Thursday, September 5, 2019

My Child is an Addict. What do I do?

The other night we watched a movie called Victor. 

It was the story of a real person, Victor Torres, now the pastor of New Life Outreach Church, in Richmond, Virginia, and the husband of Carmen.

He was not always so successful and admirable.

Victor's testimony, revealed in the movie, is that as a teenager from Puerto Rico, his parents brought him and his brother to Brooklyn for a better life, but suffered much poverty instead.

Victor got caught up in teenage gangs, drug use, and then drug dealing as a way of having money and the good life. Instead of the good life, however, he became increasingly addicted and sick with heroin dependency. Seeing him as a lost heroin addict, his parents desperately tried everything with nothing setting Victor free.

Finally they took him to a faith based recovery ministry and there Victor surrendered his life to Christ and got free of drugs. Today he is the pastor of a church and continues to minister to and help young addicts.

This is a wonderful story of being set free and blooming in life after drug use. Every parent caught up in the nightmare of a teenager or adult child being addicted would want to know there is hope for their child and their family.

Consider Faith Based Recovery 

Victor's desperate parents got him into some different programs, yet his behavior remained the same, even worsened.

It was when they brought him to a pastor and he entered a faith based recovery program, that he surrendered his life to God and began to get, not just clean, but truly right in his thinking and behavior.

The mistake that is too often made is seeing this addiction problem as being simply medical and/or psychological. It is primarily a spiritual problem - a distortion of a human heart, the feeding of one's basic needs with "false food."

Yes, it does become a physical and neurological problem. Yes, counseling helps.
But, seeking God is a wonderful route for transformation.

Some Tips for Parents of Addicts

I read a helpful article for mothers of adult addicts written on the Psychology Today blog by Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D. which can be found here. It is from 2014, but still very timely.

She said, "we all make mistakes as parents." And, when dealing with a son or daughter who is an adult addict, "they have all the power they need in their lives to make smart decisions."

You can read the full article by clicking the link above. She has some wonderful insights for setting boundaries for yourself and about not taking everything on yourself as if you are the sole culprit in your child's choices. Her article is entitled "Seven Tips for Mothers of Addicts."

She talks about helping addicted sons and daughters find resources but says to recognize that they might not follow through. She talks about helping somewhat with their needs as in a bag of groceries, but not putting money in their hands to be spent on drugs. All these tips are about loving but not enabling. And how important it is for a parent to get their own support as their emotions take a toll while they anguish over a child's addiction.

I hope some of the tips from Suzanne Degges-White will help you. I pray your family will find freedom from this addiction scourge. In the meantime, here is a prayer for you to pray for your needs as the parent of an addict.

A Prayer for the Parents of Addicts 

Thank You that my heartache is not unnoticed by You. You love my child even more than I do so You are deeply concerned about the struggle they are in.

And Father, I know You love me. You do not blame me. You have not turned Your back on me. You know the ways that I parented well. You know the mistakes I made. I ask Your forgiveness for those mistakes. Forgive us, Father, for those times when our home and family are in turmoil and we fail to trust You. Help me now, Lord, in this present time to act in a way that will help my child towards a sober and a good life.

Father, help my child to seek help and true change. Help them to hunger for You and for freedom. Bring able and loving people into their path who can help and be a marvelous example to them. Keep my child safe - there is so much danger in this - until the breakthrough where they desire sobriety for themselves and fight for it by themselves.

Thank You, Father, You are good and You are all powerful. I know You desire this healing even more than me and have the power to make it happen. I trust You now and cast all my cares on You because You love me.

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