How to Help An AlcoholicQUESTION: Do you have guidance on how to help an alcoholic?ANSWER:
For the past 25 years, Jacqueline has looked for how to help an alcoholic -- her son. She has prayed, took her son to rehab, bought his first AA book, and went to meetings with him. She visited him in the hospital, rehabilitation programs, and detention centers.
The years have come and gone. Jacqueline has reflected on her son’s past many times. She knows alcoholism is destroying many lives today, including her son. What more can she do? What more can she say?
The only way to arrest alcoholism is total abstinence. It’s up to her son to quit for good. Jacqueline can’t blame anyone but her son. There are medications that can help and she hopes he will call a local hospital and ask them for assistance.
She stressed the importance of him stepping out and getting help. Jacqueline knows in her heart it will take God’s power for her son to be totally healed of alcoholism. Jacqueline writes her son encouraging words: “I miss you and wish only the best for you son. I will continue to pray for you, and will always love you.”How to Help an Alcoholic – A Minister’s Prayer
Jacqueline wrote her pastor sharing her heart’s desire for her son. He answered her with the following letter:
I certainly feel for you and your son in his struggle with addiction. I know that you and he are facing a difficult situation.
One of the truths about addiction and recovery is that until an individual makes a heart-felt decision to seek help, there is little anyone else can do.
As much as we would like for your son to walk in the right path and pursue recovery and a right relationship with God, until he realizes his need, any attempts at recovery will probably be fruitless.
Even those forced into recovery groups by the courts have to experience heart change. Unfortunately that heart change often doesn't occur until an addict hits bottom. Some seem to hit "bottom" over and over again, get better for awhile, and then return to their addiction. There has to be a willingness on their part to do an often excruciating self-examination to look at the root causes that led them to addiction. They often deal with symptoms, avoid a crisis, but never make real progress.
No one can fix this for him. Our best hope as ministers of the Gospel is to provide a supportive non-judgmental place for people like your son to come and find others who are willing to walk with him through the recovery process.
It is vitally important for him to make the first step and it is vitally important for parents and friends to realize that no one can fix this for him. In fact, efforts to fix him may prolong the period before he is willing to seek help. A wise pastor once told me that God loves our children even more than we do. God wants to save your son. Once he takes a voluntary step toward God, God will bring His power to bear on your son's situation and become his partner in the recovery process.
I grew up in a pastor's home, went to Bible college right out of high school but then I left the church and ran from God and my calling to ministry for nearly 20 years. My mother and dad continued to pray for me through this period in my life. I struggled with drugs and alcohol, lost my marriage, suffered financial ruin, but God through His grace allowed me to hit bottom. My heart finally was softened and I was willing to seek God. To make a long story short, God has given me a wonderful life, restored my ministry, and redeemed me from an awful pit. I say all this to encourage you not to give up, to keep hoping, and keep praying.