I've had two conversations this weekend where I was asked why people staying in their addiction. Both individuals have never struggled with addiction, they have loved one's who, for one reason or another, continue to go back, even after they "clean up".

So they are wondering what to do. Well, first off, you can't fix anyone. You can't, I'm living proof. I was unfixable, at least in a world view sense. You can reason with an addict, try with all your might to show them the light, but there is only one Light. There is a reason that AA, Celebrate Recovery, Rapha, and recovery programs that utilize a 12 step system have as the first step, realize that I'm powerless over my addiction. But it applies to loved one's too. And I know, that is a hard pill to swallow, because these two people did not want to hear they were powerless. Even less, they didn't want to hear that the only way their loved ones were going to recover was to admit they were powerless and then to trust God that He had the power to help them recover. Because these loved one's had to work those same principles, that they were powerless over the addict, and had to trust that God could help them recover.

The problem is the longer that the addiction is the more shame and guilt there is. I did some very very shameful things (and this is one of those times I choose not to share such things, I usually reserve that for private conversations with addicts I'm trying to help or when I give my testimony to other addicts). Not only that but I had some shameful things happen to me. And when a counselor tells you maybe you asked for it, well, you tend to close up. And to deal with those things we addicts go to our drug of choice. Plus addicts are selfish. I was. Plus, we try to put on a facade that everything is all right (Hence hiding our addiction). We are lousy hide and seekers. Like my friend who struggles with crack. I can tell. Everything is fine he says. Okay, your talking 80 mph and you can't stay still. Hmmm.

So how do you help someone who is an addict? My advise for both individuals was take care of themselves first, and give it to God. Get counseling if you need it, go to God, seek out a group (whether church or recovery), and get with some people who you can share your struggles with. Wait, they say, I'm not the addict. No, I realize that, but addiction doesn't just effect the individual it affects those around them as well. You don't cut off yourself completely, you love the person, but you do it at a distance. Be there for them so that if they do go into recovery you can support them. But trust takes time to develop back. I can't tell you how good it felt when I went to my Mom and Dad's house and could be left alone in there. When I came to Tyler and stayed at a ministry (for 3 years) I'd call my Mom and Dad every week to check in. Again, it felt so good when I was told, you don't have to call to check in, just call when you can because we know God has changed you.

If by helping them get on their feet it clicks and they do well that is one thing. I've seen that happen, where the addict doesn't abuse the help given them and they live productively. Those are the blessed one's. For me, I had to have all options removed so that I had to trust God completely. It was when I was put in that position I had a choice. I could stay addicted (and some do take this choice) or I could rely on God DAILY and follow His path. I had to make my own decisions, I had to make some tough choices, I had to work at jobs I didn't really want to, but God guided me every step. I had to really look at what I'd done, with a sponsor, and start dealing with the shame and guilt. I had to learn that when life gives you problems my first choice is to run to God, not the bottle. And these loved ones, well, they have to learn that lesson as well. Because every recovering addict I know, every one, that is in long term recovery walks with God. Not perfectly. And every one that I know has some kind of support group where they can be themselves. Sometimes life is hard. And you have to be able to have people you can go to and say life truly stinks, can I just vent. I've already written about how I stay clean and sober and these are just some more thoughts along that line.

Something else I told them, there is hope. 3 days till my 8th "birthday" and I am truly excited. It is a big deal to addicts. It may not seem like it to those never addicted, but each day an addict stays clean, each year that comes around, is a victory of unimaginable magnitude.

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