"I failed." Such a confession has to be painful. "I did it again, even though I knew better." I read or hear similar statements regularly.
I don't want anyone to fall back into unhealthy or abusive relationships. But they happen. It means that person failed this time—but isn't a lifetime failure.
My friend *Patrick has gone back to gay experiences three times in the decade I've known him. After each regression he swears, "It won't ever happen again."
Each time I hope not and I pray for him every day. I've been able to say truthfully, "I'm your friend and I care about you very much. I don't want it to happen again, but if it does, I won't turn my back on you."
Years before I dealt with my sexual assault, I did some work with leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous. One remark stayed with me. "Some people fail to stay sober and they have to return to AA several times before they finally attain an ongoing sobriety."
If you're reading this, please, please don't go back to those unhealthy ways.
But if you do, we understand. Many have temporarily fallen back.
"I've failed again. My second time," *Al said to a group of us. "But even finding sexual fulfillment was brief and I hated myself for doing it."
Spontaneously, we all hugged Al. One man whispered, "I know how it feels. Welcome back."
Failure is awful. Painful.
But life is filled with opportunities to start again.