When the subject of addiction comes up it seems the addict is the one who gets all the attention. Of course this would be expected since they are usually the one causing the biggest ruckus, but what about the other members of the family? What happens with them?
Tracey and I had the opportunity to talk with a young lady that is dealing with a husband that has a raging addiction and she is understandably tired and frustrated. The husband is going to be incarcerated for approximately 10 months due to some illegal behavior stemming from his addiction, and she is asking for prayer. As a believer in Jesus Christ we know he really is the only one that has the ability to heal this man and his family, but in the mean time there are a few things she can do. The main thing is seeking help for herself while he’s away so she can become well again. Addiction has a way of infecting everyone involved, not just the one in the addictive cycle.
I asked her if she had ever been to an Al-Anon meeting or anything like that and she said “No.” I said, “Well, we both know Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to your husband’s problem, and I would say you need some healing in your own life too.” As I said this you could see tears starting to well up in her eyes. My experience has been that the spouse puts themselves out for so long, on behalf of the addict, they tend to neglect their own needs. The stress that accompanies living with an addict is sometimes more taxing on the spouse than the addict themselves; because at least the addict gets to use drugs or alcohol to alleviate the stress whereas the others don’t.
This blog site isn’t meant to be a site about addiction but it seems to be the topic Tracey and I are running into lately. When I talk of addiction of course it is really just one of the world’s words for what the Bible calls sins. The Bible doesn’t distinguish one person as an addict while others are not, in fact, according to the Bible all human beings were meant to be addicted. God created us to be attached to him but sin severed us from him so we’re all in search of something or someone to be attached to. Jesus tells us in John 15 “you are the branches.” We were designed to be joined in a union with Christ and until we are we will join ourselves to all sorts of other things. For some it’s the never ending search for the perfect mate, job, home, reputation, bank account, car and on and on until we get board or frustrated enough to look elsewhere. The hope is we will come to the end of the frivolous search, sooner rather than later, so we might start to seek wholeness, purpose and direction in Christ. Because he is the only one who can really give it to us.
The first thing an addict needs to understand is they have a problem and they are powerless to overcome it. The first thing the spouse, or loved one of an addict, needs to learn is they are powerless to fix the addict. Getting better is not going to happen from trying harder; in fact it is really quite the opposite. Any kind of life controlling issue that one may have cannot be beaten by trying harder. The very fact that it is called a life controlling problem should tell us it is controlling us; so there must be a different approach. Addiction of any kind is really only dealt with the same as any other sin we could name. We have to declare our powerlessness or inability to defeat it and turn to Jesus Christ and his work on the cross for victory. It is only in him that we will overcome whatever it is that is destroying us. There really is victory in Jesus!
Written by Louie