Substance abuse interferes with every aspect of our lives. It renders us incapable of giving ourselves fully in service to God and others. We must rid ourselves of these spiritual shackles, and we must look for ways to help those we love as well. Do you know someone struggling with substance abuse? Here are some suggested ways to help.
- Pray always for the victim: God is more powerful than any addiction and can break through the severest addiction.
- Share God’s love with your friend. Many people turn to addictive substances to mask emotional or spiritual pain.
The knowledge of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness in Christ can help the believer gain healing in these areas and break one of the driving factors in addiction. These can be achieved through the constant studying of the scriptures together.
- Share your concern with the victim: Tell him or her you’ve noticed that he hasn’t been the same lately and ask if he is struggling with something in his life.
This is a less confrontational approach that might prevent the victim from going immediately on the defensive. If this fails, you may need a more direct approach. Make sure the intervention has recovery in mind and not merely confrontation and accusation.
- Encourage the individual to seek professional help: Addiction is often a very complex illness, requiring doctors, counsellors and support groups. There are many Christian services and support groups that specialize in helping people overcome addictions of all kinds.
- Constantly study the scriptures together and help the victim find alternative activities: the more such individuals meditate on the scriptures, he/she becomes renewed on a daily basis. These can help him break away from friends or places that reinforce his addiction.
- Keep yourself spiritually strong: Walking with someone through an addiction can be extremely demanding. You need to make sure you spend enough time with God and godly Christian friends so you have the spiritual and emotional strength to work with the victim through the long process of recovery.
- Be prepared to release the victim: You are not ultimately responsible for the victim’s recovery. Make sure you point him back to God and other sources of help, and offer to come back alongside your friend if he decides he really wants to be freed from his addiction.
- Never stop praying for the victim, regardless of how your efforts turn out: You may be the best chance the victim has to be set free from something destroying his or her life and hurting many others, including you.