How to Help an Addict Without Enabling Them

Effective Way of Helping an Addict

Friends and family members have to walk a fine line when trying to offer assistance to an addict. Of course, it’s natural to want to help someone you love when you see them suffering. However, recovery efforts are only as successful as the addict’s commitment to them. Because of this truth about recovery, there are good and bad ways that others can lend support to addicts. Be careful not to cross the line over into enabling their addiction. While recovery efforts can be costly, it is important to make sure that any money you give an addict is not just a way for him or her to buy more drugs or alcohol.

AddictIf the addict was only tapering down consumption because he or she could not afford any more of the substance, then your charity might be used to rekindle the addiction rather than seek a long-term treatment option. If an addict tells you that he or she needs money for treatment, you should ask to pay the treatment center directly.

Many addicts alienate their friends and family by being emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. One of the ways that emotionally toxic relationships develop is that the addict keeps promising over and over to clean up his or her life. In order to avoid this cycle, the friend or family member needs to set clear boundaries and stick to them. Let the addict knows that you won’t tolerate if he/she keeps using.

Tough Love:  The Best Way to Help an Addict

The addict needs to know that there are consequences for his or her behavior. They also need to feel like they have a purpose in life. Let them do the things that they need to do to survive. Otherwise, he/she will not realize how badly the substance is that keeps them from living a normal life. For example, don’t pick up added responsibilities around the house or make excuses for the addict at his/her work place. Sometimes the only road to recovery is to hit rock bottom. If you keep giving the addict a safe cushion to fall on, he or she will never wake up to the realization that drugs or alcohol have ruined their relationships and their lives.  You can’t sugar coat the situation—sometimes the best way to teach someone is to let them fail. Failure is often a better teacher than success.

You have to faced numerous realities about loving an addict. First, you have to give up trying to control the outcome of the situation. It doesn’t matter how much you want your loved one to get help, he or she has to want it. Second, you have to understand that you cannot change the addict. Only he or she has the power to beat addiction. By doing some work on yourself and learning to love while at the same time letting go, you will have a better relationship with an addict.

Friends and family members want to help and they want to show how much they care. But the best way to help an addict is with tough love.

Can You Get Sober with the Help of God?

Getting Sober: Religious and Spiritual Approach

Addicts need all the help they can get in order to successfully get sober. Many may find the support they need by turning to faith-based groups. These groups often view recovery not as a matter of chemical dependency but as a matter of moral sinfulness. They see substance abuse as a ”vice,” whereas the medical community views it as a matter of brain chemistry and chemical dependency. Recommended treatments from faith-based groups will involve bettering your relationship with Jesus. Not all Christian groups have the same relationship to alcohol, however. Catholics, for instance, often drink wine as part of their celebration of mass. Some branches of Protestant faith, however, often avoid any drink in their celebration the Eucharist or they substitute grape juice.

Most time-tested 12-step recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, reference God frequently in their meetings and philosophy. It’s possible for an atheist or non-Christian to participate in these programs, but it will require some creative thinking. These approaches has been successful in large part because of the way they tackle addiction from a multi-pronged standpoint, as a disorder of mind, body, and soul.

Determine the Cause of Addiction

Getting SoberThere are also special faith-based treatment centers that help addicts getting sober and rebuild their relationship with God and with their Christian community. They seek to replace the addictive behaviors with prayer and meditation. Many people who choose this particular recovery approach became addicts because they experiences a loss of faith. If you turn to substance abuse because you have begun to question God’s benevolence in the face of losses you have suffered, then to undo your addiction, you might seek a faith-based approach. However, if your addiction has nothing to do with a loss of faith in God, then this approach may not work for you. Addicts need to be honest with themselves in many ways. Perhaps, the most important element of truth needed for recovery is seeing the underlying issues that led to addiction.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that God will just magically make your addiction go away. As Christians like to say, “God helps those who help themselves”. Or, as Lao Russell wrote, “God will work with you but not for you”. The reality is that if prayer alone could cure someone from addiction, then there would probably be no more addicts.  Replacing drugs/alcohol with God may have short-term positive benefits, but it doesn’t address the underlying issues of addictive personality. It just redirects the obsession to a more acceptable subject.

Spiritual and Philosophical: Is Alcohol Addiction a Sin?

Is Alcohol Addiction a Sin?

This is a tricky question that carries a lot of moral, spiritual, religious and philosophical weight. First, it’s important to focus on what a “sin” actually means to you. Committing an immoral acts or wrongdoings that are against the divine law are “sins”. Put simply: “It’s something that’s wrong in the eyes of God”. When you admit to committing sin, you’re admitting to misbehaving, going astray, breaking the law or, quite simply, doing wrong. With that in mind, is alcohol addiction the same as breaking a law? Many believe that it is. However, your opinion matters here, too. In many ways, it comes down to why you believe what you believe. Growing up in household with strict rules will have a direct impact on what you feel constitutes “sinful”. After all, your upbringing plays a huge role in conditioning you to believe the things that you do.

Alcohol AddictionOne thing to bear in mind is that there is a huge difference between drinking alcohol and alcohol addiction. If you turn to The Bible for guidance, there are many absolutes on the subject. Interestingly, The Bible itself doesn’t say whether or not it’s a sin to drink to alcohol. It does, however, explicitly state that drunkenness is. In Ephesians 5:18, for example, God commanded all Christians to avoid drunkenness at all costs. Proverbs 23:29-5, 1 Corinthians 6:12, and Peter 2:19, among others, equally condemn the ill effects of drunkenness. Broadly speaking, Scripture doesn’t so much advocate against excessive drinking as it advises Christians to not conduct themselves in ways that would offend others or encourage them to betray their own convictions. That’s why alcoholism falls squarely in the “sin” category. It doesn’t make sense for Christian to drink liquor excessively and worship God with a clear mind and spirit.

The Bible’s Interpretation of Alcohol’s Role in Life

The Bible’s interpretation of alcohol’s role in life is sometimes confusing. It spends a great deal of time illustrating its virtues. Jesus is seen drinking wine (Matthew 26:29, for example), and alcohol is painted in positive ways throughout many books. In Eccelesiastes 9:7, readers are told to “drink your wine with a merry heart” while Psalm 104:14-15 features God has gifted wine on humanity because it “makes glad the heart of man.” Alcoholics, however, are unable to control their drinking, which makes it downright impossible to avoid being “sinful” in the eyes of God.  In the end, many Christians don’t waste time trying to decide whether their drinking qualifies as “moderate” or, in many ways, worth the effort. For them, it’s simplest to avoid drinking altogether so they never run the risk of possibly committing a sin.