biblical advice for every stage in life

Addiction Issues

Addiction Issues

Does someone you love seem to be self-destructing in addictive behavior? Are you watching a spouse, son, or daughter abandon everything that was once important to them because of drugs, alcohol, sex, or some other stimulant?

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An addiction or dependence is commonly defined as “a recurring compulsion to do the same thing over and over, despite harmful consequences to his health, mental state, or social life.” Are you seeing that trade-off in someone you care about—a compulsive pursuit regardless of the effects it has, especially on your relationship? If you are not seeing clear signs of addiction, are you noticing a gulf growing between you and this family member as their thoughts, time, and energy are consumed by some dominating activity? What can you do to help?

STEP ONE: Assess the Willingness to Change

Has your loved one admitted a problem and shown interest in getting help? If they have given you any sign of wanting to deal with their problem, take that opportunity to get the best of Christian counsel and direction from those most familiar with the specific addiction he or she is indulging.

If instead you are dealing with denial, you most likely will need to plan an intervention—which is an orchestrated attempt by family and friends to motivate someone to get help for their problem. An intervention is especially necessary to help stabilize the situation—to begin shielding your home from the emotional, physical, and spiritual vulnerability of an out-of-control problem.

STEP TWO: Treat Body, Mind & Spirit

Sex addiction counselor Rob Jackson tells families that the addictive behaviors they see are just the tip of the iceberg. Efforts to modify behavior might seem effective in the short-term, but can re-appear or show up in a different compulsion if underlying issues are not addressed.

Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” Those struggling with addiction need to treat problems of the body, mind, and spirit—to go beneath the surface and deal with the thoughts, emotions, and spiritual conflicts driving those behaviors.

James 1:14 describes how dependence progresses from desire to enticement to sin and ultimately, to death. The most effective approach to recovery is to reverse that progression—to restore a right relationship with God (Romans 8:1-15), to have a clean heart (Psalm 51), to have a renewed mind (Romans 12:2), and then as a result, to bear good fruits in behavior (Romans 6:7).

STEP THREE: Find Hope in Perseverance

God is able to redeem anyone and restore them to a life characterized by self-control (Titus 2:11-14). There is hope in persevering as a family through the struggles of recovery. Romans 5:3-4 says, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Your prayers ultimately come down to asking that God’s best will win out for this family member, remembering Jesus’ words: “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10).

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