ANON (Those Who Love Dysfunctional People)

How Can You Help Someone Who Needs You?

How can you help someone who needs you?

A while back I was asked to do a workshop for folks who are working in difficult areas of ministries. Since I’m a wheelchair user, I was supposed to offer a seated perspective of things people have done that have been helpful and some that haven’t.

At the start of a new year I thought the list might be useful. These are some ideas. Hopefully you’ll help me with something I’ve missed.

Show up. I seem to always need help at inconvenient times, and I’m grateful for friends who show up even when they’d rather be somewhere else. There’s a difference between Signing Up And Showing Up.

It’s easy to say, “Call me if there’s anything I can do.” It’s hard to ask for help. The real heroes are the folks who show up.

Five Ways to Help an Alcoholic, Addict or Dysfunctional Person

1. Prayer
Since the alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person cannot be helped until he or she wants help, it is necessary that we begin to pray for them, asking that God will bring them to that place that he/she will seek help. Do not be discouraged. Things might get worse before they get better; but remember, God answers prayer.

2. Offer the Gospel
In Romans 1:16 we read, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth."

So often, we tend to try everything but the power of God in helping the addicted or dysfunctional person. Now it is true that he may always need medical help, possibly psychiatric help, and the help of a counselor may be profitable; but without the power of Christ working in the life of this individual, nothing will be of lasting value. Witness to him or her of your own faith in Christ and through your church, putting them in contact with others who have a vital testimony to the power of God to change lives.

Good Christian literature will also be a help in getting this message across and we would be glad to make suggestions as to what books he might find profitable.

3. Fellowship
One of the strongest points of recovery groups is the fellowship that they have one with the other. It is necessary that when an alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person makes a step toward recovery that we be willing to offer them fellowship, to make them feel welcome, to make them feel needed and to encourage them to share with others. This could be done through CIR or through the fellowwship of a church or a Christian businessmen's committee such as a Gideon Camp.

I Am an Alcoholic. I Need Help

An Open Letter to My Family
I am an alcoholic. I need help.

Dont allow me to lie to you. If you accept my evasions of the truth, you encourage me to lie. The truth may be painful but try to get at it.

Don't let me outsmart you. This would only allow me to avoid responsibility and would make me lose respect for you at the same time.

Don"t accept my promises. The nature of my illness prevents my keeping them, even though I mean them at the time. Promises are only my way of postponing pain. And, Dont keep switching agreements; if an agreement is made stick to it.

Don't let me exploit you or take advantage of you. If you do, you become an accomplice to my evasion of responsibility.

Addiction Treatment Should Include Family Therapy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has unveiled the first practical guide for substance abuse treatment counselors to incorporate family therapy techniques into substance abuse treatment.

Please click on the link below.

Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy
Adobe Acrobat PDF File)
Be patient it takes a few moments to load.

Six chapters are included in the publication. Chapter 1, Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy, introduces the changing definition of "family," explores the evolution of the field of family therapy and the primary models of family therapy, presents concepts from the substance abuse treatment field, and discusses the effectiveness and cost benefits of family therapy.

Chapter 2, Impact of Substance Abuse on Families, describes social issues that coexist with substance abuse in families and offers recommendations for ways to address these issues.

Do You Love an Alcoholic? Setting BoundariesPremium Content

Loving an alcoholic is not about taking care of them, but about taking care of you. You have a responsibility to protect yourself from any of the alcoholic’s negative and destructive behavior. Setting boundaries for you is how to become healthy, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You may have to change a few personal things and schedules around the house a bit to accommodate your boundaries, but this is how you protect yourself from the insidious disease of alcoholism. All the boundaries I suggest are always detaching from the alcoholic in a loving way.

Don’t be around the alcoholic when they are drinking. Does this sound difficult to do. Well it isn’t if you have your own bedroom, or other room, with a television, desk, phone, cell phone, laptop, etc. Be prepared to leave any room the alcoholic is drinking in. When the alcoholic asks you why you are leaving the room, let them know the truth; you are powerless to control their behavior and you do not want to be around them while they are drinking; it’s as simple as that. You are taking care of you!

Don’t argue, plead, or yell at the alcoholic no matter how difficult it gets. This is what the alcoholic wants you to do. If you argue, fuss and fight, it takes the focus off of them and their drinking and on to you. See how that works? This is how the alcoholic drives you into the disease with them. Every time you try and control the alcoholic through words or argument, you actually lose the battle; they won! You stay in control by staying silent. You are in control when the alcoholic wants you to argue with them, but you walk away instead. This is taking care of you!

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My Husband is Looking at Porn. What Should I Do?

Ask Angie: Angie, my husband is a Christian, and I just found out that he has been looking at porn on the Internet for about a month. How do I have a relationship with him after this? We went through this when we first got married 19 years ago...I don't think I can do it again!

Marriage Guidance: You have to see your husband underneath the cloak of this addiction. Addiction is not who he is but what he has allowed to filter into his heart and mind. You need to pray about his recovery and ask God to give you the strength to get through these hard times in your marriage. Some husbands lie to themselves and believe its ok to look at naked women and men. But the truth is its not ok if you have stopped enjoying your wife. It’s not ok if you look forward to viewing women on the Internet instead of the woman you married and that God has blessed you with. It would be a good idea to print this marriage column out and read through it with your husband. Work together on this issue by being supportive and encouraging. Try and be your husbands other half (help mate) rather than an antagonist. You both need to sit down and talk through this with respect and consideration of each others feelings. Some husbands are in denial and believe they don't have a problem with porn. But since you said your husband is a Christian or trying to be a Christian then he is not in denial and should work towards inner healing. Help him do that.

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God?Premium Content

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God? Does it mean you turn your back and walk away?

No, certainly not. Surrendering does not mean abandoning. It does not mean you no longer care.

Surrender is motivated out of love -- such deep love for the person that you are willing to get out of the way and let God sit in the driver's seat. Admit it: with us in the driver's seat, things weren't going quite so well. There were just too many things we were powerless to control.

Surrender is choosing to yoke up with Jesus.

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God Expects You To Be Better By Now (Resistance to Recovery)Premium Content

See: Part 1 | See: Part 2

(The third in a three part series on resistance to recovery.)

In the first of this series of articles I emphasized that the most difficult form of resistance to recovery is our own resistance. Recovery is not easy. It is a difficult process. Telling the truth, acknowledging our need, accepting help, making amends - these are some of the difficult tasks of recovery. It is understandable that we resist such a difficult process. In addition, recovery involves change. We have spent many years practicing our dysfunctional ways of living. The path of least resistance for us is to keep doing the same old things. Change is difficult and it is understandable that we resist it. In the second in this series of articles, I emphasized that in addition to our own internal resistance to recovery, recovery also often takes place in a hostile environment. For a variety of reasons, not everyone in our lives will welcome the changes which recovery brings.


Many of us, unfortunately, have experienced some distinctively Christian forms of resistance to recovery and it is this kind of resistance which I would like begin to discuss in this article.

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Criticisms of Recovery - Part 2Premium Content

See: Part 1 | See: Part 3

In a previous article I discussed the most insensitive, intransigent and personally painful kind of resistance to recovery - our own resistance. We tend to be our own worst critics. We resist the changes most tenaciously. In most cases we fight it, reject it, hate it - probably more than anyone else.

It is often true, however, that the recovery journey takes us through territory that is either ambivalent towards or downright hostile to recovery. Recovering codependents, for example, may find that some people prefer the 'good old days' when they were more compliant and self-sacrificing. Unpleasant emotions, once medicated with addictive substances or processes, may be experienced as threats to relationships that have adapted over the years to the insanity of addiction. Some people in recovery experience hostility when they start telling the truth in social systems which have been committed to silence for generations. Other people experience shame and rejection when people are skeptical about or merely uncomfortable with the changes that recovery brings.

Recovery is about change and most of us will encounter resistance when change produces new and unfamiliar behaviors. It is not reasonable to expect that all of the changes which take place during recovery will be received with rejoicing as if they were 'answers to prayer'.

Resistance and Rejection
Most of the resistance we encounter in recovery will be personal and painful. Even when resistance comes in the form of intellectualized 'arguments' against recovery, it may feel like personal assault rather than dispassionate analysis. For example, suppose someone says: "You can't change the past, so you should focus on the positive." This may make some intellectual sense to you. It may 'ring true.' It might, indeed, be good advice at this particular stage of your recovery. But for many people it may also feel like a profound dismissal of their struggle towards sanity. The key to sorting out confusing stuff like this is not the truth or falsehood of "you should focus on the positive". What is critically important is the tone of voice in which you hear "you should focus on the positive". Is the tone practical and understanding? Or is it shaming and dismissing? Do I feel rejected as a person when I hear this?

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Are You Experiencing True Guilt or False Guilt?Premium Content

We must differentiate between true guilt, and false guilt. Listen to how Paul differentiates between the two:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness; to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.2 Corinthians 7:10-11


Before we investigate these types of guilt, I would like to give you an overview.

  • 1. True guilt. Corinthians calls this Godly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow that is according to the will of God in the NASB.
  • 2. False guilt. Corinthians calls this worldly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow of the world in the NASB.
    Within false guilt I see two categories:
      a. Deliberate pretended guilt.
      b. Imposed guilt. This is guilt that we, the world, and other people impose upon ourselves.
  • Let's explore.

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