Trying to understand addiction can be tricky. It is hard to understand why someone who watches their life fall apart does not simply just quit. Imagine that you are on a diet. This is serious now. You have some serious health issues and the doctors have told you that if you do not lose a certain amount of weight you are going to have serious trouble. With much research you change your whole lifestyle to include healthy eating and exercise. Great job! Then you are walking down the street and there is a bakery there that at one time you frequented often. You smell the donuts and see the pies in the window. Old friends are in there enjoying their treats. They look so happy. My friend, that is what addiction is like. Even after many years of working to make a new lifestyle, it will still call out to them like a fresh donut calls out to the person on a diet.
As you prepare to begin this mission know that there are some snares. It is my hope to train you today to work around these snares and then warn others behind you so that they don’t get tripped up.
The first snare: denial. Likely if you are reading this book you have moved past the denial. Your son or daughter is addicted to some drug or alcohol or unhealthy relationships or whatever life controlling deal they have going on. Once I heard a mother talk about the fact that when her son was young and really pretty early in his addiction she believed her son when he told her that he did not do drugs. She found drugs in his room. He told her that he was just holding it for a friend. She believed him. You have been lied to long enough. If you are angry, be angry enough to push through the fear that now sits on your chest and makes this whole thing hard to breathe. The anger must become focused though. Do not be angry because he or she lied to you. There is a statement that I often hear around recovery circles that tells you how to know when an addict is lying. The answer is really simple, their lips are moving. They will lie about anything and everything. Do not be mad about that. Be mad at the enemy who has lured in and captured your loved one. The enemy hates them and wants to destroy their lives. Ultimately the enemy will turn on you as you come to set them free. Turn your anger into heart felt prayers for your mom or dad. Cry out with passion to the King of kings to set them free. Take courage in the fact that He will set them free. He is on your side. But you must quit denying that this person is addicted. Denial will not help them. You know deep in your heart that it is true. Face the truth.
The second snare: the blame game. Naturally, you will look for reasons why this person is addicted. If you had just … fill in the blank… they would not be addicted today. If you had noticed earlier, if you had been softer or harder than maybe the addiction would not have captured them. The truth behind the blame game is that it does not help anything. Every parent thinks of things that if given the chance they would have done different in the raising of their kids. This thinking helps nothing. Unless you are the one that is lighting the joint or sticking the needle into their arms than you are not responsible for their addiction. They are making their own choices. Now let me point out that if you did buy them their first drink, or joint or you did stick a needle in their arm than you have played a role in their addiction. But continuing to blame yourself will not help. If you did those things; repent of those choices and move on. If you are in your own addiction; then you need to get to recovery as soon as possible. Most communities have free treatment centers that are connected to rescue shelters. Check in and get clean. Your new life will do more to set people free than anything else that you can do. You cannot honestly expect to help your loved one trapped in addiction if you are still drinking and drugging. People will always follow actions before they follow words.
But if you are the average family and friend than you have done the best that you could and you should not join in the blame game. The person trapped in addiction is looking for someone or something to blame. Until they take responsibility they cannot get better. You must not enter into the blame game. It is not your fault. They will give you examples and will direct anger toward you. That is normal. It will hurt. You will likely even agree with their assessment in some cases.
Snare number 3: Denying the work of the enemy.
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10a
It is here that I want to share that even though I had been a believer, I did not fully believe in Satan. Sure my mind agreed that he was real because I saw references to him in the Bible. But it was not until I started hanging out with the addicted that I saw how clearly he works today. The words spoken by this person that you love are very well aimed. Often they hit their mark and the pain is unbelievable. Where did they get such aim? The enemy has been watching you, he knows you. Recognize that truth. Also know that he has no real power over you.
Just a few facts
- Not everyone trapped in addiction looks like an addict
- Substituting addictions is common. (Switching to sugar/ caffeine or sex instead of hard drugs)
- The goal needs to be redemption and healing not just recovery
- Tobacco is the gateway drug. Very few men and women trapped in addiction do not smoke.
- The media in nearly every form will glorify drug and alcohol use.