What advice to give those who love addicts?


I’m working on a project to help those who are loving and living with addicts. As you can imagine, the being the loved one of an addict is difficult. It is like watching a slow-motion crash over and over again, just hoping that it ends differently. It is hoping for change and yet hopeless at the same time. It is a time of confusion and pain. “Should I try ‘tough love’ or should I give her another chance?”

So, if you are in relationship with an addict and looking for more help and a bit of sanity…what would you want to read about? What would be helpful to you?

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9 Comments

Filed under addiction, christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling

9 responses to “What advice to give those who love addicts?

  1. Jennie

    Funny, I just wrote these words to someone regarding a common friend :

    “Yes agreed.  I know if and when he comes to his senses he will call me.  I am so disappointed and feel, in some ways, I failed.  But for all these years I have felt my job was to give him unconditional love, I will continue to do that.”

    Would love thoughts on this feeling of failure to help.

  2. Jennie

    P. S. The title and last paragraph are contrary… Making it unclear if you are looking to address addicts themselves, or those who love them. No need to post this just letting you know you may want to clarify. Thanks :-)

  3. I am new to blogging and am so very excited to ‘accidentally’ come across your site! Particularly the poetry part and the connection via blog to people struggling with addiction/depression etc. Not the very intellectual communication between psychologists but rather the raw, heart stuff. What do I do to become part of the group?

  4. “Should I try ‘tough love’ or should I give her another chance?” The answer changes with the situation. You do both. Getting active in support groups is one way of getting help. Reading about “codependency” would be helpful. Ed Welch’s “When People Are Big and God is Small” would be a start. Counseling/coaching with someone who understands addiction and can help you set good limits and boundaries can be helpful. Pray for ongoing wisdom and discernment.

  5. Marilynn Grimm

    I have just acheived 8 months of sobriety. God told me gently that it was time to quit. I was going to the bottle for a quick fix ratherthan going to him.

    The thing I needed the most were PRACTICAL suggestions SINCERITY and human physical touch. I needed someone to LISTEN. I needed to be touched physically, Avoid suggesting self help formuals eg 10 Ways to Stop Doing Crack !

    Go to lunch or dinner. Go to the bar with them. Try to meet and blend inwith their party friends. If they are secure in your love for them, they may temper their behavior. Go to lunch go to dinner. LIsten, hear and talk.. Find out what interests them besides drugs and alcohol. Go to the Zoo, go to a play, go to a playground. Be available.

    I was begging for help from everywhere. I got a lot of theory, phone numbers, e-mail but not much practical help. People are busy. My AA sponser was too busy for me. She should have said NO and found me someone else. I understand it was a huge committment and she simply did not have the time or energy.

    My husband hid all the alcohol as if I couldn’t go out and buy more.It kept me from going totally berserk. I was stressed ebcasue we were having guests fro dinner. . There were bottles of wine that we were planning to serve to guests who were coming. No way I was going to openone of those. Instead, I drank a shot of 40 proff cookinf vanilla. It did the trick to calm me down. It was my only slip in 8 months.

  6. I needed to read a book like Leslie Vernick’s ‘How To Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong’….’How to Act Right when Your Addict Keeps Using or Relapses…or self destructs before your eyes…..’! I needed something to point me to my own heart. And point me to the sovereign, providence of a God who sees me and knows the tangle of brokenness – my heart and my addicts heart. How does the love of God incarnated in Jesus Christ and his work for me and my addict on the cross make a difference NOW in how I act? How I love, what I desire, how I let him feel the consequences of his actions, how I sleep at night, how I worship, what I do with fear, anxiety, anger, self blame???……
    Ed Welch’s book was mentioned in a comment above – great place to start. I needed help to really listen, rather than being consumed with fear and anger. I would want to know how my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness – how does THAT make a real difference in enabling me to live in coram deo – God’s sight – with real joy and peace, and real love and concern, and real wisdom to choose how to react, proact and love my addict!

  7. I’m not in this situation, but I think if I was I would find it really helpful to learn how to best help someone when they relapse, as in identifying and addressing the trigger/willfulness as well as learning to talk about moving past the relapse and not allowing the relapse to cover up the other work they have already done.

  8. Our Care Group Ministry at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN teaches individuals the Four C’s: They didn’t CAUSE the addiction; they cannot CONTROL the addiction; they cannot CURE the addiction; and only CHRIST can heal the addiction.
    In Christ,
    Rev. Mark Bowman

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