Adult Children of Alcoholics

Being an adult child of an alcoholic has its own flesh patterns and they are not all the same. Suppose there are three boys being raised by an alcoholic father. As the addiction cycle escalates into domestic violence, the three boys all respond differently. The older boy stands up to the father when he comes home in a threatening manner. When threatened, he threatens back. The middle son accommodates his dad and tries to placate him. The younger brother runs and hides.

Thirty years later the father is long gone. The boys are now middle aged adults. When threatened by others, how do you think they will respond? The older brother will fight. The middle brother will accommodate, and the younger brother will avoid confrontation. Such are the nature of flesh patterns or mental strongholds burned into our minds over time. Can that be changed? If we have learned the wrong way to respond to life situations, can we learn differently? If we have been trained wrong, can we be retrained? If we have developed bad habits, can we replace those bad habits with good habits? If we have believed a lie, can we renounce that lie and choose the truth? Of course we can. How?

Repentance literally means a change in mind. This is what should be happening when we attend church and hear a good message. Every time we read our bibles or read a good book we are reprogramming our minds. But that is not all that is going on. We are not just up against the world, and we are not just struggling to crucify our flesh. We are up against the world, the flesh, and the devil. If we want to grow in the grace of God, we have to reprogram our minds, but we better check for viruses. Computer viruses are not accidental. They have been maliciously inserted to destroy the system, and such is the nature of the spiritual battle that is going on for our minds.

Suppose the three boys mentioned above have now become Christians. The flesh patterns are still there, but they are slowly growing out of their old ways of thinking about themselves and how to deal with conflict. Since there is no delete button, the flesh is still waging war against the Spirit, but the three have found a good church and they are replacing bad habits with better ways of responding. However, the devil is relentless and will remind them of their past and their hatred toward their father. The accuser knows what buttons to push. The need to forgive their father will likely be the biggest issue they face in finding their freedom in Christ. Hopefully they will discover who they are in Christ, forgive their father as Jesus has forgiven them.

Dr. Neil

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