And what about "addictions"? Again, there are opposing views; those who say "addiction" should be dropped into the growing list of mental illnesses vs. others who say not. Then there are those who recognize and understand that oftentimes the mentally ill self-medicate by using drugs and/or alcohol, thereby exacerbating the problem. No matter how you view it, Christians are dealing with addicted family members and other loved ones in alarming numbers.

In her gut-wrenchingly honest book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children (Harvest House, 2007), Allison Bottke tells the story of her son and the addictions that nearly destroyed him, the relationship she had with her son, and the end results of spiritual growth (on both parts), personal maturity, and the consequences of enabling.

Having an adult child with a mental disorder/illness or addiction complicates the lives of everyone involved. As little children, we feel we can “control” whatever behaviors come our way. But once our children become adults, the tide of control can quickly change.

Bottke concurs: “Our biggest problem isn’t about our adult child’s inability to wake up when their alarm clock rings, or their inability to keep a schedule, or their inability to hold down a job or pay their bills. It’s not about their drug use or alcohol addictions. It’s not about the mess they’re making of their life. The main problem is about the part we’re playing in stepping in to soften the blow of the consequences that come from the choices they make. The main problem is us. Instead of praying to God to stop the pain, remove the difficulty, or change the life of our adult child, we must rise up and pray for something entirely different. We must pray for the courage to look deep in our own heart and soul—pray for the strength to begin a journey that quite possibly may change our own life—and pray for the wisdom to make new choices in our own life.”

Additionally, we must pray for a new kind of grace...

(to be continued...)

[1] Deborah Gray, MSW, MPA is a clinical social workers who specializes in attachment, trauma, neglect, and grief. She is the author of two books: Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents (2002) and Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma (2007) both published by Perspectives Press.

Eva Marie Everson’s book Reflections of Israel; A Personal Journey to God’s Holy Land (Thomas Nelson/Nelson Bibles) will release May, 2008. For more information about the book and Eva’s speaking topics, go to: