Thoughts for the Alcoholic Family Member
This is a message of encouragement directed to alcoholic family members, parents, children, friends, any who care about someone who has a substance abuse problem, including other substance abusers. In Writing these words I am not pretending to be an authority. I am simply sharing what I have learned and experienced concerning the ravages of the disease of alcoholism, and the blessings brought forth by God.
Drunkenness is a sin, alcoholism is a disease. It is a family disease emotional, physical, and spiritual. It is painful for all it touches, sometimes painful physically, and always emotionally and spiritually. The disease is progressive and, if not treated, ends in insanity and death for the alcoholic.
Children in alcoholic homes learn unhealthy coping methods, which are necessary for them to survive. These ill serving methods of dealing with the relationships, situations, and most of all, of dealing with themselves, are always distorted to some degree. Most of the time the distortion is great and crippling.
The alcoholics family, spouse, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and friends all try to "HELP." However, unless they themselves receive help, knowledge and support, they will sink deeper into despair. They feel hopeless as they realize their behavior, actions (or lack of actions) and words have no effect on the drinking or behavior of their loved one.
When family members come to understand their legitimate, painful, unhealthy, feelings, and are willing to choose a new pattern for themselves, then there springs forth hope for the whole family. The family's addiction to the alcoholic can be broken. The emotional scars can be found, talked about and released to God. Jesus heals and frees family members to be able to choose different responses to the same situations. The deep spiritual wounds can be healed. Being a new creature in Christ Jesus becomes more and more a reality, as we all learn we Can trust God, and obtain rest for our very weary souls.
Many family members are just as good at deceiving themselves as any con artist. They are perhaps better at it than even the alcoholic is. We manipulate, with good motives, but often over-control the actions of those around us. The result is that our families are robbed of honest interaction.
Interactions, such as arguing and confronting one another, are frightening to us because of buried anger that paralyzes us. Family members don't like anger. They don't know how to deal with it. They stuff down their own anger and try desperately to shut it off in all those around them. Though at times much anger is expressed, it is never dealt with, but covered over. Sometimes Christians quote scriptures, such as "Love hardly notices when others do it wrong," and proceed to bury their real feelings. These feelings will not disappear, but will affect them greatly at the most inopportune times, usually directed at those not responsible.
It is no wonder that when we first come to family tables we are exhausted and hurt, yet still ready to expend the last ounce of energy to find a way to help the substance abuser, so that then everything will be alright. We are full of bitterness, pain, sorrow, grief, revenge, and discouragement. All these feelings are destructive to us. We hate to be wrong and have extremely low self esteem. therefore, for these hidden reasons, We do not want to make decisions.
Underneath, our feelings drive us to behave erratically, and we have difficulty thinking rationally. Often we become angry at God. We have done the best we could and it did not make any changes in our loved ones. Our Faith becomes weak, and we begin to feel deep, deep despair.
It is not uncommon for family members, especially spouses, to become so depressed and hopeless that they seriously consider suicide. They are so tired of trying and failing to influence their loved one. They feel unloved, unworthy, and a failure in life. Oh, how they have failed God (God has failed them?).
Praise God! In our brokenness we finally give up, and our precious Lord Jesus can then begin to move. With his loving, tender mercy He binds our wounds and teaches us to depend on him for everything. His grace abounds, for we are able to receive as never before. He does show us a new way that we never knew before. Our Faith grows, because He is our only hope, and he shows us his faithfulness.
The Love of Jesus in the family groups sustains us. When we can't believe, beautiful men and woman who have gone through the same experiences are at our side to pray for us, hold us up and minister to us. Hope and great joy begin to grow in our heart, as God matures us and proves His Word: "For after you have suffered a while he shall establish, strengthen and settle you."
Jesus loves everyone. He feels our pain. He wants to set us free, that we might truly worship Him and heal "Our Land" Our Home and our family, including us.
The people at family tables have experienced His love, faithfulness and power in their lives and are there to encourage others and to continue to grow themselves. We are all living miracles and examples of Gods love. We are certainly not perfected, but we know the source of all love, wisdom and power, Jesus, and can speak to what He has done in us.
This body of Christ is a safe place to rest, be healed, nourished and made whole in Christ Jesus. Your faith will increase, and your hope for your loved ones may be realized. Most of all, you will come to know Him and be able to receive his love for you. You will begin to fulfill His plan for your life.
The first few meetings may be overwhelming - and perhaps scary. It is very normal to feel uncomfortable and Uneasy. However painful the meeting might be, it helps to realize that you have been in great pain for a long time. The uncomfortable feelings that you may have at first will disappear as you experience hope, solutions, and compassion of the the A/C family fellowship. It is appropriate to be discouraged, but stay with us, and you too, will be able to laugh, smile and actually feel joy again.
May you continue to trust Jesus and let Him love you.
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