It’s about that time of year!
Leaves are falling, turkeys are freaking out, and Santa Claus is coming to town.
Everyone is looking forward to the holidays, right?
Actually, no. For many of us, the holidays are not times of fun and family but rather painful reminders of broken homes, loved ones who have passed away, and a deep sense of loneliness.
Many things can exasperate these feelings. One of those things is, unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction. Gathering for the holidays can be yet another remaindered that someone we love is destroying both themselves and our family with their problem.
And year after year, we see them getting worse. Feeling unable to help, we ignore it. But this doesn’t help because it doesn’t go away. Feeling helpless, we give up.
But the hope in all of this is that we don’t have to. There is something we can do.
Understandably, we cannot make the person change. And we cannot force them to get help. But we can certainly...
Imagine being in the trenches of war for years then suddenly finding yourself back at home in the comforts of your own living room.
What would you do? Relax, breathe, recalibrate, do things you enjoy?
If you’ve been in the up and down battle of helping an addict through and addiction, then you can relate to war. It’s tiring. Stressful. Difficult. And at times, unbearable.
If, however, the addict has gone to a rehab like Adult and Teen Challenge, it’s as if you are back in the comforts of your own home. Instead of the daily battle, you are able to rest, refresh, restart, and renew.
And honestly, the addict is not the only one who needs healing in this situation. You do too. And now that the person is in rehab, you finally have the change to do that.
The question, however, is how?
What can be done to fix all the damage while the person I love is away getting help?
There are actually 3 ways to find healing for yourself and to prepare you for what lies ahead.
Have you ever been blamed for someone’s decision to abuse drugs or alcohol?
Perhaps the all too familiar you made me do it is something you’ve heard a time or two.
The truth of the matter is that you are not, and should never be, responsible for another person’s decisions.
To deal with this sort of backlash, we must first understand it for the 3 things it really is.
An addict always wants a second chance. Another night to stay. One more dollar to spare. And if they can convince you that you’re the reason they relapsed, you are much more likely to give in to their demands. Why? Because it’s your fault so you should compensate for your fault in the matter, right?
Of course not. But that’s what they are hoping to make you feel.
Nobody wants to admit that they are the reason something went wrong. Car accidents are always the other driver’s fault. Bad grades are the teacher’s fault. And the cycle continues.
It’s always easy for someone to tell someone else what they’d do in their situation. Especially when they aren’t in the situation themselves.
The all too familiar, If I were you I would…, is common in these scenarios.
But honestly, if they were us they don’t have a clue what they would do.
And that’s why they don’t understand that we love someone who struggles through an addiction.
Sure, the addict hurts us time and time again. We forgive them. They do it again. All the while, our friends and family witness the cycle and wonder whether we’ve lost our minds or not.
They tell us to quit, to move on, and to stop living in this situation. Our friends tell us the case is hopeless and that the addict will never change. Our family says we should stop allowing this person to hurt us so much.
And all of them tell us we’re crazy.
But the truth is that we aren’t crazy. We just believe in some things that seem crazy from the outside...
Could there be something greater than winning a million dollars?
What about the likelihood of finding something better than a treasure chest full of gold under your house?
Would it be possible to think of anything greater than being granted endless health forever?
Some people may say no. But a certain group of people would say absolutely, yes!
They would say that there is something better than riches, health, and anything else you could think of combined.
But who would say such a thing? Grandparents. The grandmother or grandfather would tell you that having a grandbaby is better than all of that and more.
And sometimes, these grandparents have the opportunity not only to love their grandchildren but to raise them as well. However, this is typically the case in less than favorable circumstances. Raising the grandbaby no doubt is a wonderful experience, but typically this happens then the grandparent’s child (the grandbaby’s parent) passes on before his or her time.
Have you ever heard a word so often that you almost forgot its meaning?
Some words are tossed around and used in so many different contexts that it becomes easy to lose sight of all the ideas wrapped up inside of a single word.
Additionally, words also have implied meanings. Consider, as examples, terrible tragedy, future plans, and true facts. These words are redundant because the elaborated meanings added by the additional words are already contained within the words. Let me explain.
A tragedy is terrible. No need to call it terrible. Plans are for the future, no need to call them future plans. And facts are true, no need to call them true.
You see, words have meanings contained within them already. And taking those meanings away would actually change the word. For example, if we took “true” away from facts we’d no longer have facts, just opinions.
But what does that have to do with helping someone we love who is dealing with an addiction?
Actually, a lot.
Consider how much easier it would be to love an addict through their addiction without ever losing peace again.
That sounds like a bold statement, but it is actually very possible.
We sometimes think peace is based upon external circumstances. But really, peace is based on what’s happening inside of us.
Let’s look at a promise God gives us regarding peace. In Isaiah 26:3 (NLT), the Bible tells us that God “will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]!
That’s a promise that keeping our thoughts fixed on Christ will give us peace through hard times. When addicts we love tell us they’ll quit but use drugs again, we can still have peace. When they use our household money to buy drugs instead of groceries, we can still have peace. When addicts accuse us of “making them” use, we can still have peace.
And here are 5 ways we have that peace based upon the promises of God’s word.
1. Think More...
Have you ever flown on a plane and noticed the safety instructions to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting someone else with theirs?
There is an obvious reason for this. If you yourself are not healthy, you cannot help someone else get healthy.
But ask any mother what she would do if the plane starts going down and the masks drop. Would she put her mask on or her child’s mask on first?
Inevitably, she would put her child’s mask on first. In spite of being told not to. Even though doing so actually harms both her and her child more (because if something happens to her, both her and the child are harmed). It doesn’t matter. The tendency when it comes to helping people we love is to put them before ourselves.
The problem with this, however, is that if we aren’t doing well, we really aren’t much good to those we love.
But we are told to love them. We hear that not doing so is selfish. We feel obligated to love them. The truth is that loving...
The only thing worse than losing a basketball game is losing it by one point at the last second.
The reason is that that score is final.
All throughout the game, each team suffers setbacks and enjoys comebacks. It is a back-and-forth journey. But at some point, finality hits.
Loving someone with an addiction is sort of like a basketball game. We experience wins along the way, but we also experience setbacks.
And it is easy to view those setbacks as final. But if the person you love is still alive, the final buzzer hasn’t rung. Setbacks may set you back, but they are not final.
There is, however, something that is final. Something that will never end. Something that will last forever.
That is hope.
Check out this promise from Scripture:
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love…” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
When we refocus after a broken promise, an argument, or a relapse, we see that beyond the setback is a fresh hope to cling...
How to Hope Again after Losing All Hope
Imagine how great it would feel if, after swimming under water for a full minute, you came up and gasped fresh air.
The new oxygen of which you had been deprived would refresh you as a cool sprinkle of rain on a hot summer day.
Prefer to listen?
Even though oxygen is essential, we usually use it without realizing it. The only time we truly notice it, is when it’s gone.
Hope during hard times is like oxygen. It is absolutely vital. We cherish it. But we feel it most when we lose it. That’s when we realize how important hope really is.
And when someone we love uses and abuses drugs or alcohol, we start trying to help. At the beginning, we have hope. Our love and trust for the person give us confidence in their ability to change. But when change doesn’t happen, promises get broken, and we pay the price for someone else’s decisions, hope can abandon us to face the trial without it.
But going through a trial...