This article was written by Lisa Sitwell and published by Home of Grace
As Christians, part of our calling in life is to help those in need. And if you’re a recovered addict, you are uniquely poised to help those who are suffering from addiction. With compassionate and understanding guidance, many suffering from addiction can be helped on the way to a better life.
Be an Example
One of the best ways you can help someone struggling with addiction is by being a strong example. Even Christ has instructed us to be a good example to others. We must do as he told us through the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV), “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
As a recovered addict, you may not be able to remember what it was like to feel hopeless. Many people who are deep in an addiction can’t imagine getting sober. By living a sober life, you can show those struggling with addiction that it’s possible to have a meaningful life. A person struggling with addiction will be able to see that you have a network of friends, a faith community, and a job and/or hobbies that you enjoy.
Of course, especially if the addicted person you know didn’t know you while you were dealing with an addiction, it’s important that they know your change didn’t happen overnight. Talking honestly about how you overcame your struggles will help them realize a better life is possible.
Overcoming addiction involves healing on physical, mental, and spiritual levels. And while you’re doing your best to support a friend who is working to overcome addiction, there’s plenty you can do to support healing. If you can, offer to take a struggling friend to therapy or addiction support groups. And sometimes, healing relief comes in the form of just having someone to talk to. Be sure that you don’t overly criticize or expect immediate change.
And if you enjoy being a healing force in someone’s life, you may also be able to turn it into something you do full time. If you want to turn this into a career, there are multiple fields of healthcare that allow recovered addicts to serve those who are currently suffering in ways you are uniquely positioned to understand.
Finding a Community of Faith
As a Christian who is also a recovered addict, you also can be a very valuable help to someone in need of a spiritual community. Developing both a connection with God and a connection with a church community can help a struggling addict to develop the support network needed to overcome addiction. Even if the person you’re trying to help isn’t a Christian already, try inviting them to come to church with you one day. Trying to join a church community alone can be daunting, and many people struggling with addiction fear stigma or judgment. And hopefully, once they’ve visited a few times, they’ll want to keep going.
Understand That Recovery Looks Different for Everyone
For some people struggling with addiction, it’s possible to quit for good and never look back. For others, it takes a few relapses before they reach long-term recovery. If the person you’re trying to help has a recovery process that’s different from yours, do your best to remain supportive. It often isn’t easy to discuss a relapse with anyone. Listening supportively and working with the person to develop solutions will help you to earn their trust.
Addiction is a painful struggle that’s misunderstood by many. By being an example in both faith and recovery, you have the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others trying to break free from addiction.