs as you quietly listen to Him and ask Him to “search you” (Psalm 139:23).


2. Expose your triggers and plan your escape strategies

Once you’ve identified the red flags, uncover your triggers. What are you generally feeling, thinking, or doing before you, say, burst out in anger or try to please others, etc? When I spout out in anger or make sarcastic comments, I’m usually feeling overwhelmed because things aren’t turning out the way I want or planned. This has set me off big time lately.


Once you know your triggers, you can start planning your escape strategies. Yes, that’s right—escape. Listen to 1 Corinthians 10:13:


But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.


Did you get that? God will show you how to escape your temptation! Maybe your escape strategy could include physically removing yourself from a situation or setting stricter controls on your computer, or God may even bring someone into your life at that very moment to help you in some way or another—even if it’s just to distract you for a few minutes to get yourself back on track. The key is to say to yourself, “When I see this red flag, I will escape by [insert your escape strategy].”


3. Look up and re-learn scripture passages

Once you’ve exposed your triggers and planned your escape strategies, pull out the Scripture passages that you used early on in your recovery. If you don’t have them anymore, no worries. Write them down again. As you write them on paper, God will rewrite them on your heart. In my case, I would go back to these verses.


“If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies.” (1 Peter 3:10)


“The tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life.… Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.” (James 3:6-12)


“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit–you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21)


“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)


These are just a few passages, but you get the idea: Inscribe God’s word on your heart once again.



I hope you can already see ways to help you prevent sliding back into old habits. It’s all about staying in God’s word and presence, wouldn’t you say?


In my next post, we’ll look at the remaining 4 ways to prevent—and even reverse—relapse.


In the meantime, come alongside… How has this post helped you? What can you put into practice today? Who do you know who can benefit from this post? Will you share it with them?



For more posts on seeking God’s presence, visit the “In His Presence Link-Up” at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women.


17 Responses to 7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 1 of 2)

  • Yes, Daphne. It is good to recognize the triggers. And I become much more sensitive to them when I haven’t been getting enough rest and alone time. Especially in periods of stress.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse would like you to read…I wonder if there’s a room for rent in the pineapple?

    • Daphne says:

      I am with you, Jamie. When I’m not rested–which is a lot lately, and when I’m not having enough alone time–also a lot lately, it’s a recipe for disaster. I’m taking those moments as I can and implementing some other strategies–including Tai Chi–whenever possible.

      Thank you for sharing openly.


  • Merita Ortiz says:

    Thank you so much my beautiful cousin, this is exactly I needed to read and imply to myself because these couple of weeks I been relapsing myself.

    • Daphne says:

      So sorry you have been having a hard time lately, Merita. Remember… we all relapse and we all make mistakes. Allow those mistakes to lead you closer to Him and to add to your story of freedom, forgiveness, and grace.

      Blessings and hugs,

  • Pingback: An Open Response to a Reader’s Complaint Letter | Daphne E. Tarango

  • Karen says:

    I’ve read your post and totally understand. May God cover you with his hand and provide the initial turn in “reverse”. 🙂 Love you, Friend!
    Karen would like you to read…AUTUMN, A SWIRL OF COLOR

    • Daphne says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Karen. God is already helping me in my U-turn.

      Having encouragers like you in my life is such a blessing and an inspiration.


  • Lora says:

    Thanks so much for the article. Your words are soo encouraging and so SPOT ON! Exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I have been struggling and most assuredly was headed toward active relapse…was having a bad day yesterday and then out of the blue one of my coworkers…someone i would not usually or readily confide in, starts talking, which we do all the time about generalized stuff, then out of the blue, we end up talking about 12 step programs and i end of hearing what I needed to hear…then i happen upon your blog…not accidental i am sure of it…He is merciful and He always does give me what I need right when I need it! Your sharing of ESH was what I needed to hear this morning…thanks again! And thanks for sharing.

    • Daphne says:

      Not accidental, Lora! I’m glad the Lord led your coworker to you and that He led you to the words you needed to hear. Isn’t He awesome? He loves you that much!

      Big hugs, dear one.


  • Sarah says:

    Love you Miss Daphne. Keep on being brave and facing all this fun stuff, and we all got fun stuff. 🙂 My prayers are with you.
    Sarah would like you to read…Getting Off the High Horse

    • Daphne says:

      Thank you for your encouragement and support, dear friend. Sometimes it’s hard being brave, but God’s got me, and that’s all that matters.


  • Excellent advice, Daphne. I’m really struggling with my mouth lately. Starting to daydream about not speaking for a year like one crazy young man did. Problem is, my fingers can still type! 🙂

  • GuichT says:

    I guess it is a life long journey. Do we ever fully recover? I know for me, when i get lazy and just feel like, “blah” relapse loves to come around. Jesus, wonderful name of Jesus, beautiful name of Jesus, I tell myself over and over till those triggers and feelings go away. I think one of the reasons relapse feels so lonely is because we forget to include our friend Christ. Looking forward to the next four.

    • Daphne says:

      Thanks for stopping by, GuichT. I don’t think we ever fully recover–until we get to heaven, that is. Oh, what a day that will be!

      Like you, when I get complacent and “sure of myself,” I start to take more steps back than forward. But… there is power in the name of Jesus, isn’t there? Evil has to flee at the name of Jesus.

      May we always include our friend Jesus Christ into our recovery journeys. He alone can help us recover.

      Big hugs,

  • Pingback: 7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 2 of 2) | Daphne E. Tarango

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