“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 2:19
Addiction to anything apart from Jesus Christ is sin. It’s true that almost any addiction may make a person sick. But to excuse drunkenness and whitewash it by calling it a “disease” is to minimize it and almost deny the problem exists.
If drunkenness is a “sickness,” it’s the only disease:
- that is contracted by an act of the will;
- that requires a license for distribution;
- that is bottled and sold;
- that requires outlets for its sale;
- that produces revenue for the government;
- that promotes crime;
- that is habit-forming;
- that is promoted by untold millions of dollars of advertising;
- for which we are fined and imprisoned when we exhibit its adverse symptoms;
- which produces thousands of deaths on our highways each month;
- which has no bacterial or viral cause, and for which there is no corrective medicine.
You may be saying, “How do I know whether I am really addicted to alcohol, or I just like drink?”
Many years ago a man who had been delivered from drunkenness traveled across this country lecturing on the evils of alcohol. He told me ten simple questions to ask to find out if someone is really addicted. If you answer yes to one of the questions, you may be an addict; if you answer yes to any two, you probably are addicted to alcohol; if you answer yes to three or more, you definitely are an alcoholic.
- Do I crave a drink at a specific time each day?
- Do I gulp my drinks and sneak extras?
- Do I drink to relieve feelings of inadequacy?
- Do I drink to escape worry and to dispel the blues?
- Do I drink when overly tired in order to “get a grip”?
- Is drinking affecting my peace of mind?
- Is drinking making my home life unhappy?
- Do I prefer to drink alone?
- Do I require a drink the “next morning”?
- Do I miss time at work or am I ineffective on the job because of my drinking?
Many excuse their propensity for drunkenness by saying it doesn’t hurt anyone but themselves. But is this really true?
As I write this, I have just finished reading a news report about anti-nuclear power plant protesters in my state. They take their cause very seriously. But isn’t alcoholism a much greater threat to our safety?
What if sixty or seventy people were killed daily by malfunctioning nuclear power plants? What if such problems seriously injured 1,500 people daily? What if the presence of nuclear power plants caused another 250 people to suffer permanent brain damage daily? What if the existence of those power plants caused fifteen people to commit suicide every day? What if it caused from 1,500 to 3,500 parents to abuse their children every day? What if it caused $35 billion a year in damages?
Our federal government would outlaw nuclear power plants immediately!
Yet the above tells the story of damage caused by alcohol – and not only is it not outlawed, it is seen as a good source of a large tax base for local, state, and federal governments.
How low have we slipped? A full decade ago we already knew alcohol was a leading cause of 50% of all automobile fatalities, 80% of all home violence, 60% of all child abuse, and 30% of all suicides.
So, there is no way drinking can be justified by a believer. If you find yourself addicted to alcohol and you’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, that’s the first step. No human power can set you free, only the divine power that comes by trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior.
If you are a Christian and you’re struggling in this area, there is wonderful hope for you. Jesus Christ already lives within you, His power and love can set you free from the bondage to drink!
COUNSEL FROM GOD’S WORD
Steps that will set you free from alcoholism:
- Admit that drunkenness is a sin, not just a social problem.
God’s Word says, “Wine is a mocker, and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Solomon also observed:
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind imagine confusing things (Proverbs 23:29-33).
The New Testament certainly isn’t silent about the sin of drunkenness. The apostle Paul states clearly: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery” (Ephesians 5:18).
Don’t rationalize your drinking away and produce excuses about why you can’t help yourself. The quicker you acknowledge that getting drunk is a sin against God and others, the quicker you can be delivered.
- Decide now to never drink alcohol beverages again. Don’t try to ‘taper’ off slowly.
God wants you to walk away from alcoholism now and decide to never drink again. You may feel you’re too weak to make the commitment, but it can be done. Remember, you have almighty God and His Word to back you up!
Don’t forget that we “can do everything through him who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13). The Lord promises, “Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how bad your problem is, God invites you to “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
God has promised to provide His presence and His power for you to forsake this sin.
- Establish new friends and relationships.
One reason many cannot stop drinking is that all the friends they keep drink. If that’s true for you, seek immediately to establish acquaintances and build friendships with teetotalers, so the temptation to drink when you’re with others won’t occur. Scripture warns: “Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
- Become accountable to a group of godly people and meet regularly with them.
“Iron sharpens iron.” It makes a positive difference when we have someone to whom to report weekly, someone who is willing to ask us the hard questions. Elisha had Elijah, Timothy had Paul. You need someone too.
James tells us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
- Remember that if for some reason you slip and drink again, God’s grace is adequate and His forgiveness is available.
God won’t erase the consequences of our failure and sin, but 1 John 1:9 tells us God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins. Even in our times of greatest discouragement, the Lord says to us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). That’s a great and reassuring promise of God for you.
- Remind yourself daily why it’s wrong for you to drink.
Alcoholism is wretched. Never forget that:
- It harms your body;
- it makes you a slave;
- it is poor stewardship of your time, money, and health;
- it may cause another believer to fall into sin;
- it dishonors the Holy Spirit who has made your body His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16);
- it supports an industry whose product brings poverty and death.