Help for Families of Addicts- Part 4 Effects of drug addiction on family members
Effects on the Parents Marriage
If the addict is your child, this can be very damaging and destructive to your marriage. An addicted child knows who the "softie" is in your home. If the addict is a son, it is generally the mother who is the soft one; if she is a daughter, it usually is the father who is the softer one. That being said, when the father gives up on the son and refuses to bail him out of jail, the mother takes over and believes whatever the child tells her. I have had mothers in this situation tell me, "It is different now. He just needs a little money to tie him over until he gets paid." I’ve also heard, "His friends talked him into it. He did not want to sell the drugs." Another quote I've heard from mothers is, “If we don't give him food, he won't have anything to eat."
Sometimes, when the father resorts to “tough love” and “cuts off” his own son because of addiction, the mother gets angry. She may be feeling enormous guilt over what has happened to her son in the past. She will defend her poor little boy no matter what he does. And again, as I have mentioned, you can reverse the role in regards to the father and daughter. If dad and mom are not careful, the marriage can be fractured. The manipulative child will play one parent against the other. Another tactic the addict will use is when they accuse one parent of abuse and lie about the past to manipulate the sympathetic partner. Trust between spouses is destroyed, communication is broken down, and the child's only hope for the discipline he needs is gone. Counseling for mom and dad is essential. Not only for the survival of their marriage but for the sake of the addicted child.
This is why it is imperative for you to get your addicted loved-one involved in a local chapter of Reformers Unanimous. This is the very best thing you can do not only for the addict, but also for those who love the addict and are affected by his behavior. Go on the website (Reformu.com) and find a chapter close by to you, and then whole-heartedly dive into the program alongside your addicted loved-one. There, again, you will be introduced to the Truth--which is Jesus Christ. You will also be instructed on how to live and walk in the Truth. In doing so you will help yourself, your marriage, and your family. It is the best tool that you can give your loved-one who is in active addiction right now.
Spouses of the Addicted
The situation for the spouse of an addict is a little different than that of parents of an addicted child. Spouses have the additional pain of being rejected and being abandoned by their husband or wife. Even if they don't actually leave you, they are not the same person you married. The grief of watching the man, or woman you love die slowly is indescribable.
You remember the good times you shared together, and the love and joy you shared. You remember the look that was on their face when you got engaged. You see all of these things in your mind's eye, and you just want to die because it hurts so badly. Your addicted spouse gets enraged at little things. They are angry and hostile one minute and happy and loving the next. You never know what to expect. They make promises to do things with you and the kids and then don’t show up. Many will, at times, become violent, and destroy household objects such as the children's toys. In a act of sheer desperation, your addicted spouse may go as far as to tear up the picture your child drew for them. You have been abandoned, abused, rejected, and humiliated. You are grieved at the loss of the relationship that you held with your spouse.
You must realize that you cannot fix your spouse. As much as you love them, you cannot make them go back to what they used to be. You can be there for them if, and when, they finally decide to take action, but until your spouse decides to get help your hands are basically tied. One thing, and the best thing, you can do for you and your children is to get involved in a local chapter of Reformers Unanimous and diligently get to know Jesus Christ and walk with Him. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and your children. The RU program will teach you more about what your addicted spouse is going through and offer you the support that you need. It will provide comfort to you in an otherwise helpless situation. Additionally, if your spouse sees you faithfully attend each week, he or she just may become curious enough to try it out.
No matter how ugly life becomes as a result of your spouses addiction, don't quit praying, and certainly don't quit progressing in the Reformers Unanimous Discipleship Program. As you and your children abide in the love and peace and joy and comfort of the Lord Jesus Christ, your spouse may continue to get worse. Remember though that they must hit rock bottom in order to get better! God is hearing, and He is answering your prayer. He is taking your spouse to a place where there is no where to turn to except the Lord.
Prayer is a powerful tool that God has given His children. God is not standing by helpless. It may not look very pretty and may not be what you expected at all, but God knows exactly what He is doing. God knows how to change a heart, not just the behavior. In order to truly change behavior, there must first be a change of belief in an individual's heart, and the only one that can do that is God.
Your addicted spouse has a choice in how they respond to God's moving in their life. God has chosen to give us all free will. He has so much respect for our free will that He will not force us to respond to Him. The Bible does not clearly tell us how long the prodigal father had to wait for his son to come back home. It might have been days, weeks, months, and even years. As the prodigal's father felt, you too feel helpless and discouraged. You want to do something to fix your spouse. The most powerful thing that you can do, as we have already mentioned, is accept the truth and that is Jesus Christ.
You must abide in Him, walk with Him, and pray to Him. It is easy to get discouraged because sometimes it does not look like anything is happening, but you just keep walking with Jesus and praying. The Holy Spirit is on the job. You can't physically see it, but the Holy Spirit is working. There is eternal stuff going on, and most of it is not visible to our physical eye. You must realize that it takes incredible courage and strength to quit a drug habit. It also takes brutal honesty and a real change of belief in the heart to escape the bondage of drug addiction.
God's Role in Recovery
Your addicted loved-one cannot possibly beat addiction using their strength alone. But Jesus can do it in them. He supplies the strength to become clean and to stay clean. Most drug addicts are very lonely people. They have run everybody off. They really need a friend, somebody who understands them and really cares. They need somebody that sees through the lies and won't play games with them. They need somebody that won't condemn them. In fact, the addict is typically looking for Jesus, but they just don't know it consciously.
Every time you pray and as you walk with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit speaks to your loved one's heart. He speaks peace, mercy, and love. It might happen at two o'clock in the morning while they are sleeping off a buzz in the back seat of someone's car, or it may happen when they hear a familiar Christian hymn. It might happen when a stranger shows them just a glimpse of compassion. Jesus knows when their spirit is open to hearing His soft, loving voice and it is then that the Spirit of God will speak!
His presence is so gentle and so tender that your loved one is drawn to it. Oh yes, they might resist and certainly can. But, His gentle voice, His compassionate invitation is always there. It is like when Lazarus was dead in the tomb, no life, no joy, and no useful purpose in his dead body. It really does remind you of someone living an addictive lifestyle. But, as Jesus called forth to Lazarus to come out of that tomb, He is also calling to your loved one to come out of the tomb of addiction and to experience life in Him.
As your addicted loved-one responds to Jesus, they will then understand that they are not alone. They draw close to His presence. Jesus understands your loved-one. He knows what motivates them and what they are really afraid of. He knows what lies they believe, and He exposes the lie and teaches the Truth. Pray that your loved-one accepts it!
The closer your loved-one gets to Jesus, the more they walk and abide in Jesus—meaning that they become more like Jesus. They slowly take on the character of Jesus. They submit to the Holy Spirit of God instead of submitting to the urges and passions of their drug of choice. They grow in the love of Jesus. They respect and draw strength from Him. They feel loved and valued by Jesus. They heal inside. They don't need the drug to feel good any more. Your addicted loved-one cannot play games with Jesus. If they are honestly trying to stay clean, Jesus will continue to work with them.
The addicted can't have their drug and freedom in Jesus at the same time. Jesus will always hear your loved one's honest cry for help. He won't play games if your loved one chooses the drug, and the drug is what they will get. Jesus is only willing to help those who accept His help by faith. As they experience the presence and power of Jesus, and as they continue in the discipleship program of Reformers Unanimous, I believe they will start valuing the presence of Jesus more than the high of the drug.
Your loved-one will find out that Jesus does not hang out with their drug friends, does not appreciate their lifestyle, and that He finds pornography offensive. Jesus does not mind working with your addictive loved-one when they run into the wall of depression and when they are feeling tired and down. Your loved-one will learn how to pray and work through their frustration and depression instead of drugging them away. Jesus will help them grow. Jesus will help them heal, and this healing is lasting and deep.
Your loved-one will begin to see as they progress through the Reformers Unanimous program, (whether it is at the local chapter or at the homes in Rockford) that they are changing. They will have a calmness and peace that does not need anybody or anything. We find that when Jesus does something, He does it right and complete. Your loved one can't quit on their own strength. They can only quit in the strength of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ living in them. Your loved one will go through agony getting off the drugs. They go through this agony for the sake of the One who went through agony for them on the cross at Calvary.
A few weeks of discomfort is nothing in exchange for what Christ endured for all humanity. The power to overcome addiction is found in one place—Jesus Christ! Your loved-one needs this power, and Reformers Unanimous can give it to them! Won’t you please allow us to introduce you to the help that you and your addicted loved one need?
Helping an addict through recovery can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone we have a variety of options to help you in time in your life. You can browse the resources below or contact us at 815-986-0460 or email us at [email protected]. We are here to help, so don’t go another day without letting us serve you.
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