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Powerlessness Over Addiction

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2023 3:30 am

Powerlessness Over Addiction

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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January 13, 2023 3:30 am

Many caregivers are in a relationship with an alcoholic or addict - and spend enormous energy trying to "fix" or just contain the drama and challenges of that loved one. 

We eventually discover we're powerless over their condition - sometimes after causing or experiencing great harm ourselves. Can we accept that - and if so, what do we do about it? 



Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Roseburger. Glad to have you with us. if you want to let us know what's going on with you. There's a little contact form there. Just send a message right to the program and we'd love to hear from you.

Man, I really like that. It really kind of applies to me as a caregiver. Share it. Tell us about it so we can pass it on to others. Because if it's meaningful to you, more than likely it's going to be meaningful to another caregiver.

And that's kind of the whole point of what we're doing here. And you can always post it in our Facebook group as well at Hope for the Caregiver on Facebook. Just go to that group page. Now we have the page for it, but this is a group.

Okay? And you have to join that group. And if you're already a member, post it. If you're not a member, join. We'd love to have you and be a part of what we're doing. I want to give a, if you could allow me to just put a pin in all the things we've been talking about, I want to give a little bit of a cautionary tale on something.

Okay? This is what separates this program out from any other program out there for caregivers is that we delve into the world of alcoholism and addiction. In the context that the people who are in relationship with that alcoholic or that addict are caregivers. They are indeed caregiving for someone. Now you may think, well, that's different than, well, of course it's different.

It's all different. But as long as there's a chronic impairment, there's always going to be a caregiver. And you're going to be dealing with it financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, you know, a lot of similarities of how we approach any type of chronic impairment. So regardless of the origin of what the chronic impairment is, the relationship is affected by this impairment. And those of us who are engaged with individuals who are dealing with any type of chronic impairment are going to have a shared experience of frustration, despair, fear, guilt, obligation, anger, all of those things. With alcoholism and addiction, there's a couple of other components that sneak its way into this dilemma, if you will. My son Gray says that when life hands you dilemmas, you make deliminate.

So I thought that was kind of funny. But when you're dealing with alcoholism and addiction, there's this underlying principle that many people have. Well, you could just stop it. You could just will yourself to stop it.

Well, look around. How's that working? Do you think people are doing that? That's why there's so many treatment centers and AA and everything else. And it doesn't work that way. And people who are in relationship with them feel that intensely and want to try to somehow wrestle this thing to the ground. And I got a friend of mine who's dealing with that right now with a family member. And as I listen to the conversations, there's so many of these machinations of trying to game the system. Well, if I do this, I do this, I could do this, I could do this, I could do this, I could fix this, I could do this, and all these if-then clauses.

And you're basically playing whack-a-mole. They are going to continue drinking and they're going to continue using drugs until they reach a point where one of three things will happen. They'll either sober up, they'll get locked up, or they'll get covered up. That means they're buried.

For an alcoholic or an addict. Those are the only choices they have. They're either going to sober up, check themselves into a facility, work a program, get help, or they're going to get locked up. They're going to have a DUI, they're going to do something incredibly dangerous or hurt themselves, hurt the others, or they're going to die. Now, I don't mean to be harsh, it's just a harsh world. And that's been boiled down to its essence.

These are the three choices they have. And if you're in a relationship right now with somebody who is an addict or an alcoholic, these are things that I implore you to take to heart. You can't change that. You didn't cause it.

You can't cure it. Okay, this is beyond your abilities. They have a savior, you ain't that savior. And you can sit on them and make sure they never drink or use again for the rest of their life, but you're never getting up. You're going to be sitting on them for the rest of their life. It's going to be their sobriety at your expense.

Now, can you maintain that 24-7? I don't think you can. And you can't hide enough bottles, you can't flush enough stuff down the toilet, you can't do this enough to shock them into sobriety. All you can do is detach from their sickness and allow this thing to run its course until they either hit a wall and decide that they're going to work a sobriety program. Anybody tells you different than that, I'd give them a little bit of a wide berth. I am not doubting what God does in this. I'm not. And I've heard people tell me that God delivered them instantly from them.

God bless them. But it has been the overwhelming experience that I've seen that people have to work at their sobriety. People have to work at not putting themselves in that position again to take a drink, to take pills, to shoot up drugs, whatever. And it's not something that you're going to be able to enforce externally. It has to be a change in their heart.

In many ways it mirrors the path of sanctification that you are not going to be able to do this on your own and you're going to have to reach out for help if this is your struggle. But right now I want to talk to the people who are in relationships with that struggling alcoholic or addict. You have no power over their addiction. The only thing you can deal with is you. And you will create so much pain in your life if you try to control something that is above your pay grade.

Now they may go down a happy road of sobriety and recovery and you may see tremendous changes. But the changes I'm focusing on right now in this conversation are the changes in you. I'm thinking somehow this is all up to you. That you can force this down the path you want.

You can yell and scream and withhold and use money and bribe and cajole and plead and all of those things. And if you're doing this right now, I'm going to ask you a very simple question. How's that working for you? Okay? We're just having a gut level conversation here about the principles of you trying to control the behavior of another person. I can't do it. You can't do it. No one else can do this but that person. And they cannot do it without the help from God. How is that any different really ultimately than our sin and our flesh nature? We can try to be real good Christians but it's never going to happen. We need a savior.

You in a relationship with somebody who has an addiction, that need for a savior is going to erupt in your life to the point where you will see things in you that are so ugly and so unpleasant. Eventually you will bend the knee and cry uncle and say I can't do this anymore. I am powerless over this.

And you are. Just like a caregiver of somebody with Alzheimer's is powerless over Alzheimer's. You know, Gracie's legs are gone. I am powerless over amputation. I can't make them come back.

A family member with autism. You are powerless over autism. You can't fix that. But that's not your job is to fix it. That is not your pay grade. And as I tell myself and I tell others, look down at your hands.

If you don't see nail prints, this ain't yours to fix. That's not your role here. You can love and you can care for and you set boundaries and you set healthy boundaries. And I would encourage you to seek out some real professional help. Counseling, 12-step recovery groups for family members of alcoholics or addicts.

There are a lot of resources out there. But I'm watching my friend struggle mightily with this. And work to gain it. And I heard in a recent conversation about 30 if-then sentences. Where there's some type of okay I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. And man, it exhausted me to listen. Because I know it's futile.

It's not going to happen. The best thing you can do is bend the knee to God and say, Lord, I don't know how to deal with this. And I'm seeking your help and I'm seeing ugly things come out in me because of this that don't honor you. And I want to deal with that with you. And I want to be healthy regardless of what anybody else in my life is doing.

I want to be in a place of contentment and peace. We talked about it in the first block where Paul said, I can be content in anything. Even with a family member that is out of control with alcohol or drugs. It doesn't mean that you tolerate the behavior. It doesn't mean that you just leave a gun laying around. It doesn't mean that you enable. Okay?

Use some common sense. And there are people that can help you shore up all those weak boundary areas. But it does mean that you are going to take your hands off of this and trust God with it. Because I love this phrase that my dear friend Jim Bachman said years ago, a pastor in Nashville. If he's Lord at all, then he's Lord of all.

Including this. We live in a broken world where terrible things are happening all around us. We are called to minister to them, but we are not able to fix them. That is way beyond us. And we can minister with healthy boundaries. We can minister with peace and contentment in our own hearts so that we can respond and not react.

We'll talk more about this when we come back. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

But the nails are not what held him. It was love that compelled him to give his life so that I might live. Heaven's not the reason I fall down on my knees.

Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. Producer Pat, would you mind, ma'am, please turning that back up a little bit. I love this right here. Jesus is.

Thank you so much for indulging me on that. That is Gracie, my wife, and Scat Springs singing a song that I wrote with my friend Hank Martin. Heaven's not the reason. I just love that performance by the two of them.

Hank and I have been friends for a lifetime. Scat as well. But Scat passed away about a year and a half ago. And his amazing voice has now joined the throng in heaven. Scat's voice.

I just love to listen to him sing. So thank you for indulging me on that. We're talking about.

By the way, this is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We're talking about alcoholics and addicts in the context of caregiving.

And I've just been watching actually more than just one friend go through this with a family member. And I just felt like I felt kind of an urgency to kind of lay this out for us to talk about, because I think the principles we deal with as caregivers apply 100 percent when caring for an addict or an alcoholic or somebody who's mentally ill or, you know, whatever, whatever the chronic impairment, these principles apply. Because I didn't come up with this. OK, y'all know me by now.

I'm not that bright. This is scripture. This is the principles of God. And they are always true. They are always applicable.

They are always appropriate when dealing with the human condition. And so I don't want any of us to be misled or in any way deceived or disoriented by our circumstances. And one of the biggest issues I think we face is this internal conflict.

Now, you tell me if I'm wrong, OK? This internal conflict, not eternal, internal, internal conflict between what we want and what we see. We see something and we want something. And what our eyes are telling us and what our hearts are wanting, we're trying to mash together.

And it causes more angst and heartache and dysfunction in our lives that we can, that I have the words for. And if you look through scripture, you'll see this is consistent. And Jesus dealt with it with his own disciples because we're so easily tempted and ensnared to try to force an issue of something we think needs to happen. Go back to look at Peter. He said, you know, when Jesus said he's going to go to the cross, Peter pulls out, no, no, no, this ain't going to happen.

Get behind me, Satan. That's what Jesus said. And Moses saw the plight of his own people. So he goes out and kills an Egyptian.

He's going to free Israel one person at a time with that model. And we see this repeatedly in scripture, what our eyes are seeing and what we're wanting, and we're trying to mash it together. And we can see the behavior that is out of control of somebody. And we're wanting to somehow control that to make it be so or live in some type of denial or whatever, to spin it so that we're not uncomfortable with the reality of what we're seeing. As a friend of mine once said, are you going to believe what I'm telling you or your lying eyes?

We can see it right in front of us. And yet it's uncomfortable to admit the truth. It's uncomfortable to admit the truth about our own sin. If we struggle to admit our own sin, how much more do we struggle with the sin and the behaviors of others, of believing that, of accepting that? I can't even accept my own stuff, much less anybody else's.

And the only way we can see that is the work of God in our life, to give us clarity, conviction of the Holy Spirit to say, OK, this is not good. This is wrong. This is the way it is. This is the truth of what's going on here.

Am I the only one? Of course not. So I'm going to ask you again when I ask you the first block, how's that working for you?

If this is where you are, how's that working? An addict or an alcoholic will not improve on their own. They must have help. And some recovery programs call that a higher power. I'm not here to debate that term.

I'm just saying from a scriptural standpoint, you have to have the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, just like you do with sin. We may say, OK, we're going to act better. We're going to do better. We're going to we're not going to do that anymore.

Well, how effective is that when we squint our eyes real hard when we pray? But in reality, we're just trying to lean on our own understanding and our own strength. And it's when we surrender all that and say, you know, I can't do this.

This is beyond me. My efforts are worthless. You can't. You're not going to moralize yourself into heaven. You're not going to moralize yourself and behave in such a way that God is going to accept you. If you could, we wouldn't need a savior. And you can't white knuckle yourself through, you know, these behavior issues that we all have, this sin that we all have. You can't just be a good person. Any more than an alcoholic can do it. If you think you can save yourself. Then you're just as deluded as an alcoholic or addict who thinks that they could just decide to quit one day.

As one addict said, quitting is I'm very successful at quitting. I do it all the time. You get the point. And the goal is not to in any way shame one another of this. The goal is to rejoice in the fact that God has made a way.

That's the point. That's why we need a savior. And if you go back and look at the story of Abraham taking Isaac and God had asked him to sacrifice.

Can you imagine that walk? Where he's got, you know, his son beside him who he loves and God says go up there and sacrifice your son. And Isaac says, you know, hey I see the fuel, we got everything we need except we don't have a lamb. And what did Abraham say? He didn't say you're going to be the lamb.

He didn't say that. He said God will provide. God will provide the lamb, the sacrifice. God will provide. That word provide. That's where that word providence, it's rooted in that word providence.

I could see it. God has seen and provided. He has seen and seen to it. This is what he does.

This is who he is. And when he got there, Abraham was willing to go through with it. But God provided because he had made provision. That is the picture of salvation. We need a savior. We cannot do this without one. Your alcoholic addict loved one has a savior and you're not that savior.

Your impaired loved one has a savior. You are not that savior. It's really important that we understand this as caregivers. That is not our role. That is not our job. That is not our task. That is not our mandate. We are stewards. We are caregivers. We give care. But we cannot give solutions. We're not solution givers.

I cannot fix this and neither can you. Regardless of what the impairment is. Gracie's pain is considerable. She looked at me the other day. She said I've been in pain for 40 years.

I'm tired. I can't take this away from her. I can comfort her in it. I can make her laugh. I can even distract her. I do all the things I can.

I make a nice meal. Keep the house clean. Whatever I can do to ease that burden. But I cannot carry it for her. That is between Gracie and God. And you cannot carry your loved one's affliction any more than I can carry Gracie's. And for those of you in a relationship with an alcoholic or an addict, please understand these principles I'm telling you. There is help available.

You cannot white-knuckle yourself through this thing. They may get sober. They may not. They may get clean.

They may not. But you can be healthy. You can be at peace. You can be content. You can be safe. You can respond and not react.

It's work. But it is available to you if you choose. But first it starts with getting your eyes off of someone else's behavior that somehow say, OK, I'll be content. I'll be at peace if they stop acting like this.

No, you can be at peace no matter what they act like. I know that because scripture says we can. Paul told us that. We said it in the first block.

I could be content no matter what. And that is hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg.

We'll see you next time. You've heard me talk about standing with hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs. And this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called CoreCivic.

We met them over 11 years ago. And they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks. All these things we can reuse and inmates help us do it.

Before CoreCivic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville. And I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere, and feet, boxes of them and so forth. And I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me.

And it got to be too much for me. And so I was very grateful that CoreCivic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction. And we'd love to be a part of this.

And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb.

And that's where the focus of Standing With Hope is. That's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prosthesis. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years.

So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials, and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking. And it goes to this prison in Arizona where it's such an extraordinary ministry.

Think with that. Inmates volunteering for this. They want to do it. And they've had amazing times with it, and I've had very moving conversations with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see, again, all of that at slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises, and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be. And we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-13 04:54:50 / 2023-01-13 05:04:35 / 10

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