Tips from a Christian Counselor
Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

PAMSHA-201504-1-3648290798_f3f5d287d2_b-300x245Addiction is such an ugly beast. It destroys. Period. Nothing good can come from addiction, and it is only in recovery that the addict and those involved with him can find any goodness. So, how do you cope with someone who is struggling with addiction? How do you help them?

That is a loaded question. I can imagine that you are awaiting a list of tips on how to help the person in your life who struggles with addiction. I admit that the above title is misleading, because this article is not what you’re expecting. I can’t give you a list of things to do or say in order to help the addict in your life. This is an article to help you, the person who is in a relationship with the addict.

Do Not Lose Yourself in the Battle with Addiction

If you have been struggling for any period of time with trying to help someone who is addicted, you know how debilitating, frustrating, and heartbreaking this is. There is no sugar coating the devastation you feel. You are exasperated, exhausted, and have had enough. Yet you cannot give up on this person you love, because this person has not always been “this way.” You’ve seen the light in them, the love and joy that they bring, and the happiness they can create. You know who they are at their core and you are desperately fighting to recover that person. Wanting the best version of the addict is not a bad thing, and by all means keep fighting for him. But please, please do not lose yourself in his battle. I am afraid that most of the people in this fight lose themselves all too quickly.

PAMSHA-photo-1421809313281-48f03fa45e9f-300x214Are You Contributing to the Addiction?

The best thing you can do for your beloved addict is to take care of yourself. I know that this is so much easier said than done, so hang with me. What does it even mean to take care of yourself? It means that you must realize that you cannot help the addict to recover by entering the battle with him. He is in a battle for his life, and you are in a different battle for you own life, health, and well-being. Negative consequences are the be-all and end-all in addiction. These consequences will ultimately either be the catalyst to sobriety or the cause of an untimely death. Unless addicts face and feel the negative consequences of their addiction, they will not be motivated to stop. Most negative consequences look obvious and include things such as the loss of friends, the loss of a job, arrests, jail time, overdoses, and hospitalization. Often it takes several of these consequences combined, and sometimes repeatedly, in order to shake the life of the addict and propel him into sobriety. As someone who loves an addict, you can choose to either be a part of his addiction or a part of his recovery. You are probably already contributing in one way or another. Unfortunately, most people are more often a part of the addiction than of the recovery and are not even aware of the role that they are playing.

Christian Counseling Can Help You Deal with Addiction

In the coming articles, we will examine the roles that are played in addicted families and the hope for healing in those roles. Ultimately, it is about learning to love the addict well.

“Contemplation,” courtesy of Luke Pamer,; “Serious,” courtesy of Sarah, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)


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