HOW TO DEAL WITH A PARENT, SPOUSE, TEENAGER OR GROWN CHILD, WHO IS ADDICTED TO DESTRUCTION AND PEOPLE OF DESTRUCTION
Much was done to assist alcohol, drug, gambling, fortification, and other addicts, while the trauma of their victims, who usually battle the sorrow and disruption of addicts alone, are often overlooked. Generally, victims make excuses to protect their abusers. They quietly endure the horrible shades of maltreatment; hide behind ‘unconditional’ love’ or continue in denial, but eventually they will either sink, or seek help to cope with their suffering. And so-called ‘deliverance ministries’ and psychologists cannot help. If you know what they really teach and do, you will flee to Jesus Himself and the truth of His Word with all your might. He is the Only One Who can help.
Most victims of addicts struggle to understand where they went wrong. Why could they never love, give, compromise, hold on, struggle, plead, confront, or pray enough? If only they paid more attention, did not divorce, was not so strict or so lenient… Why doesn’t God answer after so many sleepless nights, tears, fears, and prayers?
Victims usually think, if only the booze, drugs, gambling or fornication can go, everything would be fine. Most addicts have such “good” hearts; it’s not their fault. Alcoholism, drug, sex and other addictions are ‘inherited illnesses.’ Addicts were abused as kids; were shaken from God by false Christians; dragged into addiction by parents, family, friends, spouses... Victims passionately hate the booze, drugs, casinos, sexually immoral women or men, bad friends…
Then, by His grace, as levels of abuse keep piling on top of one another, God answers. As always, He speaks through the contextual truth of His Word and reveals the truth of all circumstances, as we must “know the truth, [for only the truth] will set us free,” (Jn. 8:32.) It is through “all truth” that God peels off deception from the tear stained eyes of victims so they can see the whole picture to grow stronger and wiser through it, instead of suffering hopelessly under it. God shows them blame-shifting won’t help. And making unrepentant sin into sickness like physiologists do is downright ungodly ridiculousness. Bottles, drugs, money, sex, bad parents, spouses and friends are not the problem. The addict’s abuse of and therefore addiction to these things and people constitute the problem.
It is by “all truth” that God has delivered millions of addicts, who truly embraced Him and became doers of His Word. “He… desires that everyone should [come to the truth to be saved,] and repent.” (2 Pt. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4.)
This is God’s desire, because nothing but salvation and repentance can deliver humanity from sin, Satan, and addiction. Repentance equals deliverance, and repentance is always a personal choice and the sole responsibility of addicts to help themselves by “coming” to the truth [salvation in Jesus] and “repent.” Prov. 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will find mercy.”
So many addicts were and are delivered in Christ, why do others continue their destruction despite all the support in the world? It’s all about personal character, true commitment, and endurance in Christ. It doesn’t take much to fall into an abyss, but getting out is not that easy. God can pull us out in a moment, but He schools us in His will and builds His righteous, Godly character in us. That is why Jam. 1:8, warns, “A double minded man is unstable in ALL his ways.” There is never just one demon attached to an addiction. They always come in gangs. For example, repeated adultery is supported by lovelessness, disrespect, selfishness, fornication, lies, manipulation, infidelity, violence, and easily ends in murder. Spiritual and emotional instability affect every area of people’s lives – and every area of the lives of their loved ones. The children of addicts always suffer more than anyone else.
Yet, unstable people always have a million excuses why they continue in addiction, just as their victims make a million excuses to help them remain in the sins of their choice, (Rom. 1:32.) To help anyone remain, and thus to deteriorate in sin, supports multi-level danger of everything and everyone involved. This is not Godly love, but hatred for the addict, ourselves, and others we are trying to protect.
Unless the addict takes control of the addiction in the power of the Holy Spirit, it might be ‘remedied’ through so-called ‘therapy,’ but instability will remain. Jesus clarified this problem in Mt. 15:19, “From within the heart… come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…” Gal. 5:19, “The works of the flesh, [not the devil, drugs, or anyone or anything else] are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery [Greek: “pharmakeia or witchcraft through the addiction to and abuse of substances and people,] hatred… [violent] outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions… murders…”
Most victims choose to see only the good side of addicts, who live their double lives to perfection. They believe addiction has only one specific demon attached to it. (They battle only alcohol or drugs or fornication…) But any addiction comes with a multilevel of problems. Most victims never knew (or chose to remain blind to the fact) that their beloved addicts were perpetual liars, master manipulators, unscrupulous users, and masterminds of underhandedness and deception. The main problem with addicts is that they will do anything and use anyone to sustain their habits.
It is difficult and heart-rending for their loved ones to think about them this way. However, unless addicts deal with their double-minded hearts first, (and all those who help them to sustain their habits accept the truth about addiction and refuse to support such destruction,) all the therapy, prayers, and goodness in the world cannot deliver either the addict or the captured victim. Without the decisive choice of addicts to be Scripturally born again and follow Jesus’ true Word, some behaviors might change through ‘therapy,’ but dark hearts will remain to overflow with all the “works of the flesh,” as described in Gal. 5:19, (Jn. 3:16; 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6-7.)
Our prayers and good works are never wasted or ignored, but if addicts trample the blood of Jesus, they will not regard our sacrifices, good works and ‘unconditional’ love. God does not violate the free will of people to accept and follow Him. He does not and will not ‘rapture’ or tear anyone from the earth, the world or sin; He calls true believers to heaven and while living on earth, He sets them free to follow Him through the darkness of this world into eternity, (1 Ths. 4:16-18; Eph. 1:7.)
We All feel frustrated with people at times, but we must 'work' as long a it is day; as long as the Holy Spirit leads. And yes, there comes a time when we must flee so that people do not take our crown. Tough love is not giving up on a soul; it is help of the highest kind: sober and stern where necessary, never self-serving, yet also self-preserving. Tough Love is always the only answer when working with addicts of all sorts. But it is all about the individual, not in general. Think what will happen to us when God says, "I have now had enough of all you Christians who do not heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, transgress My Holy Moral Law of love, and run after false teachers, or keep the false doctrines that suit you while condemning the rest." God is not, (said with great respect to our loving Father,) a sentimental daddy who says He loves us but sees us go astray without warning, disciplining, and intervening. Eventually He will let go if we decidedly persist in sin. But God loves us in deed and truth and this is how we should love. It is not a sentimental love that opens us to manipulation and lies because we are actually co-dependent ourselves and use our love to feed our own emotional and physical needs. God's love is holy and never self serving. Yet we must love ourselves too. We must take care that no one deceives and abuses us as Jesus frequently warned in the Gospels. We must obey the Spirit's Scriptural teachings, and we must use the common sense that God has entrusted to us.
Jesus gave addicts as well as their co-dependent loved ones practical commandments to deal with their terrible, persisting problems. Because a lack of personal responsibility and fear of suffering keep victims in bondage, it’s easier to submit to the destruction of addiction and the abuse of beloved addicts than to stand up and fight all addictions.
Prayer is warfare of the highest kind, but God will not grab cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, the love of money, bad friends, spouses and family from the hands and arms of addicts. Addicts must insistently lie down, renounce and flee from everything that can entice them to remain in, or turn back to addiction. ‘Gradual’ deliverance from addiction while continuing in addiction is a deception. Jesus promised throughout the New Testament Covenant, “In Him we have [present tense] redemption [complete deliverance] though His blood; the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.” Just as Jesus does not save us through gradually by initiations or church sacraments, He does not redeem us while we still hold on to sin.
Heroine and other mind and body destroying addictions can benefit from medical help because withdrawal symptoms can be terrible. However, addicts must drastically break with addiction and it begins and ends with laying it all down in the power of the Holy Spirit, and parting with everything and everyone that can pull them back into addiction. This is why God commanded in 1 Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived [to think you can play with the devil.] Bad company corrupts good habits – [and the intention to keep good habits.]”
Then, that ‘void’ must be filled with Jesus: true repentance; prayer and worship, immersing themselves in the study of His contextual Word; actively building Godly relationships, doing community service, participating in healthy hobbies and activities, etc. Addicts must make drastic lifestyle changes to do restitution, not only to renew their “minds,” (Rom. 12:1-2,) but also their physical lives Day by day they must “crucify the old man (sinful ‘flesh’) so that Christ can live in [a holy temple.] Because the life they now live in the flesh they live by faith [and Moral obedience to] Jesus, Who loved them and gave Himself for them,” God will help and heal addicts who help themselves by His truth and Holy Spirit power; restoring to them sound minds and healthy, undivided “hearts,” (Gal. 2:20; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6-7.)
Victims must also break their co-dependency on abusers in the power of the Holy Spirit and according to His Word. They themselves must end the bondage, which beloved addicts wield over them, (Rom. 1:32.) Those addicted to beloved addicts (and addicts themselves) can therefore only be truly redeemed by “submitting to God and withstanding the devil until he flees,” (Jam. 4:7-8.)
The battle is not just spiritual and emotional, victims and addicts must also be practical. That is why Jesus commanded in Mt. 5:29, "If your eye… hand… foot make you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
Just like with other addictions, God will not pluck out this stumbling ‘eye, hand or foot.’ Victims themselves must “pluck” them out and “throw it from them.” This incredible self-mutilation of gangrenous limbs is what delivers all addicts – both those addicted to “pharmakeia” (addiction) and those addicted to addicts.
However, no addict can be helped by anyone unless the addict reaches an all-time low. As long as addicts can have their spouses, families, and whatever they want, they never have to choose between addiction and redemption in Christ. Similarly, as long as beloved-addicted victims have their abusers, they will not choose freedom in Christ. Hard as it seems, the only real way out of addiction for both addicts and their victims, is straight, narrow and difficult.
For victims addicted to their beloved addicts, “plucking out that eye” begins by getting rid of the guilt on which addicts always play, by sincerely confessing all personal wrongdoing to the addict and asking forgiveness, (1 Jn. 1:8-9.) Regardless of the reaction, victims must then proceed by standing their ground. Say “No” from now on. This is what is called “tough love.” Tough love for our beloved addicts and tough love for ourselves. No more money; no more help to carry on the addiction – no more crying, pleading, sleepless nights; no more nothing except prayer and faith in Jesus.
Tell the beloved addict, “I love you but I hate your destructive sin and will not have any more of it. I will do everything in my power to help you, help yourself, to get out of this terrible mess. But I will in no way support your addiction ever again, because you are destroying yourself; even your eternal life in heaven, me, your kids… If you reject me for really helping you, God will give me the grace to stop mourning and keep on praying for you. I know I might lose you forever and you may choose to completely destroy yourself without my help, but you are not taking me (or your children) with you. If you assault and harass me, I will call the police and have you locked up. If you abuse and neglect your children, I will call Social Services and let them be taken away. You have to choose to join a Rehab Centre, get clean, get a job, and follow Jesus for the rest of your life, or eventually live on the streets.”
Tough love and tough decisions are for tough people. We must love God above all else and our neighbors (or beloved addicts) as [not more than] ourselves. We are not saviors and redeemers of some kind. We are merely God’s instruments of light, Godly love in righteousness, truth, and Scriptural salvation, redemption, blessing and healing. Jesus warned in Mt. 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its [cleansing, preserving] flavor… it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Still wonder why addicts and other abusers ‘trample’ their victims underfoot and even murder them not only spiritually and emotionally, but even physically?
Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He wants us to realize that nothing and no one on earth is worth losing our eternal life with Him in heaven. That is why Jesus said in Rev. 3:11, "I am coming quickly... Hold fast to what you have, so that no one will take your crown ..." If we remain at His feet, no one has any power over us except that which Jesus allows them from above. If God is for me, of whom shall I be afraid?
A personal note to all those who suffer the abuse of their loved ones
My dear friends who suffer the abuse of addicts,
If only I could say it kinder; say that your trouble and sorrow will end in a moment...
It could, if addicts surrender to Jesus right now - but we cannot make them choose. I love you too much not to tell you the whole truth. This is my experience from working with addicts nearly all my life. We will not and cannot change 'double mindedness.' Not even God does that. The double minded person must take control of everything.
We can and must pray and God will help, convince, and assist, but He is the loving Father Who will not force heaven on anyone. And so, He will not make them bow down now. Believe me, I grieve with you and pray with you because I know how hard this message really is. But Jesus thinks enough of all those who suffer to allow such terrible afflictions, because His strength and comfort are endless, and He will always be there through it all! We must just take up our cross daily and follow Him to the end. As we begin to walk carrying our cross each day, He takes every step with us, because He promises that our burden, once really surrendered to Him, will be light.
Love in Christ,