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Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

What do you do when a close family member is struggling with addiction?





ANONYMOUS WRITES: I have a member of my family that struggles with an addiction to a certain game. He has not yet admitted that it is a problem, yet the other members of the family recognize it as such.

I have, and will, continue to pray for him, but what else can I do? He is in a position of authority over me but I feel like I should try to help him in some way.


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  • MimeforJesus

    Maybe work on spending time with him? Could be that he hides out in this game because he’s bored or lonely normally, so he uses the game to try to get away from all that. I really don’t know. :( I’ll be praying for you and your brother, Anonymous!

  • Well, if you’ve confronted him about it and prayed for him, I think that’s really all you can do. Or you can suggest some activities that would take him away from his phone or PS4 or XBox or whatever he’s playing with.

    Or some practical (and maybe humorous) ways…you could hide the game (have one of your friends ask to borrow it, maybe?) or just delete the app off his phone. If his addiction’s really serious you might want to talk to your parents about it.

    Hope that helps!

    • Hide the game. There’s somebody after my own heart. :)

      • Louis Gervais

        Or out “The window, the window, the second story window…”

        • Louis Gervais

          P.S. *Not to be advised*

        • DEFENESTRATION! 😛

          • Louis Gervais

            The advice of Jehu.

          • MimeforJesus

            Somebody knows that word!!!!!

          • Haha! Yes, although I admit I only just learned it this past school year, but am thoroughly addicted to it now and use it far more than any one ever should. I have threatened one of my guy friends multiple times that I would defenestrate him if he didn’t stop teasing me (I never actual fell through with it even though he never stops teasing me! Haha!).

          • MimeforJesus

            Ooh, there’s a threat I need to remember! “If you don’t let me have the last muffin, my dear sister, I will personally defenestrate you!!” Yeah, that could work! 😉
            Did you hear of the Defenestrations of Prague?

          • Yes, its been a very handy word! 😉 I think I have heard of that. I think that may have been the story in which I originally heard the word. 😉

          • MimeforJesus

            That’s where I first learned it too :)

        • Louis Gervais

          After further consideration, out of all the actions I could think of, in certain cases, prayer could be the most/the only one effective.

  • I was also going to recommend you suggest activities that take him away from the game!!! Is this family member a christian? if so, point him to scripture and remind him that spending time with God should be the #1 priotity in his life! If he’s spending enough time on a game that it’s an addiction, then he’s not spending adequate time with God!
    Here’s some verses I’ve found that might be helpful in pointing out his fault: 1 John 2:16, 1 Peter 2:11, Rom. 13:14, Gal. 5:16, 2 Peter 2:19(GOOD ONE!), Titus 2:12, (discussing what a Godly man should look like) Rom.8:5-6 (Good!!), 1 Cor. 3:17
    Here are some verses to encourage him if he thinks it’s too hard to overcome his addiction: John 8:36, Psalm 50:15, James 4:7, Philipp. 4:1, 1Cor. 10:13 (this verse is often taken outside of context! BUT if interpreted correctly, it can be very helpful.

  • It’s important for him to recognize it. It would be great for you and your family to be honest, but if he’s in a position of authority, it’s hard for you to confront him on this issue. If it’s your dad, I would say perhaps mention it to your mum and ask if they could talk about it. Or, depending on your situation, talk humbly to him or perhaps make a joke that hints at it.
    The ideas of distraction are good, but nothing will change if he doesn’t recognize the addiction.

  • Daniel Carvalho

    Well… recognize the addiction is the first step to win. David (of the bible) does not recognize his sin. God used a prophet to show it to him. Maybe you should to show him that it is so important in his life. Show him that the time that he spent in the game don’t back for us.
    I’ll pray for you!

  • Christina

    I agree with @disqus_jSFJXHVZ9u:disqus. I guess I would suggest trying to have an honest conversation. Even if they are in a position of authority, you are recognizing that authority in being unsure how to approach this, but you care about them and how they are spending their life. So I guess just trying to have the conversation and getting other members of the family involved. And you can always be an example!

    Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an
    example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and
    in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

  • Christy

    Well, I believe the first thing that would help is for him to recognize his problem. Talk to him, but beforehand, pray that God will give you the right words to say. Ask questions like “Are you putting your game before God?” You could show him Matthew 6:24 ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.’ If he sees this, that might cause him to realize his problem, and that is the first step to stopping. Don’t forget to keep praying.

  • tmselden

    If he is your brother in Christ, and you believe this is sinful, you should go to him personally and privately explaining your concerns. Your motivation should be in his restoration in love. If he rejects you, take another with you-maybe a peer of his or someone that is his authority. The impact of another might yield more of a response. His addiction is not unlike gambling, drinking, or anything else that takes us away from our mandate to put God first. We are all living in a stressful world with temptations all around to keep us distracted. I would suggest that he is a very lonely person or someone who has difficulty relating to others. Addictions mask a lot of what is going on inside that we are not dealing with. If he turns from any sort of help offered, keep loving him, but definitely pray for him.

  • Leah

    I like the idea of @MimeforJesus – show a genuine interest in spending time with him. Suggest other activities. Encourage him to get out of the house and put his focus on other stuff for a while. I don’t know your uncle, but I’d say that you should probably be very careful in whether or not you confront him. Since he’s in a position of authority, it could seem like a threat to him if you try to tell him that he’s wrong, even if it’s in the sweetest, lovingest, most well-intending way ever – especially since he is so addicted to this game. @Christina mentioned 1 Timothy 4:12, which is awesome, too. Definitely set a good example. Talking to your parents about the issue may help too; since they are equals with your uncle, it would probably be easier for them to confront him. I’ll be praying for you and your uncle :)

  • My brother has the same problem, He’s addicted to his phone. My mom helps some by taking it away, but the best advice I can give is just to help him do other things, like always be inviting him to do other activities.

  • Danny

    I sometimes have been addicted to various games — and pieces of technology. I think that to some degree it is an escapist mentality that drives us (guys particularly) to “the magical screen that turns all heads.” Now, that said, It is serious… I usually get annoyed when my younger sibs tell me that it’s a problem — why? because I know they are right. At root, I know it’s a problem, but it usually takes my parents saying that it’s a problem for me to really try to get rid of the problem. I loved the idea of swiping the game… he’d probably be a little mad, but that would prove the point. I don’t think it would help all that much though. Just sit down and talk to your parents and have them talk to him… and keep praying! For my part right now, ’nuff said.

  • Haylie

    Hey there anonymous! I’m sorry i don’t have any earth shattering advice for you :/ I’m praying for your situation though.

    *Oh, and i just wanted to let y’all know i’m headed to camp on Monday to be a counselor! I’ll be there for three weeks, with no internet, but i’ll be home on weekends! So, i won’t be around much for awhile. Have a great July, guys! Keep rebelutionizing our generation!*

    • Sam G

      Sounds like a great opportunity to serve God. See you later!

  • Anonymous

    One of my family members struggled with several severe addictions, sometimes all you can do is pray but also if you can should maybe sit down with them and tell them how you feel and what your concerns for them are with their addiction. Tell them that you would like to help them if you can and maybe point them to other Godly people who can help, making sure that you do it in love and gentleness, not making them feel like you’re attacking or condemning them for their problem. That’s my two bits anyway, I’m kinda’ve new to discussions, commenting at least.

  • Check out this TED Talk about addiction. He doesn’t involve God in the equation, but it’s an easy jump to make. Ultimately we all crave connection, with God, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to be moving our loved ones toward that, while getting what we need from God.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong?language=en

  • Faith

    Everyone has an addiction of some sort; at least that’s what my mom said. Some addictions are just more prominent than others. For instance, my dad has been struggling through some pretty hard stuff lately. He used to smoke and drink when I was too young to remember but even now he still goes to AA meetings, which is a support group for ex-alcoholics. He also started chewing nicotine gum two years ago so that he could give up smoking his occasional cigar but he was still addicted to that harmful little drug that made his problems “disappear” for a hour and return with even more problems later. Eventually God finally showed him the truth about how these things were not making him feel well at all but were rather an attempt to try and hide from the reality that he had a problem. My dad finally admitted that he had a problem and began meeting with some Christian friends of his who were members of a small church and they helped form an accountability group between all of them so that they could keep each other accountable for each person’s addictions. Addictions are merely trying to fill that God-shaped key-hole in our hearts, as many people have probably said on this discussion, as well as keep ourselves distracted from the truth of our sins and the guilt that we feel as a result. My brothers sort of have the same video game addictions, mostly to warfare games that glorify blood and gore and I know that God is the one who can speak to their hearts so that they can see that their games don’t glorify God. The same goes for my mom’s anger issues (which she has admitted that she has and is now recievng counseling from a Christian counselor for) and even my addiction to a favorite TV series that seems childishly innocent but yet has a darker twisted side to it. (Perhaps you’ve heard of Ninjago? It is a ridiculous addiction but it is one nevertheless and right now God is helping me to break from its grasp but I still could use all the prayer I can get). Prayer and support help a lot, especially when the person suffering from the addiction knows that you are praying for them. Sometimes it helps them open up just enough to the point where God can work within them. My family has had a lot of experience with addictions and a lot of pain that has resulted from those addictions but believe God when He tells you that you can lean on Him to help you out of Satan’s snares. All things are possible with God, whether they be the small hard things or the huge hard things.
    God bless you and I pray that He will help your family member.

  • Deborah Starling

    As someone who is not personally dealing with addiction but dealing with it through a close relationship I wanted to educate myself as thoroughly as possible on the subject. I recently read a book that really opened my eyes to a different look at addiction. It is called “Addiction is the Symptom” by Dr. Rosemary Brown (http://addiction-is-the-symptom.com/)
    It is hard for a non-addict to understand, and sympathize with an addict sometimes. That is why I feel it is crucial for us that deal with the addiction of a loved one, to educate ourselves to better understand what they are going through. This book offers some great insight and information that I have not found anywhere else in my studies. It gave me a way to look beyond the actual addiction itself (the symptom) and better search out and heal the emotional problems behind it. Thank you to the author, this was a beautifully written and extremely helpful book. Good luck to you and I really hope you will check out this book!

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