It is probably safe to say that most people in America know someone that struggles with addiction, or God forbid, someone who has passed away from the tormenting chaos that prolonged addiction brings.
I am no stranger to the insanity of addiction myself. I was in and out of hospitals, jails, and rehabs for 13 years of my life. Choosing a life of addiction put me in the middle of a death-filled reality as I watched as over 30 of my friends or others I knew died from an overdose, suicide, or freak accidents. By the grace of God I lived. I am now almost 10 years clean and sober.
This life of freedom has inspired me to help others break free from the dark cloud of addiction. The entire time I’ve been walking in freedom I’ve done what I can with my second chance to help as many as I can break free too. Having gone through it myself, coupled with years of life coaching and recovery coaching, mixed with endless conversations with loved ones of those struggling have allowed me to experience and see first hand the problems and countless questions surrounding addiction. Loved ones asking me, “I don’t know what to do, or how to do it…”
I understand, but don’t lose hope. I was as lost and hopeless as anyone and now I live on the opposite end of the spectrum with a goal to help others do the same. Here are a few practical tips I have lived by while working to help others break free from the death grip of addiction.
Sounds too simple, right? And most people would say, “I have done that, nothing is changing.”
The biggest hindrance I see with people losing hope in regards to praying for their loved ones is that they are praying in fear, not faith. You see, fear is a form of faith. It is faith in the wrong thing happening. Effective prayers come from believing that God wants to answer your prayers. Pray to know, not to guess, that God wants your loved free.
Praying from a place of begging in fear reveals more faith in the plan addiction has for a loved one, rather God’s plan for your loved one. Pray from faith, and believe God wants your loved one free even more than you do.
An easy way to prolong the much-needed freedom is to remind the person struggling of who they are not. They may be acting and living in addiction, but that is not their true identity. There is a big difference between what is true, and truth. It may be true they are caught in addiction, but the truth is that freedom is their real identity.
Let’s not pretend the problem doesn’t exist, but addiction is not who they are. Freedom is who they truly are. Encouraging them in their true identity rather than discouraging them in their wrong identity yields much better results.
3- Knowing when to say “no”
It is hard, I speak from first-hand experience. But enabling a pattern of chaotic addiction is not love. Love knows when to say no. A person struggling with addiction needs to know that at some point their choices and actions are not OK. If that means letting them stay in jail, cutting them off from money, kicking them out of the house, or a long list of other situations, then that’s what it takes.
I’m no stranger to both sides of this. I also understand it’s not always black and white, and a lot of grey area tends to surface, but healthy boundaries keep you safe and show them there are consequences for their actions.
4- It’s about Hope
The world has dwindled hope down to hollow wishful thinking. Hope is not wishful thinking, hope is knowing that what your believing for is going to happen especially when you’ve yet to see it. It is easy to have faith in what you can already see. Faith fuels hope when you’ve yet to see the results you’ve been praying for.
Share stories of hope. Remind them of their dreams. Show them they are loved.
5- Surround yourself with encouraging faith-filled people
In times of struggle, it is important to keep conversations geared toward hope, geared toward believing the best and geared toward faith in a radical turn around. It’s hard to keep your faith high when you're conversing with negative people. Find people that will pray with you, believe with you, and remind you what is possible.
Now is a good time to remember Ohio’s state motto, “With God all things are possible.”
Keep hoping! Keep believing!