Alcoholism and Unanswered Prayer

8 Apr

Prayer simply does not work.  It just doesn’t.  I know this to be true…let me tell you how I know.

My sister is an alcoholic.  She has been abusing for over 25 years.  Frankly, I’m amazed that she is still alive.  The sad thing, is that she is incredibly smart and clever.  Unfortunately, her alcoholism has just about ripped my family of origin to shreds.  Her disease has stolen countless holidays away from my family.  I have spent hundreds of hours on the phone, praying with her, listening to her, only to discover that she has been lying to me.  It’s hard to describe the absolute alternate reality that invades your world when an addict chooses to target you for daring to call a spade a spade.  Truth and addictions do not mix well…

As the old joke goes, “When can you tell when an addict is lying?  Anytime their lips are moving…!”  Except, it’s not really funny.  In fact, it’s heartbreaking.

When I was in college, I would pray for hours for my sister’s recovery from drugs and alcohol.  Literally for hours upon end, interceding on her behalf.  Asking, seeking, knocking, crying, begging, ….I was exhausted from the effort of trying to hope and pray my sister out of the devils grip.  And this is how I know prayer doesn’t work.  It didn’t matter how many people I asked to pray, or how many times I prayed….it didn’t help.

Looking back , I realize that either God had the power to do something, but chose not to….or He isn’t there.  If He is there, but has chosen not to help, than He is a cosmic jerk.  If He’s not there (which is what I suspect), than I was just wasting my time.  Either way, it was a waste of time.

I have many more thoughts on the subject, but I’m too tired and emotional to continue…but I will.  I must, because although the truth sucks rotten eggs sometimes, it’s better than living a lie. Whether I like it or not, this is my truth.


8 Responses to “Alcoholism and Unanswered Prayer”

  1. randallslack April 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    My oldest brother rebelled at 15 and ran away from home. From the time he was 15 through 18, he would cut school, use drugs, drink, and cause my parents (and the whole family) great pain. The fighting was almost every day and holidays usually ended in physical fights.

    I became the “peacemaker.” Anytime there was a problem, I was called to deal with it. I prayed for my brother, counseled him, and even saw him give his life to Jesus. he went to church, read the word, even witnessed. But inevitably, he would fall back into drugs and alcohol. This went on until he was 55 years old. On the last day of his life, he walked to the middle of the freeway and at 11 o’clock in evening, he stepped in front of a car going 70 mph. He was killed instantly.

    I came to realize that no matter how much I prayed, he had to make up his mind. God will not violate our free will. We decide.

    I’m sorry for your heart ache, CA.

    • christianagnostic April 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks…but not nearly as heartbreaking as your brother. I am so sorry….

      You used the “peacemaker” word…that’s exactly the word I would have used to describe my role. I was the one my parents would call when they needed to vent. I was the one my sister would call when her life was spiraling out of control. But I couldn’t do it anymore…neither of them ever related to me as just me. It was killing me, so I refused to do it anymore. It didn’t win me any popularity contests, but at least it allowed my an arms length from the drama and chaos.

  2. randallslack April 9, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    That’s exactly what I finally had to do. I took a Job in Oklahoma (my family is in California) and now live in Texas. My parents are still alive as well as one brother and two sisters. The family has never recovered from it. We rarely speak. I had get away for my marriage and my sanity.

    • christianagnostic April 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      So sad…very similar to our situation. My family and large extended family live on the east coast, but I took a job on the west coast. In part, I took the job to get away from the toxic family dynamics. Like you said, it was good for my marriage and family life. But it comes at a cost.

      I haven’t seen my parents in almost 3 years, my extended family in 8 years, and while my kids are really doing well…I’m envious when I hear a friend mention that there folks are watching the kids, or an uncle comes to one of my kid’s baseball games.

      While I don’t regret my choices, the regret is seeing the loss of relationships in the wake of the alcoholism. I don’t think my sister will ever understand how much it cost those around her. I don’t blame her, I really have come to see alcoholism as a disease, and not just a clear cut moral choice. But that doesn’t make it easier, it just brings clarity to move on.

      Randall, thanks again for your comments….I appreciate the honesty in your voice.

  3. randallslack April 10, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    CA: There are, I believe, such a thing as “toxic” people. They come in all walks of life, even in the church. It is best, I have found, to hold them at arms length. While it breaks your hear when they are family members, if you let them get too close, they will poison your lives as well.

    It is indeed a very sad thing to say…but I have found it to be true.

    I haven’t see my parents since1985, although we speak on the phone after 10 years of silence. (When my brother killed himself, we “reconciled” with some qualifiers).

    I wouldn’t even know how to get a hold of my brother or sisters. My friends here in Texas have big family reunions, and just can’t understand my situation. It breaks my heart.

    Hope you have a great day, my friend.

  4. mary December 13, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    Just lost my little brother to alcohol, my olderbrother 4 months ago. I think our families prayer took them home. They have gone home because they could not do it anymore. Lord how they suffered. I still have faith and I know a loving God has taken them home.

    • christianagnostic December 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm #


      I’m very sorry to hear about losing two brothers to alcohol.

      I won’t argue with your faith, I’m glad that you’ve found some comfort in the midst of what must be very difficult.

      peace to you….CA

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