“For it after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome the latter end is worse for them than the beginning» (2 Peter 2:20).
The lack of the addictive drug or behavior causes several uncomfortable symptoms. Many times these are the conditions that make one relapse. Other times, it is one’s own personal weakness that eventually gives up, opening the way to a new phase of the addiction—a more profound and difficult one to overcome. Peter tells that it is a state that is worse than the first one. Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States between 1963 and 1969, played a key role in the numerous challenges the country was facing: the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the fight for the civil rights of the African-American population. According to his biographers, Johnson was a man of iron-discipline, with 18-hour long workdays of intense labor without any break. Unfortunately, he was addicted to nicotine; he smoked sixty cigarettes per day until he suffered a serious heart attack that put his life at risk. The doctors advised him to quit cigarettes and so he did for 14 years. But when Richard Nixon defeated him in the elections, his long cigarette-break came to an end. The day he left the White House, on the flight back to his ranch in Texas, he took out a cigarette to smoke it. His daughter, who was traveling with him wanted to stop him, but Johnson replied:
«No! I have raised my daughters, I was the President, and now it is my turn!»
He relapsed. Exactly after four years, he suffered another heart attack that ended his life at sixty-four.
One of the most terrifying thoughts for those who have suffered any kind of addiction is relapse. For this reason, many rehabilitation programs always contain a strong component to prevent relapses as they eventually push the patient to a situation which is even more difficult to tolerate. majority of such programs acknowledge the importance of God’s support. Relapse is not only about the recurrence of the addictions themselves. It is also about the undesirable traits of our character, thoughts, attitudes, words, habits . . .
At the end of his last epistle, Peter concludes with the authentic solution, «But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ» (2 Pet. 3: 18). Only an intimate and constant relationship with the Lord Jesus can keep us relapse-free.