Man Overboard

When we see someone drowning, our natural instinct is to dive in.  But if we’re not careful, we can end up sinking too.

That’s the nature of addiction.  Like a pebble in a pond, it ripples outwards, drawing in, not just the sufferer, but all those in its path.

Addicts in particular, exert a certain ‘pull’. It’s agonising to watch – and even harder to help.  But there’s a difference between caring about someone and taking responsibility for them.  You don’t want to drown with them.  Instead, you want to throw them a rope.

Strong love means saying no as well as yes.


– No to doing the things they should be doing themselves.

– No to covering up for them or hiding their mistakes.

– No to the guilt that tries to fix another person.

– No to the temptation to clean everything up.


The truth is this: none of us has the power to rescue anyone else. We can help and love and challenge – but that’s not the same thing.

This is a mistake that Glen and I made for many years. As the ‘victim’ of an addiction,  I demanded from him what no man could provide.  He in turn tried to  ‘save’ me by serving my demands.    Instead of husband and wife we acted like  patient and carer.  Neither of us were happy. Both of us were trapped.

For us to move forward, we had to look to Christ, instead of to each other.

Why? Because no-one but Christ can bear the weight of another person’s salvation.  If we try to carry it, it will crush us instead.


2 thoughts on “Man Overboard

  1. “no-one but Christ can bear the weight of another person’s salvation.” So true and yet how easily I slip into either role, that of victim or rescuer. My husband and I have been trying our best to drown each other for nearly twenty years! We met young and I think were drawn together in part because of our addictive tendencies. Our weaknesses fed each other to some degree, and seeing Christ for who he is has been the only hope for our marriage. No seminars or books or formulas have ever helped. Only Jesus, the lifeguard!

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