God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer is a simple yet powerful reminder of the importance of understanding what is in our control, and what isn’t.
In the case of addiction, families often waver between feeling helpless to fix their loved one’s addiction and deciding that they simply have to wait and trust in God to do what they can’t.
What’s really happening is that families have become confused about what is their responsibility, what is the addict or alcoholic’s responsibility, and what is in God’s hands.
A Christian intervention specialist can help families get clear about what they have control over and how to lovingly, yet firmly, place responsibility for curing addiction where it belongs.
The Moral Conundrum of Addiction
Who has the moral obligation to fix the addiction problem? Substance users have become experts at making their addiction someone else’s problem, or denying that they have a problem. Families can help by refusing to let the addict or alcoholic continue avoiding responsibility for his or her addiction.
Is Addiction a Moral Failing or a Disease?
For a long time, society largely believed that addiction resulted from weak morals, and that faith and willpower were the cure to addiction. We now know that addiction is a disease caused by physical and psychological changes in the body.
In fact, the very definition of addiction is that willpower alone is no longer enough to stop substance abuse. That’s why receiving professional intervention and treatment is a critical part of lasting recovery.
Families, on the other hand, DO have a moral choice:
Will you allow the situation to continue until your loved one dies or goes to jail, or will you take the courageous action necessary to put accountability for addiction back where it belongs: on the drug user or alcoholic?
Why Isn’t My Faith that My Loved One Will Get Better Actually Working?
Enabling happens when families are trying to help, but in doing so, they are not allowing their loved one to feel the consequences of his or her actions. Committing to getting help to overcome addiction is the responsibility of the substance user. But usually when families “help” their loved one, they are making the addict or alcoholic comfortable in their addiction.
Comfortable people have absolutely no motivation to change their behavior. They’d rather be comfortable than face the discomfort and discipline of change that is necessary to overcome addiction.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way”.
– Hebrews 12:11
By shielding the addict or alcoholic from the consequences of their actions (by giving them food, shelter, money, bailing them out of jail, etc.), you are playing God and not letting God do His job of motivating the substance user through the natural consequences of his or her actions.
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
– Galatians 6:7
When families stop enabling, this allows the substance user to experience the full consequences of addiction, which in turn is letting God do His job.
How Substance Users Turn Their Family’s Faith Against Them
When you love a person who is addicted to substances, you hope they will get better. You turn that hope into faith. But substance users know all too well how to use this hope-based faith against you so they can stay comfortable in their addiction. Watch this video and see if you recognize any of these scenarios.
A Faith-Based Approach to Family Empowerment and Intervention
True faith is more than hope. It’s trust. When you trust yourself to do your part, trust your loved one to take responsibility for their own life, and trust God to take care of the rest, that is genuine faith.
Accept the Things You Cannot Change
Family members often unwittingly take responsibility for things that are not their responsibility. Here’s who’s really responsible for what…
The family is NOT responsible for:
- Shielding the substance user from the natural consequences of his or her actions
- The emotions or hardships of the substance user
- Feeding and sheltering adult children, especially when they lie, steal and disrupt family life
The family IS responsible for:
- No longer enabling their loved one to be comfortable in addiction
- Arranging professional intervention and addiction services for their loved one
- Setting clear boundaries
- Attending to their own needs and healing
The addict or alcoholic is responsible for:
- Admitting he or she has a problem
- Accepting help when it is offered
- Doing the hard work to overcome addiction
- Committing to long-term recovery
Have the Courage to Change What You Can
Substance users avoid addiction treatment because it’s a difficult process to go through in order to achieve the reward of a sober life. Families likewise avoid intervention because they don’t want to go through the difficult process of saying “no” to their loved one and weathering the emotional firestorm that it will bring.
To get through this process, families need two things:
- Courage: Yes, this will be uncomfortable. Yes, your loved one will probably say that they hate you for refusing to continue accommodating them. Yes, you can weather the storm and enjoy a better life if you have the courage to do so.
- Professional intervention assistance: If your loved one had cancer, you wouldn’t try to treat it all by yourself. Interventions also require expert help to have the best chance of success.
Although this process isn’t easy, know that you are doing the right thing and trust that God will do what He can to watch over your child when you are not around.
Christian Drug and Alcohol Intervention
At Family First Intervention, we can connect you with specialists who know how to take a Christian approach to intervention and treatment.
A Christian intervention is not designed to change the substance user’s faith. Rather, it is about bringing the family together and delivering your loved one to a place where he or she can slowly reestablish a life and faith on his or her own terms.
We Will Travel to Any Corner of the United States to Help Light the Way Toward Sobriety and Healing: