DEFINITION: An alcoholic is one who is unable to control drinking alcoholic substances, a person who is controlled by the desire, abuse, and misuse of alcohol. Their drinking is compulsive and out of control. Habitual use results in uncontrolled addiction.
FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOLISM:
Alcohol can be addictive. Alcohol in the form of dinner wine is accepted in some cultures and is also used for medicinal purposes, but when used improperly it can become an addiction. When used in cooking, the alcoholic content is destroyed.
Wine in the Bible. The word “wine” in the Bible can mean either unfermented or fermented fruit of the vine. Priests were forbidden to drink wine (Leviticus 10:9) and kings were counseled not to drink it (Proverbs 31:4)–and we are called kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6). Jesus refused wine for medicinal purposes while on the cross (Mark 15:23), but drank of the cup at the Last Supper. The water that Jesus turned to wine could have been fermented or unfermented–we are not told. Personal conviction should be exercised in this area when wine is not an addictive issue.
You are not doomed for life. There is a slogan that says “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic“ This statement is not true about a born-again believer who is a new creature in Christ. It does not mean that you cannot be delivered from alcoholism, but it does mean this is an area of temptation where you must continually be on guard. If you are or have been an alcoholic, you cannot drink ever again. Not even one drink!
Alcoholism can be passed down through families. Children of alcoholics tend to become alcoholics themselves–perhaps through learned behavior and/or generational spirits. This does not mean you can blame your alcoholism on your parents, however. You must take responsibility for your own addiction and deal with it so that you will not pass on this tendency to your own children.
Alcoholism is not a disease, it is a choice. If alcoholism is a disease it is the only one contracted by an act of the will; the only disease that is habit-forming; the only disease that promotes crime and brutality; and the only disease that is sold in a bottle in a store, and in some places, taxed by the government.
You are not alone. The temptation you are battling in regards to alcohol is common, but God has made a way of escape from it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
DEALING WITH ALCOHOLISM:
Recognize that alcohol abuse is a work of the flesh. It is listed among the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). It is not a sickness. The Holy Spirit can and will produce the self-control needed to overcome this and other addictions as you allow the Fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in your life (Galatians 5:22-23).
Analyze why you need alcohol. Why do you need it? Are you trying to mask emotional pain? Do you rely on it to enable social interaction with others? If you determine why you drink, then you can deal with the root cause of your problem instead of turning to alcohol.
Admit that you need help. Proverbs 28:13 declares: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” 1 John 1:8-9 gives both a warning and a promise: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Ask God for deliverance. Pray not only about your alcoholism, but the root cause behind it–the loneliness, hurt, pain, inferiority, etc., that drives you to drink. Rebuke any generational spirits that would foster a desire for alcohol. Bind the spirit of alcoholism from operating in your life (Matthew 18:18).
Change your life-style. Do not attend events where drinking occurs and do not hang out with friends who drink. Do not watch television programs that promote drinking through either the screenplay or advertising. Do not return again to the bondage of alcoholism (Galatians 5:1).
Form a support network. Form a personal support network of people who have successfully recovered from alcoholism. Celebrate Recovery, Salvation Army, and Teen Challenge provide excellent Christian support network for addictions.
Remember that you never fail until you quit trying. If you start drinking again, don’t give up in defeat. Ask God to forgive you and strengthen you to take control over your addiction through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then simply begin again. Rather than condemning yourself, think about ways you can escape the next time you are tempted. Understand that as a recovered alcoholic, you cannot take even one drink.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ALCOHOLISM:
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1)
He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich. (Proverbs 21:17)
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. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” (Proverbs 23:29-35
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. (Isaiah 5:11)
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks. (Isaiah 5:22)
Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. You will be filled with shame instead of glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage … For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:1,13)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of a sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16-17)
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
(See also “Addictions” and “Habits” in this database.)