Why You Can’t Rescue an Addict

addictionWhen someone you care about is in trouble, it’s only natural to want to help. But there are certain kinds of problems that we can’t fix, no matter how much we want to. If someone you love is an addict or an alcoholic, for example, it’s hard to watch them get deeper and deeper into trouble, and just as hard to realize that no matter how much you want to, you just can’t rescue them from their problems.

The problem with trying to rescue an addict—by forcefully offering unwanted help—is that it usually only succeeds in pushing them further away. An addict who is confronted by a “rescuer” typically feels that they’re being judged and controlled, and tends to feel resentful and resistant. They may respond by becoming defensive or angry, which leads to the rescuer feeling hurt, rejected, and angry. Ultimately, trying to rescue someone with an addiction problem only tends to make things worse.

Why doesn’t rescuing work? Simply because it’s about trying to force someone to change, instead of allowing them the agency to choose to make changes for themselves. When someone has an addiction problem they need the space to decide whether or not they want to make changes, and if so, what those changes should be. Most of all, they need to be allowed to retain control over their own life—even when it looks like they’re making unhealthy or even dangerous choices.

What’s the alternative to rescuing? Simply asking for the opportunity to start a discussion, with a promise that there’s no judgment involved. Listen, empathize, and ask for the chance to say your piece, but do it in a way that’s neutral and non-accusatory. Ultimately, this kind of approach has a much higher chance of leading to positive changes.

Mel Thane

Your words have power

return to me Lynn Austin “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….” (Genesis 1).

God said, “Let there be light….
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters…” (sky)
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from night…”

In the Biblical account of creation, everything came into existence because God spoke creation into being, God said….. Words have power!

At the moment I’m enjoying reading ‘Return to Me‘, a Biblical historical novel by Lynn Austin.
She writes…. “We’re made in the Holy One’s image, so our words also have power. You tell someone they’re ugly or that they’re a fool, and if you repeat it often enough, you might create ugliness or foolishness in that person. You praise them for their goodness or kindness, and your words just might create even more kindness in that person. We must be careful to speak words of life.”

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”.
Proverbs 18:21
The spoken word has the power of life and death… Many lives have been ruined because of verbal abuse as the person who receives the abuse often believes that to be the truth, rather than that they are precious and made in the image of God. And the consequence is rather sad because our behavior always matches what we believe about ourselves. We have the awesome power to create life in others.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.
Romans 10:9.
Did you realize that your spoken word had so much power?

Click here for more Bible references on the power of spoken word.

Taking a leap forward!

Fearful of change? Fearful of failure? What holds you back from trying something new?

I live in South Africa and my one son lives in Taiwan.  I love visiting him and his Taiwanese family… but language is a problem! You can only get so far with smiling, nodding and thumbs up signs. So last year I decided it was time to learn Mandarin. Alan from FluentU gave these insights into learning a new language. Whether it be a new language or any other skill you’re learning, bear these tips in mind – change the way you think and embrace life!

To succeed you need to develop  what self-help gurus call a GROWTH MINDSET instead of a FIXED MINDSET. 

The FIXED MINDSET says: “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”
The GROWTH MINDSET says: “Maybe I can’t do it now, but I can learn to with time and effort.”

The FIXED MINDSET says: “What if you fail? You’ll be a failure.”
The GROWTH MINDSET says: “Failures pave the way to success.”

The FIXED MINDSET says: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”
The GROWTH MINDSET says: “If I don’t try, I fail automatically. Where’s the dignity in that?”

It can be a very humbling experience learning something new because of a fear of failure. Learn to embrace and appreciate each mistake as a precious opportunity to improve. Learning from your mistakes, rather than allowing them to cripple you, puts you on a fantastic learning curve.  Then start practicing your new skill as well as reminding yourself of your new growth mindset.

Nagging your partner really doesn’t help!

dripping tapNag, nag, nag…. Do you really think nagging your partner is going to change them?

‘A nagging wife [or person] is like water going drip-drip-drip on a rainy day’ (Proverbs 27:15).
How irritating is that. It’s enough to make you want to run away and live on the roof!
‘Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife [or person]’ (Proverbs 25:24).

Have you heard the saying ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’. What terrible advice to give anyone. How about this for better advice.

If at first you don’t succeed REVISE YOUR STRATEGY AND THEN TRY AGAIN.

No matter how much you nag your partner, it’s not going to change them. Agreed? A change of strategy is needed first.

  1. Despite irritating behavior BELIEVE that your partner means well for you and isn’t actually out to get you with their irritating behavior. What you believe affects how you behave.
  2. Love your partner exactly as they are.
  3. Try focusing on their good qualities, actively showing appreciation with words and gestures. Don’t just focus on the negative. Try ignoring these for a while.


What behavior is it exactly that irritates you? Telling your partner that they’re thoughtless or inconsiderate or selfish or anything else like this doesn’t give your partner any clue as to what you’d like them to do differently.

Let’s try an example:

 “You’re so thoughtless you never think of me, you just watch TV all the time”.

In your opinion your partner might be watching too much TV, but that’s your opinion and you won’t get any change with accusations like this. Try to stick to “I feel statements” WITHOUT BLAME.

“I feel ……. (name your feeling) when you ….. (name the behavior) ……. because ……”

“I feel unloved when you carry on watching TV while I’m trying to talk to you because I’d really like to have some quality talk time with you.”

Much better! Now you can negotiate any behavior change and come to an agreement.

And please don’t say things like “My partner SHOULD know by now, I don’t know why I have to keep on repeating myself!” That fact that they might not remember is not an indication of their not loving you rather an indication of their forgetfulness. Just repeat yourself as if it’s the first time.

Related posts:5 Tips for restoring a hurting marriage 

The real definition of relapse and why it matters

Drug and alcohol addiction is often a concurrent problem with depression. Many times drugs and alcohol are used as self-medication for depression. These might seem to help but when the addiction sets in its another story. To successfully treat depression any addictions, that started off as a coping mechanism, need to be faced.


Laura, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout her adult life, contacted me asking me to share a link with you about relapse and why it matters. Laura, thank you for being so open and I’m sure that many readers can identify with you in their own struggles.

This is what Laura wrote:

My name is Laura, I work as a writer and editor. As someone who has battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout my adult life, I’ve always been ashamed to be open and admit it, but since I’ve been receiving treatment I’ve decided to talk more freely about my issues.

Nobody really likes to speak about it, but relapses can and do happen and it’s a major factor on the road to recovery from any sort of addiction. I know from my own recent past it’s often been two steps forward and one step back. I’ve recently been lucky enough to help edit this great article on how to define relapses. It’s important anyone with an addiction knows that it’s not necessarily the end of the world.”

You can read the article here.