When Loved Ones Are Addicted: Love Them and Pray for Them

Opioid addiction is one of the topics I addressed in my second book, Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis.

Many of us have friends or family members for whom drug abuse has destroyed marriages, relationships with children, careers and physical health. Addiction to any substance or activity eventually becomes all-consuming and renders the person powerless over its influence. Many addicts are constantly in crisis mode.

The situation becomes extremely stressful for parents who don’t know how to most effectively deal with sons or daughters who are addicted and are almost always irrational and resistant to any attempts by parents to intervene.


The Best Advice I Ever Got About a Loved One’s Addiction

Recently, I met a couple that was struggling to help their adult son overcome an opioid addiction. I shared with them that years ago, I received some extremely wise advice from a businessman, who later became a minister and my spiritual mentor. He told me that in situations like this, “The parents can do two things and only two things for their son: love him and pray for him.”

He emphasized, “Parents shouldn’t judge, argue or get nasty. Parents can’t criticize, condemn or complain. And they should forget the ‘tough love’ thing. Just love your addicted son or daughter and pray for him or her.”

I have learned, in speaking to many parents in this situation, he was right. They repeatedly report that it was only through unconditional love and answered prayer that their sons or daughters ultimately recovered.

Another friend of mine, a psychiatrist who specializes in addictions, agreed with the “love and pray” advice and added that often, the most effective path to change and recovery is through a mother’s unconditional love. He added that sons often feel they can’t live up to the successes and expectations of their fathers, and in those cases, the mother’s love and prayers are compounded in importance and effect.

Turn to God for Strength and Grace

If you or a loved one is experiencing the painful, disruptive, life-threatening crisis of opioid addiction, please consider this advice that turned out to be so helpful to so many families I have known. And turn your cares over to God. He will sustain you and your loved ones during the darkest, most trying times of your lives.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
— Matthew 11:28–30 (NIV)