Yesterday, through some pretty amazing circumstances, God led me to write about addiction in, Jesus is Calling: What Every Addict Needs to Know. Today I want to talk to the families of the addict. This letter from an addict to her family is found in Nar-Anon material.
AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FAMILY
I am a drug addict. I need help — from a doctor, a psychologist, a counselor, from an addict who found recovery in Narcotics Anonymous, and from God.
Don’t solve my problems for me. This only makes me lose respect for you.
Don’t lecture, moralize, scold, blame, or argue — whether I’m loaded or not. It may make you feel better, but it will make the situation worse.
Don’t accept my promises. The nature of my illness prevents me from keeping them, even though I mean them at the time. Promises are my only way of postponing pain. Don’t keep switching agreements; if an agreement is made — stick to it.
Don’t lose your temper with me. It will destroy you and any possibility of helping me.
Don’t allow your anxiety for me — make you do what I should do for myself
Don’t cover up or try to spare me the consequences of my using. It may reduce the crisis, but it will make my illness worse.
Above all, don’t run away from reality as I do. Drug dependence, my illness, gets worse as the using continues. Start now to learn, to understand, to plan for recovery. Find Nar-Anon, whose groups exist to help the families of drug-abusers.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Some things I think every family member of an addict should know:
1. You cannot save your child, spouse or parent from their addiction. Only God can save.
My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” “Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply, “for you are the Lord our God. Our worship of idols on the hills and our religious orgies on the mountains are a delusion. Only in the Lord our God will Israel ever find salvation. From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for—their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters—was squandered on a delusion. Jer. 3:22-24
2. You must set boundaries and tell your loved one “No.”
They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Rom. 1:32
3. You must let the natural consequences of their actions play out. Stop protecting them from the consequences of their addiction.
What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. Is. 5:11
4. Your loved one cannot see truth while they are still using.
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 2 Cor. 4:4
5. Let go of resentment. Forgive.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Co. 3:12-13
6. Remember, they are lost and need rescued.
My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. Jam. 5:19-20
7. The Lord desires their salvation and so should you.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Pet. 3:8-9
Today, please God, put your hand of comfort and your shield of protection on the families that are being ripped apart by addiction. There children weeping for their parents. Husband’s longing for the return of their wife. Mother’s arms yearning to hold their children again. Please God, remove the grip Satan has. He has these addicts in a choke hold through the power of drugs. By whatever means necessary, destroy his power. Redeem the lost and restore the broken families. In Jesus Name. Amen.