When confronted with a woman who had been brought to Him as a sinner, Jesus told her that He would not condemn her, but He also told her that she should change her life or, as He put it, ‘Sin no more.’ I suspect that the family and friends of a recovering addict would more or less feel the same. They do not, hopefully, condemn the person in recovery for the failures of the past, but they fully expect that they will not return to their former drug use. It is not uncommon for people who are recovering from addiction to alcohol or other drugs to have a slip or two. It’s part of the process of learning how to live a sober life. A return to the previous behavior is something different.
For a person recovering from addiction to return to their former degree of drug use is often seen as abandoning their recovery. This does not mean that all hope is lost and there is no longer any chance at recovery, but it does mean that the person must start over in recovery to some degree. Even in the case of a return to previous drug use, it can still be an opportunity to learn. By evaluating the circumstances of your return to previous drug use, you can come to a fuller appreciation of what motivates your drug use.
What really matters is how you respond to your slips or to your return to previous drug use. If you see it as a failure, a loss, then that is what you’ll have. If you instead recommit yourself to recovery, then you will have a learning opportunity. Addiction is complicated, being a part of the way that you manage your life. There are both mental and physical aspects to addiction and it can be a coping tool to aid you in dealing with various issues in your life. All of this and more comes into play when we talk about addiction. It is mental, physical and emotional in its origins and motivations. The more you gain experience in recovery and the more you are able to learn from your mistakes, the more you will be able to live your life without reliance on mind-altering substances.
Addiction is not something you can simply turn off or turn on in your life, even though people may have said to you something like: “I don’t understand why you don’t just quit.” It impacts, usually negatively, many aspects of your personality. Despite this, the challenge remains: sin no more!