My brother is an alcoholic. For years, this reality has shattered my world. The brother who walked to school with me, played Battleship with me and pretended to be famous singers with me has become someone I often fear. When he turns to alcohol, I worry about riding in a car with him, leaving my children with him and opposing him in any way out of fear that he may explode with anger. How can I begin to understand his brokenness—and how it drives him to drink until he can feel no more pain? How do I empower him to get help, when I know he needs support for the here and now to keep his life from being cut short?
Watching someone you love in the throes of an addiction can be devastating. I have watched my brother struggle with alcoholism for years, though I’ve come to realize that he isn’t the only one battling the addiction: I am living the struggle with him. And it doesn’t just affect me; it affects everyone. It affects how we come together as a family, it affects his co-workers and it affects his children. We are all on this painful journey with him. But we are not by-standers. The Bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything” (GNTD). Pray, because God hears us when we pray—and he has the power to change lives!
Maybe you are feeling pain and anguish like I am because someone you love is struggling with an addiction. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, pornography or something else, you don’t have to stand by and watch your loved one suffer. You are not powerless in this situation, because God wants you to come to him with the struggles that cause you pain. Here are three Bible verses you can pray when supporting a loved one battling an addiction:
- Pray for your loved one’s brokenness and emptiness.
He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds. – Psalm 147:3 (GNTD)
- Pray for your loved ones’ freedom and deliverance.
If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. – John 8:36 (GNTD)
- Pray for your loved one’s restoration.
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNTD)
Nena Podbury is a project associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she has co-authored children’s curriculum and served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.