Mission Service Activity of the Month
July 2019: Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action – Supporting Those Suffering from Addiction
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling (Psalm 46:1–3).
You may know of someone or have loved ones that are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or even self-destructive behaviors. Sadly, the addicted are not the only victims of their behavior. Oftentimes entire families are adversely affected. The suffering can be multiplied many times over. Our first thoughts are of total helplessness – what can we possibly do to help? Fortunately there are many organizations and resources to aid both the addict and their loved ones. By educating yourself you may be able to provide much-needed direction. And, by lifting these hurting souls up in prayer you are doing the best possible thing.
Following are some resources that provide treatment and counseling for addicts as well as support for their loved ones.
Addiction Support Groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
Al-Anon and Alateen provide help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics. Groups are located in cities across the globe. Meetings take place in person, on the phone and online, making it convenient and accessible for just about anyone. Individuals affected by alcoholism, whether it be related to a parent, sibling, close relative or friend, are welcome to take part in Al-Anon group meetings. While some Al-Anon members have loved ones who are currently in treatment, others attend meetings to get advice on how to live with someone who has yet to seek help.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. Many of the addiction issues that Celebrate Recovery deals with include alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction and food addiction. They also deal with eating disorders, love and relationship addiction, co-dependency, and anger to name a few.
- Lutheran Social Services has local organizations in several cities around the country, many of which provide mental health services that include treatment for addiction. An example can be found at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. You can do an internet search for “Lutheran Social Services” to find an organization in your area.
- How to Respond to...Addiction
- LCMS Articles About Addiction
- National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prevention
Mercy in Action:
- Familiarize yourself with the services available in your local area. Make a list of nearby A.A., Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery programs.
- Invite someone from a local substance abuse program to speak at your church. Ask them to particularly address how your congregation can aid those in the recovery process. You may also want to ask about inviting a recovering addict to come and speak. Also, if the program or facility has material needs, host a “shower” or supply drive.
- Identify anyone in your congregation who may be affected by a loved one’s addiction. Ask what you can do to help. There might be financial strains or child care issues which the congregation can address. Just be sensitive about confidentiality concerns and always ask permission before involving others.
- Consider hosting A.A. or Celebrate Recovery meetings at your church. If your church doesn’t have the resources to host meetings, perhaps you can reach out to an existing host church and offer assistance.
- Engage in youth programs geared toward addiction prevention. Reference the NIH article above. Also search for youth mentoring programs in your area.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:28).
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4).
A Prayer as You Plan:
Heavenly Father we thank you for the many blessings you bestow on us and we thank you that our help comes from you. We pray for those in our lives who are addicted to drugs or alcohol that they would overcome these additions, that they would fix their eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith. And, dear Father, please use us as instruments of healing as we minister to our brothers and sisters. To you be the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about, and share, your mission service activities! Please contact the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here. Thank you!