How Can a Person with a Compassionate Heart: Help an Addict?

I anticipate receiving some criticism for this perspective, but many compassionate individuals who wish to help those less fortunate often encounter drug addicts or other types of addicts and attempt to assist them. In reality, the most effective way to help them is to accept them as they are, provide them with money for their addiction if needed, and pray for them as they continue on their journey.

I began my ministry with Teen Challenge, and Mary and I extended this work through our Spiritual Boot Camp and Street Fellowship ministries. Our hearts were always full of compassion for those less fortunate. My experience with Teen Challenge equipped me with the skills necessary to work with drug addicts. The key lies in quickly determining the addict’s needs.

If they require money for drugs, the most compassionate and least painful approach is to give them the money, bless them, and send them on their way. The goal is not to judge, convert, or save them but to love and pray for them.

But I Don’t Want to Support Their Addiction

No, you’d rather judge them because they are not like you. This is where your love and compassion fail. Their addiction is not about you, it’s about them, and believe me, you have no idea what they are going through, and you have no clue about how precious this addiction is to them at this time in their life. It is obviously more important than food, a roof over their head, or any resemblance to what you might consider a normal life.

So love them, and give them money to support their addiction, or judge them and love them not. Either way, pray for them. They are doing the best they can with what they have, and so are you. No difference.

However, the approach differs entirely when an addict seeks assistance to change their life circumstances. In such cases, a tailored plan is essential. While a standardized plan may serve as a starting point, it is crucial to remain flexible and adaptable to effectively address each individual’s unique needs, aiding in their personal and spiritual growth.

The conundrum arises when addicts feign a desire to change, which can be particularly enticing for ministries like ours. We have often been deceived by high-functioning drug addicts who exploited our compassion and kindness to gain resources that could have aided many others. Over time, one develops a better sense of identifying these manipulative behaviors and mitigating resource loss.

This scenario is likely experienced by compassionate individuals attempting to help addicts independently. They may open their hearts, wallets, homes, and families to a high-functioning drug addict, who eventually exploits their generosity, leaving them to face the consequences.

Therefore, exercise caution when offering help. Consider supporting experienced ministries or organizations like Teen Challenge, which also assists adults, even though it initially focused on teens when David Wilkerson founded it.

How Can a Person with a Compassionate Heart, Like You, Help an Addict?

Helping a drug addict can be both profoundly rewarding and incredibly challenging, especially if you approach it with a loving and compassionate heart. Many individuals, driven by a deep sense of empathy, feel compelled to reach out to those less fortunate, including drug addicts, to offer assistance and support. This impulse to help is a beautiful testament to human kindness, but it also requires a nuanced understanding of addiction and the complexities involved in providing effective aid.

The Dual Nature of Compassionate Help

Compassionate individuals often find themselves at a crossroads when trying to help drug addicts. On one hand, their unconditional love and desire to help can make a significant positive impact. On the other hand, they might face substantial difficulties due to the unpredictable and often manipulative behaviors associated with addiction.

Loving Them As They Are

One of the most profound ways to help a drug addict is to love them as they are. This means accepting them without judgment and recognizing their humanity despite their struggles. By offering unconditional love, you provide a foundation of trust and support that can be incredibly meaningful to someone battling addiction.

However, this approach also suggests blessing them with some money for drugs and praying for them. This perspective acknowledges that, at times, enabling an addict to meet their immediate needs without trying to change them can be a form of compassionate support. It emphasizes non-judgment and the importance of maintaining a relationship based on respect and empathy.

Practical Support and the Need for Change

When an addict expresses a genuine desire to change their life circumstances, the approach must shift significantly. In these cases, practical support and a structured plan become essential. This is where experience and training, such as that gained through programs like Teen Challenge, come into play. These programs equip individuals with the skills needed to identify the specific needs of addicts quickly and accurately.

The Challenge of Deception

A significant challenge in helping drug addicts is discerning genuine needs from manipulation. High-functioning addicts, in particular, can be adept at exploiting the compassion of others to access resources. This deception can drain valuable resources that could have been used to help others genuinely seeking change.

Experienced ministries and organizations often develop a keen sense of identifying these manipulative behaviors. However, compassionate individuals working independently may find it more difficult to detect such deception, leading to potentially significant emotional and financial losses.

Striking a Balance

The key to effectively helping drug addicts lies in striking a balance between compassion and caution. Here are some guidelines to consider:

    • Unconditional Love: To truly help a drug addict, we must start with acceptance. Loving them as they are, without judgment, is essential. Addiction is a complex struggle, and compassion can be a powerful force for change.
    • Financial Assistance: Sometimes, the most immediate need is money for drugs. While this might seem counterintuitive, providing a small amount can prevent desperate actions and reduce harm. Blessing them without conditions acknowledges their humanity.
    • Prayer: Spiritual support matters. Praying for the addict’s well-being, healing, and transformation can have a profound impact. It connects us to their struggle on a deeper level.

The Realities

    • Individual Needs Vary: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each addict’s circumstances differ, so flexibility is crucial. A cookie-cutter approach won’t suffice.
    • High-Functioning Addicts: Some addicts are adept at manipulation. They exploit compassion, draining resources meant for others. Recognizing these con artists is vital.
    • Balancing Caution and Kindness: We must exercise caution when we want to help. Offering resources—whether money, shelter, or emotional support—requires discernment. Protecting ourselves and others is essential.

Practical Steps

    • Educate Yourself: Learn about addiction, its signs, and available resources. Understand the local support systems.
    • Collaborate with Experienced Organizations: Ministries like Teen Challenge have expertise. Supporting established programs ensures resources reach those who genuinely seek change.
    • Set Boundaries: Compassion doesn’t mean being naive. Set clear boundaries to prevent exploitation.

Helping a drug addict with a loving and compassionate heart is a noble but complex endeavor. It requires a delicate balance of acceptance, practical support, and awareness of potential manipulation. By approaching this challenge with an open heart and a discerning mind, compassionate individuals can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction while also protecting their own well-being and resources.

Drama or Dream

You have been charged with living out your journey as a human being on this planet. Yes, you came as a divinely inspired being with a purpose, plan, and your own song to sing, but likely have lost sight of this through the process of living your life to the best of your cognizant abilities.

With every breath you take every step you make in every moment of your life it is up to you to decide to experience episodic

Drama or Dream

The Choice is Yours

Any time you feel poorly, when you feel slighted, misunderstood, shamed, ridiculed, threatened, or victimized, it is up to you whether you will see this feeling and the scene that follows play out as drama or dream, the choice is yours.

If you feel, for any reason, your life is one with consummate drama, you will respond to any ill feeling in a way which charges the impending scenario with negative energy which will play out in a dramatic scene. Your response will feel justified in the outset but will have you feeling worse once the scene has played itself out.

On the other hand, if you respond to ill feelings with love, love will find a way to turn the scenario in a more pleasing direction. The charge in the Bible’s Matthew 5:44 supports this advice divinely, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

This concept is nothing new and was previously noted in Proverbs 15:1 with, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Simple social science at work, even thousands of years ago.

Let’s face it,

Life is a bitch

More like a drunk ass

Life will throw all kinds of opportunities for you to choose drama or dream, it’s a bitch, or more like a drunk who’s had one too many, who is invading your space or pushing your buttons.

If a drunk bumps into you, causing you to spill your drink (chocolate milk), it’s up to you to make a decision. Will you put a negative spin on this, or will you approach the situation with love?

Want drama?

Your initial reaction would be to push the drunk back, and no one would blame you for asserting yourself in the defense of your personal space. When you look into the drunk’s eyes, you can see a lifetime of pain welling up which turns to rage, and now you’ve got a fight on your hands. The repercussions of which could tarry on for some time depending on how the fight goes.

How about the dream?

Or, when the drunk bumps into you, you can smile, put your hand on his should and say, “Whoa, Nelly! What happened to your sea legs, sailor?” As you look into the drunk’s eye, you can see a lifetime of pain. When he looks back at you, seeing eyes filled with love and you’re smiling at him, he feels loved, even for the slightest moment, and this simple gesture, you’re showing a bit of kindness, may be the bright spot in the drunk’s day (possibly his entire life). He might even offer to buy you another chocolate milk.

Does it work every time?

Though it may look like it doesn’t, or it may look like an utter failure at the outset, your kindness is remembered. It may take time and some other kindness shown by others to break through the thick walls which people who have experienced a great deal of pain in their life have built around their hearts to protect themselves from ever being hurt again.

So, they may respond inappropriately. They may reject your kindness.

Instead of being offended, maybe you could muster enough love in you to have compassion for someone in this condition. For God’s sake, don’t point out that you are aware of the drunk’s condition. Just remember that if it weren’t for God’s grace, you might be in the same place as the drunk.

Even if you do not see the immediate rewards for your benevolent act, it does work every time. After all, he’s doing the best he can with what he has, and aren’t all of us just doing the same?

Just love him and bless him as he makes it through another day. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for, maybe not, but we are no better than he, for in our own ways, we can be a little reckless and bump into things in life which catch us by surprise, too.

It’s on you, whether you live your life in drama or dream by simply choosing love over defense.

Alienation Does Not Serve You

No need to alienate your friends just because you no longer see eye-to-eye about some things. You may no longer desire to engage in particular activities which no longer resonate with you but you don’t have to run away and hide. Alienation does not serve you nor the greater good.

There may have been a time when finding socially acceptable ways to wile away the hours with meaningless activities such as watching the TV, shopping for designer items, frequenting bars and clubs, rushing to keep up with the Joneses, engaging in mind-numbing activities.

Now that your conscious is expanding outside the box of social structure you will find yourself less interested in all the drama of life. You find it more difficult to engage in conversations about what is wrong with the world, how exciting sports can be, how to improve on your personal appearance, comparing yourself with others, pointing out others’ shortcomings.

You are no longer interested in talking about what the current fads are, what’s the next item you must buy to make you feel better. Gossiping or stalking the lives of others whether they be neighbors or celebrities no longer interests you.

Even so, there’s no reason to cut yourself out of social interaction altogether. Even though there is a noticeable and apparent demarcation between a life of light and that of darkness does not mean you have to resign yourself to a solitary existence.

St Paul set forth the best example when he asserted that his approach was to attempt to relate to all peoples to “become all things to all men.” If he was talking to a Jew, he would relate to him like a Jew. He would adopt the same respect and honor, as if he were one of them, whatever their profession or station in life, whether they be attorneys, law enforcement officials, broken, or homeless. He saw himself as a servant to all men, equal to but never better than whoever he was in the presence of. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

When in the presence of someone who remains in the dark, you are honored to see him or her as your equal. You are no better because you choose to live in the light than anyone who chooses to remain in the darkness.

You are not threatened by any assertion by someone who is in the dark for you honor their right to believe whatever it is that they believe. You don’t take it personally if they accuse you of being or doing something wrong. There is no reason to argue or debate because you know that he or she has the same right to their truth as you do yours.

Besides, all truth is truth, no matter where it resides within the truth continuum.

So, even if someone’s truth does not resonate with you, you honor their truth as being true, and bless them for believing in something, for even to believe in nothing is a valid truth for some.

You might long to share your findings and new ideas with those within or on the fringes of your special network, but you have such a great deal of respect for them and their beliefs, that you may have to squelch your ideas, conversations, or presentations, so as not to offend them.

You can live “in the world” and not have to be “of the world,” honoring those who are, thereby leveling the playing field and having no negative impact on others. From life in the light, no one is broken, needs fixing, or is ever wrong.

People who live in the darkness live in fear and cannot handle too much in the form of new ideas, they can get violently upset at having their beliefs challenged, so don’t do it. Being gentle, loving, and empathetic is the order of the day when associating with them. It’s the least you can do, because wouldn’t you want to be treated that way?

I Am Evil and Hatred

I am evil and hatred. All that is evil, the propensity to be the worst person you can ever imagine, engaging in the deepest and darkest deeds imaginable, is part of who I am.

I have been in the presence of the worst, most hated, and despicable individuals, some regarded as the most evil humans to step foot on our planet, and I am just like them.

If I see myself as no better than someone who might be considered as a “bad person” then I am free to separate the sinner from the sin.

Any one of us is one heartbeat away from being one of these individuals. There are falsely accused innocent people branded as “evil.” There are good and decent, loving and upstanding citizens who are doing time behind bars, or on death row, for one misstep, miscalculation, or the moment when overcome by emotion.

We all have the same propensity to be as vile as any other one of us.

Just befriending the wrong person, trusting someone who couldn’t be trusted, or being in the wrong place at the right time, could make even someone as self-righteous as yourself infamous in the worst possible way(s).

Just because someone does something you dislike or despise, doesn’t justify reacting like a knee-jerk fascist, nor does being able to separate the sinner from the sin make you a bleeding-heart pacifist.

It’s just a knowingness that in spite of the word being as disconjointed as it is, we are all in this together. We are all one.

We all have been sold a bill of goods. We have been led to believe that hate is an appropriate approach to smashing out hate when the truth is only love can abolish hate. Hate exponentially engenders more hate, suspicion creates suspicion, violence begets violence, evil promotes evil, and wars lead to more wars.

When wars and rumors of wars are pervasive on our planet, it infects the whole world, no matter how far from the source of conflict you might be.

When you let someone, who does something bad make you feel bad, you have allowed yourself to be infected with the virus which breaks down everything good within us and keeps us separated one from another.

You spread the virus and become the problem, potentially become that which you hate, and promoting the pervasive evil which is leading to the breakdown of all human potential.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

When you feel like you are superior to someone else, you deny our sameness and keep yourself separated from the rest of humanity.

No one is suggesting that you condone the wrongdoings of others, only to remain consciously compassionate enough to realize that under different circumstances, you might have reacted, said, or done the same thing.

You disarm your enemy when you do not respond to hate with hate. When you counter attack your opponent with hate, your opponent wins. The person who has offended you has infiltrated your heart and infected you with his or her virus.

This virus persists and spreads until it is treated with the vaccine of love. Responding to that which offends you with love not only disarms your opponent but injects a bit of love vaccine into your opponent.

Responding to hate with love is the only hope for peace and harmony visiting planet Earth on a global scale.

When I see myself as being just as evil and possessing as much hatred as anyone else, I am empowered to make the decision not to follow the path to evil, and with every breath choose to do that which is good, proper, and in harmony with the life, I choose to lead.

Awkward Desire to Help

You see someone struggling and you feel compassionate toward them and you’re vacillating in that awkward zone… You want to offer your heartfelt compassion, support, input, or assistance but you’re obviously feeling uncomfortable and discombobulated. You find yourself struggling with an awkward desire to help in some way. What can you do when you want to help someone who hasn’t asked for help?

You must first recognize that you are under no obligation to help anyone who is struggling. In fact, your offering assistance to someone who is struggling through a difficult challenge or process can hinder their propensity to learn an invaluable skill or far greater lesson leading to greater opportunity and change in his or her life.

Keep this in mind before you reach out to someone in an attempt to help them but always find a way to communicate that you love and/or care for them. You can gently nudge them or make suggestions of things they might try but be careful not to offer to do it (whatever it is) for him or her.

Remember that no one is broken or wrong. Everyone is on their own divine path. You can probably think back to times in your life that were very difficult. You might have even thought you could not possibly live through such a difficult experience, yet you did. Not only did you live through it but going through the experience opened the door to new possibilities and a better life for you. You wouldn’t want to rob someone else from a similar experiential expansion.

If your heart is pure and filled with compassion (not judgment) you can offer a little something-something to help him or her through this awkward moment in time.

I have learned (the hard way) that you cannot help the people you love and care about by taking them under your wing and supporting them by doing more for themselves than they are willing to do with themselves. This also applies to the coach/client relationship. You can show them the way, but you are doing both yourself and your client a disservice by trying to do it for them.

You can help someone with all the best intentions and might be surprised to find out the person you’re trying to help doesn’t value or want your help at all. Try not to let your feeling get hurt if someone doesn’t appreciate your offer to help. Remember that it’s not about you. It’s about the person you’re feeling compassionate about. Don’t make it about you. Bless them, and let them find their own way, and don’t take it personally.

Everyone is entitled to their own perspective. You can’t possibly know what is going on inside someone else’s head, and in their world, they may be working their ass off, exerting all the effort and abilities they have dealing with their own issues and battling their own demons. Maybe what they need is the space to deal with their own issues.

Also, consider that everyone is different. This person might be in their own Nirvana, which might look like hell to you, and you might be feeling sorry for them because you would feel awful if you were in that situation. Allow them to enjoy the place there are in if that’s what they want. To expect them to see their life from your perspective would be abusive.

Sometimes a person can find comfort in their painful situation. Being in this difficult place in their life might be a powerful part of their identity and personality. They might feel safe and secure (as odd as that might appear to you) when they are in this situation. They may not want to change or see any need to change the life they have become so accustomed to.

In some cases, someone who could really use a hand might not accept it from a person who cannot identify with their current status. If they are going through something and they know you have no idea about what they are going through, they might be unlikely to accept any assistance from you, even reject you. Again. Don’t take it personally. Bless them and allow the right person to be attracted to them who might be able to understand better where they are and what they’re going through.

It’s not your job to save the world.

You cannot, and you are never expected to, save everyone.

We can have incredible resources, skills and special abilities to help other people, but we must focus on those to whom we are vibrationally a match to. Even so, don’t be too enthusiastic about helping someone more than they are willing to help themselves.

Feel free to help, as you are inspired to do, but match their efforts to help themselves side-by-side, step for step, nothing more, love and bless them, no matter what.

Fear Disguised as Compassion

How many times has someone rained on your parade or tried to put the kibosh on your idea(s) or squash your dreams? It happens all the time, and usually includes, “I care about you so much,” or, “I’m just looking out for your best interests,” but it’s really only fear disguised as compassion.

They don’t really care about you, or else they’d be more supportive. Okay, that was harsh, maybe they do care about you, but they’ve let their fear override taking the higher road of loving and supporting you to achieve your highest and best.

Let’s face it, most people are governed by fear. It’s the way we’ve been taught to live life on this planet, in a constant state of fear. Fear from the government or the police, fear of not being accepted by others or doing good enough. This is how we are easily controlled and herded like sheep, in a constant state of fear… and if things get too good or comfortable, look out. Because something very frightening is about to happen to make sure you’re slapped back into the state of fear.

We project these fear(s) onto the people we supposedly care about and we do our best to cover it up to make it look like compassion, like we care so much about whoever it is we’re “trying to protect,” when really, we’re projecting our own fear onto him or her.

Maybe you’ve done this (I know I have). When my brother was deciding to make a particular life choice that would have huge impact on the remainder of his life, I did my best to dissuade him from pursuing this path, and to me, it really felt like compassion, or more, like I was trying to save him from making the most tragic decision of his life.

Why? Because I was truly afraid for him (but not really). The truth was, I had made a similar choice early on in my life, with hugely less than desirable results. I did not want the same thing to happen to him. But guess what? I wasn’t him.

He maintained his position and stayed true to what he felt was his calling and became hugely successful following this endeavor. In retrospect, I can look back and see, my compassionate concern had little or nothing to do with my brother’s decision and everything to do with my fear based on my experience. Nothing to do with my brother and everything to do with me.

Since then, I’ve realized that we’re all uniquely different and we all are doing the best we can with what we have. Two people can do exactly the same things, step-by-step, and have entirely different results. One could go through the experience with invaluable yet harsh lessons to be learned in preparation for his or her next phase of life, the other wildly successful.

Now, I am more cautious about cautioning others who are pursuing their dreams.

Since I’m in the dream business, I am constantly surrounded by people pursuing their dreams. So much so, that I am often surprised when I find myself in a public venue politely engaging in chit-chat and discover most people are not pursuing their dreams.

I forget, sometimes, that the rest of the world is so fearful, and they have given up on the hope that their dreams would ever come true, except for the hope of maybe winning the lottery, one day.

Most of them can recall a time when they were more optimistic about potential positive outcomes, had a dream, took a shot at it, and was either not supported, or failed, and just gave up on it, as if it was just some childish fantasy.

And as we know, misery loves company, so those who had a dream and walked away from it, fearing that it wouldn’t come true anyway, try to gather people “we care about” around us, and persuade them to feel the same way we do, in their best interests.

With the best intentions, we try to gently smash their dreams, because we fear they will suffer the same heartbreak that we did when we had a dream.

How dare we do that?

If you really cared about that person (you were trying to save from himself or herself) you would boldly support them in their pursuit of his or her dreams.

Shame on you (me, or anyone) for projecting my fear onto someone else.

Surely, you may share your experience with him or her, being careful not to communicate in any way that you might not be 100% supportive of their decision and effort to follow their dreams. Maybe you’re sharing your experience will help them avoid a potential pitfall as they go forward and seek to achieve their highest and best.

Therein is the redemption for your experience or failure. Every misstep or failure has a lesson in it. In most cases, the lesson is for you, but maybe, in this case, it was for that person who has raised the courage to go for their dream.

We all have our own individual paths to follow and journey to embark upon, celebrate those who have the drive to be true to themselves. Maybe they stumble and fall along the way. Support them, help them get up and back on their feet again. Be there for them, when they need a shoulder to lean on, but never say, “I told you so.” Instead, say,

“I love you and I will support you in whatever you decide to do, because I believe in you, and you will do what is right for you.”

If you really care about them, bless and support them for going for it no matter what.