Caring for Adult<br> 
Children of Alcoholics

Churches can help adult children of alcoholics find healing.

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Overview

Adult children of alcoholics are realizing their personal problems are frequently related to the fact that they grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent. While experts are focusing on these inner battles, what can Christians do to help such people? Many of them struggle with depression, anger, bitterness, or serious psychological disorders. Why is the church in a unique position to care for them on their road to recovery?

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 9:18–27; Deuteronomy 5:1–9; Jeremiah 31:29–34; Ezekiel 18:1–23; Matthew 6:12, 18:21–35; Ephesians 6:1–4

LEADER'S GUIDE

    • The Issue

Sample questions:

Why do you think an adult child of an alcoholic parent would cry out during a period of depression, “I don’t want any more responsibility”?

In what ways does an alcoholic parent stifle the character growth of his or her child?

    • The Scriptures

Sample Scriptures:

In Genesis 9:18–27, why did Noah curse his grandson Canaan? What role did alcohol play in disrupting the relationships in Noah’s family?

In Ephesians 6:1–4, Paul exhorts parents and children to behave toward each other in a particular way. Give examples of what you think he means. Place Paul’s instructions in the context of a family with an alcoholic parent(s).

    • The Application

Sample application questions:

In what ways might your church minister to adult children of alcoholics?

How has Sell’s article reminded you of the critical responsibilities parents have in nurturing their children?

    • Recommended Resources

ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY

    • Sins of the Fathers (and Mothers), by Charles M. Sell (September 1990, 13 printed pages)

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