Prayers during a Pandemic: For Those Managing Addiction and Controlling Behaviors

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people who struggle with addiction, substance abuse or misuse, and controlling behaviors. People speak differently about their own experiences with unwanted behaviors, such as misusing or abusing alcohol or drugs, struggles around food, struggles with gaming, gambling, and shopping, and self-harm, as well as restrictions on behavior, such as eating, that they do not wish to engage in. We honor the language they use to speak about themselves and aspire to use language that recognizes their dignity, their individual experiences, and their right to describe their lives in language of their choosing.

Today we think of those who struggle with behaviors they do not want to engage in. We think of those who struggle against alcohol or drug abuse and misuse; those who struggle with eating disorders; those who struggle with gambling, gaming, shopping, or other socially acceptable hobbies that present a problem for them; those who live with obsessive compulsive disorder; those who struggle with harmful restrictions and other self-destructive behaviors; and those who, in the words of the apostle Paul, may feel that they “do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” We lift up people at every stage in the journey of recognition and recovery.

We pray for those we don’t know. We pray for those we do, including [names of people we know struggle against unwanted behaviors, including ourselves]. We pray for all those who love and care for them, too, including their friends, family members, roommates, physicians, therapists, and support partners. We pray for the people who love them to be strong, encouraging, and patient.

We pray for everyone who is currently without access to the care and support they need. Our hope is that they find it. We pray for them to find wells of unknown inner strength, to be able to practice thoughts and beliefs that affirm their dignity and the dignity of others, and to practice compassion for themselves. We pray for them peace of heart; calm, wise minds; emotional regulation; physical ease; and pleasure and joy that reinforce choices that support their health. We pray for people who stumble to “bounce forward,” to be gracious to themselves as they continue their hard work. Our hope for them is that they always find the arms of others to lift them up, hold them, and carrying them, even when others cannot be physically near.

We are thankful for people who model resilience and courage for us.

A work made of oil on canvas.

Above, Monet’s Poppy Field, Giverny (1890/1891). This is one of four canvases he painted of the poppies near his home. Sometimes you can see the individual flowers, and sometimes they blend together. I think there is something comforting about this painting–the mix of distinct and indistinct flowers and trees, the sense that the poppies return each year and this moment is one season of a longer story.

Many national organizations devoted to recovery hold online meetings. While they are not for everyone, if you find them helpful, consider participating in one. Other organizations offer hotlines for you to get help even in the moment of a crisis.

AA online:

NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is currently offering support by text for people struggling with mental illness, including emotional dysregulation or self-harm: Text NAMI to 741741.



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