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If a Parent Drinks

Taking a spiritual look at events and issues of special interest to young people.

Some things are hard to sort out when you are young. One of those hard things is what to do when one (or both) of your parents is an alcoholic. If that's the case in your home, or if it was earlier in your life, you know how much you want things to get better. But maybe you feel powerless to help. Or maybe you feel ashamed or afraid: What will happen when your parent comes home at night? What will he or she do?

Prayer is always a good thing for you to do. Prayer is communicating with God, who loves us all. Turning to God makes a real difference. Prayer can happen quietly. You don't have to say any words out loud, so praying quietly like this won't upset anyone. It just helps you feel more and more that God is close and that He cares. Through prayer God helps you find answers.

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For instance, you might feel led by God to get some help from someone else, say, at church or at school. The main thing is, though, that God is always there for you and loves you. You feel His love more when you know Him better. That starts to take away some of the shame and some of the fear.

As we know God better, our prayers do more good. One way to know God is by the name of Father-Mother. A book by Mary Baker Eddy says, "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation" (p. 332). The book is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science. She discovered that when we turn to God, we find that He is as close as our thoughts. Part of that "tender relationship" is not just how you know Him but also how He knows you. He knows you only as good. Never guilty. He knows you are not to blame for what your parents do. God is never ashamed to have you as His child. The relation that Father-Mother God has with you is one that is never broken. It is never a noisy or a scary relationship. And nothing can come between you and God, so nothing can come between you and the care that God gives you.

The Bible says that nothing can "separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39). It was Christ Jesus who proved that nothing could come between our Father-Mother God and His creation. Even when people tried to harm Jesus-and kill him-they couldn't actually succeed in this, because his prayers saved him. God was as close to him as his thought. Even the people who tried to harm him were helped by his prayers.

The presence of God is all the power there is, and it is always at hand. It is as close as your own thought.

There's a story in the Bible about Noah, a man who did many good things. He saved people and animals from a flood, which was great. But another time he got drunk. And two of his sons helped him a lot, by not forgetting the good in his character. If you read about this in Genesis, you may get the feeling they were praying to see the good that God saw in Noah (see chap. 9), and to see through the bad traits their father had displayed. They showed their love for Noah, even when he wasn't behaving with dignity. After that, the Bible doesn't say anything about Noah drinking again.

Sometimes a parent who drinks learns to stop. But it's not your fault if yours doesn't. Either way, you can learn to pray and understand that you are innocent and in the care of God. There's happiness in learning that God sees you-and your parents-as His loved children. And your life will be better.

The wrong people sometimes do isn't even part of their own true being as children of God. As we learn this we can begin to separate the bad from the good about them in our thinking. We can draw a line in thought and see the good about a person as the only real, and the bad as no part of him or her. The good, which is from God, is spiritually true. The bad is not from God, and can't hang on forever, because God doesn't give it any existence or power.

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Learn to pray. Learn to separate the bad things people sometimes do from the people themselves. Learn to see that nobody can ever be separated from the love of God. This will change things for the better for you.

You can find more articles that discuss prayer in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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