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A friend of mine recently died. They were a good person but had a life of alcohol and drugs. I tried to help them all their life; why wouldn't they change?


Thank you so much for getting back in touch and sharing your story with us. I am sorry to hear that this situation has caused you a lot of pain and distress. I will pray for you and your friends family. I hope this answer will help you understand the situation.

After reading your statement and questions a few times I can see that the central theme is this:

"why did my intense efforts to make him well not work??"

The short answer is this:
We cannot change another person; only God can.

God created us and knows us so well. He knitted us all together in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) and knows every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30). Sadly instead of following God and enjoying life with him, we all go our own way under the power of sin in our lives and find comfort in other things. By the sound of it your friend tried to find comfort in drugs, drink, etc. We all try to find comfort and success, though in different ways. For some people it is food, others it can be seemingly good things like work, sport, family, T.V, games etc. People always try and find a substitute for God, but it will never make them satisfied. It is tragic that sometimes the things people turn to in this way are dreadfully destructive, as with alcohol and drug addiction.

There are some possible explanations of why some people choose these things as an answer to life's problems rather than something less destructive, including genetic predisposition, reacting to a disturbed childhood or a personal tragedy such as a painful divorce but the result is always the same in that such addictions are extremely powerful and cause life-threatening harm to the body. You gave support to someone for a long time, but the sad truth is that many supporters find themselves in the same position. Unless the addict is changed from within, no-one else can do it for them.

The fact is that, at our deepest level as sinners, we cannot truly change ourselves or change others. Only God can truly change us by the power of the gospel. He wants all of us to know and follow him:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)

The Good News is that Jesus died to forgive us for the wrong we have done in turning away from God. He lived a perfect life with God the Father guiding him every step of the way. Jesus never did anything wrong. He then died in our place for our sin. He rose again to give us new life. If we trust in Jesus we can be made right with God.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Romans 10:9-10)

We should not blame God for the wrong that happens to us and others. He is not the cause, but he is the only One who can help us through dark times. God is a loving Father to those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. He promises to never leave us. The Bible says:

Be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
 “The Lord is my helper;
 I will not fear;
what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site:

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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