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.

4. Long Suffering
Remember, I stated that things might get worse before they get better and we must remember that it might take some time for this individual to gain a complete recovery. Now this will depend on his or her willingness to accept the complete deliverance that is in Christ. So a lot of our help to this person will be a teaching ministry, of helping them to apply the Word to his life for abundant living. When ever we start working with a dysfunctional person, we must always remember that it will take time, and we must believe that God will bring the deliverance for His glory. This, of course, will keep us from discouragement.

5. Be Firm
Once someone has asked for help and we are willing to share with them, it is necessary that we lay down some very clear ground rules by which we will operate. For example, they must realize that if they should ever take another drink, drug or pursue their dysfunctional behavior that they will lose our fellowship. Now remember, I don’t say they should lose our long suffering, but must be made to realize that they can only experience fellowship with ourselves, and more imporrtant, fellowship with God, when they are sober and pursuing recovery. If they live in our home and begin to participate in their addiction/dysfunction, they must understand that they no longer has a home and must be put out. If we have been helping the person financially, then when they begin to drink, all financial help ceases. I believe this will serve as an example of what we mean when we say “be firm.”

Realizing that faith in Jesus Christ is the true way to peace, Christians are banded together in CIR in mutual effort to transfer dependence on alcohol, substances and behaviors to dependence on Jesus. We believe that what we cannnot do alone, we can accomplish through helping one another.

Our common goal is to allow Jesus to become the guiding influence in our lives, and lead us to recovery.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5: 17

Adapted from Alcoholics Victorious brochure by Jerry Dunn. Used by permission.