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The new year always brings with it a promise of hope – hope for improved health, finances, relationships.  We commit to renewal of some kind, plan our processes and begin to make steps towards the ultimate goal. Sometimes we make it; sometimes we don’t. Knowing where you’re going is the first step to take control of your life, which is important, because if you don’t control your life, someone or something else will.

For persons who are afflicted by substance use disorders, redirecting a life towards sobriety can be extremely difficult.  Living can simply be existing to feed the habit which is in control.  If you are using drugs, including alcohol, you probably aren’t in a place in your life that you would describe as being a very happy one.

Overcoming the damage caused by addiction and living a life free from drugs or alcohol is like climbing a mountain.  Climbing a mountain, as well as overcoming addiction, takes planning, preparation, skill development, practice, hard work, courage and commitment.  However, no mountain is ever climbed, or addiction overcome without taking the first step.  

Substance abuse and addiction can damage family dynamics, erode trust, and weaken communication.  Family members who experience a loved one battling with a substance use disorder (SUD) often endure a host of painful emotions.  Equally frustrating is the hopelessness loved ones feel in response to substance abuse.  Despite seeing a loved one struggle, family members can, and ideally do, play a major role in the treatment process and can help their loved one achieve and maintain sobriety.  The role of family in addiction recovery is large and important.

This year, the NCSA will be focusing on families in our prevention outreach.  Our theme Strong Families: Stronger Nation recognises that the healthy family is the bedrock of national stability.  We pray for all families going through this struggle.  If you have a family member, a close friend, or a loved one struggling with addiction, you may feel there is nothing you can do.  Maybe you attempted to intervene, but your loved one turned away, dismissed, or ignored your goodwill.  Have faith and try not to give up.

We know that God is at work in every heart, whether we can see the results or not.  We trust and believe in His plan.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares, the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:11). When you feel there is nothing you can do, you can pray.  If you are not sure what to pray for your loved one, here is a prayer for loved ones affected by addiction.

Beloved Father, God in Heaven, we praise You. Praise You that we can come to You on bended knee to ask for help. Comfort us in this time of fear and anguish while we must sit on the sidelines and watch our loved one suffer through addiction. Give us the strength to endure as our hearts break, and frustration grows. We feel there is nothing we can do to help, but we can help. We know that whatever we ask in the name of Your Son, You will provide. We know You hear our prayers.  We also believe You are mighty to save and that right now You are fighting for our loved one. You delight in our loved ones and us and sing songs of rejoicing over us all (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV).

Father, we ask You to put the right people in our loved one’s path; people who are compassionate and caring but firm and strong in providing the proper guidance. We ask You to give our loved one the desire to heal over the desire for drugs and alcohol. Give them an appetite for healing and restoration, not darkness and chains. 

Forgive us where we have failed or been selfish in our desire for healing. Forgive us when we are more concerned about the circumstances being comfortable over seeking freedom and healing for our loved one. Addiction is messy and painful, and never easy.  Help us to have the strength to persevere through your power and grace.  We can do all things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).

Thank You, Father, for the grace you have provided.  Thank You for the Spirit that guides us to pray. Thank You for your love, compassion, and kindness lavished on the ones we love and us.

Amen.

National Council on Substance Abuse

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