Love, Alcoholism, and Christianity
Statistically, a recorded one in every 12 adults struggles with an alcohol use disorder every year. It’s scary to think that almost all Americans have an alcoholic in their lives. Whether it’s a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or a close friend, someone special in your life could be struggling with alcoholism – and you may not even know it.
Having a loved one with a drinking problem is challenging enough, but how do you handle loving an alcoholic, especially as a Christian? After all, the Bible is clear that addiction is considered a sin; multiple verses assert that imbibing isn’t tolerated in the eyes of God. Still, the love you have for others is often stronger than their sins, so how you handle loving an alcoholic can have a drastic effect on both of your lives.
Handling Alcoholism in Your Loved One
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
– 1 Peter4:8
As one of the most prevalent addictions in the United States, alcoholism has consequences that are all too easy to fall victim to. For the many people whose loved ones are struggling with alcoholism, it’s common to make excuses. Even those with Christian principles may turn a blind eye to drunken debauchery if it means protecting their loved one.
Unfortunately, alcoholism doesn’t go away if you ignore it or pretend it isn’t there. Without honest discussion, diagnosis, and proper care, alcoholism can lead to dire and potentially permanent medical consequences— like anemia, heart disease, and cirrhosis. If someone you love is facing an addiction to alcohol, here are some things you can both do to handle the situation before it worsens:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
– Ephesians 4:29
Communication is a significant part of any relationship, including the ones that are built on Christian ideals. If someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to discuss it. It may not be easy, and (s)he may not want to open up about the problem; but the more communicate, the more likely you are to get through to your loved one.
Make it clear that you are willing to not only talk but listen, too. Avoid placing blame and instead be honest about your feelings. Gently address your loved one’s addictive behavior, your concerns about what continued abuse will mean for our loved one’s health, and your fears about the future. Being open and honest may not be enough to inspire any significant change today, but it may encourage your loved one to seek treatment tomorrow.
“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.”
– Psalm 102:17
Once your loved one has decided to reach out for help, one thing you can do together as part of the new healing regimen is pray. Prayer is a central part of life for all Christians, even the ones that are struggling with alcoholism. Although imbibing is a sin, alcoholics and their loved ones aren’t exempt from the power of prayer or the might of God’s love.
So, if you are working through the complications that come with loving an alcoholic while your loved one is working through recovery, prayer and worship are vital to your own recovery. Through prayer, you may find the direction, guidance, and inspiration needed to ensure that you can provide the help that your loved one needs.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
– Proverbs 16:3
Commitment is one of the most influential components of any relationship. A close bond isn’t ruled by convenience; those you love always remain a priority in your life, no matter the sins they have committed. With this in mind, being available as a source of love, stability, and strength will help your loved one through the addiction recovery process.
So, instead of responding to your loved one’s alcoholism with anger or criticism, use the same kindness and sympathy that the Lord would encourage. This alcoholic is someone you love— someone you care for and honor. Like any other loved one, (s)he deserves your support.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
The care and devotion you provide is a source of strength that offers a way to sobriety. Still, when you love an alcoholic, it’s important to stay dedicated and strong without letting your loved one’s journey overpower your own. Supporting an alcoholic in recovery can be an overwhelming experience that shifts your focus away from your own needs— especially when times are tough.
To avoid losing yourself in your loved one’s recovery, take time to yourself. Do the things you love, like reading, writing, running, or just watching television. By practicing self-care, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
If You Love an Alcoholic, Road to Freedom Can Help
In all cases of addiction, forming a plan and finding the right path forward is essential for achieving lifelong sobriety. Without a solid recovery plan, your loved one’s alcoholism will only get worse. While there is much you can provide in your loved one’s recovery from alcoholism, professional services like detox, therapy and medical treatment are just as much a critical part of getting well. Without these types of programs, your loved one may not recover.
At Road to Freedom, our team of experienced professionals is here to help. As a faith-based treatment center, we promote customized care. Everything from medically-supervised detox to group and individual counseling is tailored to our individual patients’ needs. If you’d like to speak with an addiction counselor for more information about our programs and services regarding alcoholism, contact us today at (844) 402-3605. All calls are confidential.