Loving someone entangled in the web of addiction is heartbreaking. Watching a friend, family member or romantic partner keep choosing alcohol or drugs over their well-being, relationships and responsibilities can leave you feeling helpless, angry and profoundly sad.
Amid this whirlwind of emotions, it’s crucial to know when the most loving act you can offer is to step back and let go, ensuring you’re not inadvertently enabling their destructive behavior. The Bible can be a helpful source of advice, solace and clarity in these tumultuous times.
The Biblical Perspective on Addiction and Letting Go
Addiction isn’t a mere choice or a lack of willpower. It’s a chronic disease that alters brain chemistry, impacting judgment, decision-making and impulse control. While the actions of a loved one with substance use problems may seem inexplicable and devastating to you, it helps to remember they are in thrall to their illness.
Though the Bible does not directly address the disease of addiction, it provides invaluable insights into dependency, personal responsibility and the power of faith.
- On addiction: “For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:7) This verse alludes to the perils of indulgence and the loss of self-control, warning believers about the dangers of excess.
- On letting go and setting boundaries: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Sometimes, distancing yourself is the only way to ensure your loved one’s destructive behaviors do not harm you any further.
- On trusting God: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) In your most desperate moments, when letting go feels unbearable, the Bible reassures you that God is always there to shoulder your burdens.
Setting Boundaries Without Losing Love
Letting go of an addict doesn’t mean you no longer love or care about them. It requires you to take the following steps.
- Recognize your limits: You cannot control or cure your loved one’s addiction. Only they have the power to decide to change.
- Stop enabling: The boundaries you set may include not providing money, refusing to cover for their mistakes or even demanding they move out until they get treatment.
- Prioritize your well-being: Ensure you don’t lose yourself in your efforts to help. Join support groups, seek therapy and lean on your faith community.
- Turn to faith: In your darkest hours, remember that God understands your pain and struggles. Trusting in Him and seeking His guidance can bring solace and clarity.
Christ-Centered Care in California
Loving an addict is challenging, but you can navigate the storm with faith as your compass. Letting go, setting boundaries and seeking God’s guidance may be the wake-up call your loved one needs to confront their illness.
Celebrate Hope is a private recovery retreat in beautiful Orange County, California. It’s the perfect place for Christians to get the addiction treatment they need while strengthening their relationship with God. We understand the intricate dance of love, spirituality and addiction, and we’re here to support you every step of the way with faith-based counseling. Contact us today to experience Christ’s love and redemption.