The answer to why people fail in recovery is a simple one. If we fail, it is because we have failed to put our spiritual growth above all else. If we fail, taking Steps has fallen by the wayside. If we fail, our relationship to God has become secondary.
Besides physical sobriety, the one requirement to maintain our sanity, and therefore our recovery, is to put this work above all else. We must put the Steps and we must put God first before anything and anybody.
Sorry, but that's the way it goes.
Sure, you don't have to run home and tell your wife that she's now second to God and will be forever. Although it is important for our spouses and families to understand this. The logic is simple. If we don't put our spiritual health first, then we won't ever be okay. We will become sick again, only to relapse and destroy everything. If we don't get better and stay better, we lose everything anyway. But if we maintain our sanity, our spiritual health and our connection to God, then all of our relationships will flourish just by virtue of our condition.
When our recovery suddenly falls into second place, we begin to suffer almost immediately and we begin to fail at just about everything. I've heard people say that the Steps didn't work or the Steps failed me or some other nonsense. That's not true. What they meant to say was that at some point, they stopped putting the Steps first before all else. At some point in their recovery, the work became secondary to something else, whether it be a new relationship, a job, money, or some other personal ambition.
We have to remember that if we want to actually recover and live a good life, we have to stop putting ourselves first. Our selfish ambitions must always stay behind our number one priority, which is our spiritual well-being, which is God. If not, we lose it all. So when people ask me about how they are going to accomplish this or that if all they do is take Steps, I say it doesn't matter what you have or don't have if you're not okay. If you fail to recover and then relapse, you will lose it all anyway.
God, help me become willing to put my spiritual growth above all else...