ADDICTION IN THE FAMILY: You didn't cause it! You can't control it! You can't cure it!

Note the date on this early blog.  Today I'm in a very different place.  I still grieve for the loss of a husband via addiction.  This could be a spouse, friend or a child; what we suffer because we love is what we cannot, as human beings, escape.  The key for me was to disengage in love.  A practice I had to learn and needed help with. CS Lewis wrote: "There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every second is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan."  Even as you disengage emotionally and perhaps physically... Engage fully in intercessory prayer.  Now begins this blog written in 2010.  I value your comments and the emails I receive.  Feel free to communicate. 

I know I'm not the only person who has experienced addiction in a loved one. And there is no point in moralizing. Alcoholism is clearly a disease, both progressive and chronic and most addicts today (perhaps always) are dual addicted.  

As I walk through this I have to go back to the first step in Al-Anon. I'm powerless over this disease. I didn't cause it, can't control it, and can't cure it.  I must often remind myself of this.  As I bargain with God for the man I love, as I pour out my hopes and petitions to Heaven - I must be reminded that I am essentially powerless.  It's true.  I didn't cause it.  I can't control it.  I can't cure it.      

These are the three 'c's' that are often quoted. But there is another 'c' word which I often stop to ponder. I can contribute to the dysfunction through my own behavior.   Though I may label my actions "helping" and "loving" they are not.  The accurate buzz word is, to enable; enabling and making possible this horrible disease of addiction.  When I contribute to the problem in any way I must lay rationalization aside and take a hard look at myself. 

Lately, as I've gone through this heart break, yet again, an insidious voice has whispered... as distinctive as the whisper hit of pine needles tossed in a harsh wind against the window pane, "Give up the blog, give up the book and I'll give him back to you." Satan lies. The truth is that in attempting to control another person we play God. This person is not "mine" and never has been.  At such a time of grief and heartbreak not every voice we hear in our heads is ours.  To discern the difference pray and ask Jesus Christ for clarity.  Read His word and let scripture speak to your heart.  Discern the difference between what you may be saying to yourself, what the enemy whispers, and then the healing and wisdom of the one true God that is always and eternally with us; never leaves or forsakes us. 

At times we may feel weak and we give in to the demands of the addict.  Perhaps this is more often the case when that addict is a son or daughter.  Love means we don't do what is easy or in the moment.  We set boundaries and decide we will not contribute one dollar one instrument or means of access.  We need help to take this stand.  I found that help in Al-anon, and read the Big Book cover to cover where I saw the addiction in more of a medical-disease model.  This helped me to understand his choices in a way that removed me from the picture.  I could have compassion even as I made decisions about the role I would play.   The resolve to do what was right.  Not easy, but right.  My motivation was the love I felt for him and will always feel; wanting the very best outcome of spiritual and physical healing.     

Who but our Creator can handle such a responsibility and still love? I couldn't.  I am powerless.  In the throes of compulsion, in the pursuit of death via drug addiction and the demonic baggage this  addict carries with him each time he walks through the door...  I must erect boundaries and coverings of prayer.  Fact is, he must no longer walk through that door.  When I think of this, I feel a wrenching pain for the sober man he was and can be again.  For my beloved husband, the honorable person who fought for sobriety and stayed sober for thirteen years.  I realize now that he stayed sober, but he did not have recovery.  He thought he didn't need meetings and the fellowship of others who had walked that path.  

I hear from others, "addicts relapse" and I tell God, why this man?  Why did he fall back into such bondage?  But there were reasons and choices.  There will be a future time when I no longer feel this grief and beat myself up with these questions in the same way.  This is the hope I have as I walk through my own path of separating myself from what is unhealthy.   

It is in God's power to stop the progression and interrupt the process; but often God chooses the path that stands on the dignity of choice as an addict decides for himself; even to death.  And at that point, when an addict cannot think for himself, can not make the right decisions I'm trusting the Holy Spirit of God, whom I know lives within.  What we hope for are circumstances that force the addict to face their disease and heal.  This is deciding for life over death; letting go and letting God.  What I hope for is a miracle.  Right now he could come back, but I would not have him back.  I couldn't be true to my faith and connect myself with what he carries with him.  And for some reason, our home is the place of safety that leads to relapse.  It's the pattern I cannot ignore; the whole confluence of what enables the addiction. 

I have two sponsors (friends) who keep me grounded.  I didn't meet them at church, but at Al-anon and through AA. We can't go through this alone and choosing new friends who have been there and walked this path; clawed and struggled to walk out the wisdom that allowed them to disengage in love as they learn new tools...  This is important.  (do this for yourself)  For one of these women God restored a marriage and gave the grace of sobriety.  In my other friend a son was restored and a family healed.  Why not this man whom I love?  In talking to Marj and Salona who understand both sides of this issue they said, "He'll either come to his senses or he'll die in his disease.  That's how it works."  A harsh reality I have no control over.  God gives us free will, and that will... that gift to decide for oneself, is not mine to manipulate.  And yet, I long and pray that he would take that one, first step whatever that is for him.  

Trying to control others is sin and means that we place God one step beneath our own self centered will.  Marj said, "Even if he comes back he won't be the same person."  I would hope and pray he would be a better person.  Truth is what I need right now.  I need to hear the words that sometimes seem harsh and uninspired.  

Even as I pray for the miracle of freedom from such a vicious and demeaning, life consuming obsession to which my loved one is physically, psychologically, and spiritually in-thrall I'm heartbroken.  I take small steps to disengage my emotions so that my expectations are rational and reasonable.  This allows me to function in hope.  Addicts in the mire of addiction, whatever that is, cannot and do not love.  But still I'm heartbroken, still I'm sad, and still I struggle with the why of how I landed where I am.  My part to consider. 

After you read this blog here is another that may be of interest:
One might think that at the moment I'm NO WHERE. I choose to reject that lie and rearrange the spacing in these two little words.  The fact is, I'm NOW HERE. Awaiting the potential of God's love and light to be realized in dark and painful circumstances.  Your thoughts... I welcome hearing them. 

Right now... I choose to keep life simple.  I make a cup of tea and watch the sun set beneath the tops of the pine trees.  I join my friends for cards tearing myself away from the phone.  I go to Al-anon meetings.  I call my two dear sponsors in Al-anon for frequent reality checks.  I don't respond to every invited crisis or negative words from well-meaning people who haven't walked this walk.  I go to church and I pray; not being too prideful to ask prayer from safe people. I work though I'm not in the mood to sit at the computer and write the next paragraph.  At times the panic, the frantic worry will swamp me.  I wake up in the night with the space beside me empty and cold.  Like a runaway train my emotions will be hostage to fear.  I'm learning to reject this fear.  I'm not there yet, but I'm learning.       
Now that I've set a few boundaries with my loved one (takes courage) I'm learning to set some for myself.  I don't always succeed, but I stop and think...  I can decide not to put more on myself than I know I can handle in the moment.  And if you are going through something similar start at this simple place.  Believe these words.  You didn't cause it!  You can't control it!  You can't cure it!  Let go and let God.    He has told you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6: 8). 

I   would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage.  Yes, wait for the Lord (Psalm 27: 13, 14).
A book I wrote - released May 2013 may be helpful.
Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice

Order new edition of the paperback $16.95

Also for download on Kindle and Nook! $2.99

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The Sequel to Wood's End


September 2014 


  1. You ask why you are back in your circumstances,
    only God knows for sure, If we trust the Lord , we must believe , it is of his hand your are there.

    But just to ponder, I wonder, if your spirit became so familiar with these circumstances in your life,
    and maybe before God's healing , you were not able to recognize the signs, that told you not to go there. Your head could not know yet what your spirit knew. If I had known you before you got where you are , and if I were wise enough , I would have helped you see and told you not to go there, but now knowing where you are , not that I want to see you suffer , but I am almost glad you are there, I am not sure how to explain it,
    but my hope is that it is a calling upon your life and your God has a plan here.
    I admire the way you have encouraged yourself ,
    and all you have said is true, this is not your fault . I don't know how much further you can go on here, but I am believing God for miracles.


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