Starting the day with a drink
In his book The Trouble With Alcohol, Tom Shipp lists the three sets of questions that he has used in his work with alcoholics to determine whether drinkers are in the initial, the intermediate, or the final stages of alcoholism.
Here is the first set:
1. Do I have an intense personal reason for drinking? In other words, is my reason for drinking something other than social?
2. Am I experiencing a meaningful change from the use of alcohol? Do I drink to relieve tension, fears, anxieties, or inhibitions?
3. Do I find myself involved increasingly in thought about alcohol? Am I thinking about the problem of supply when I should be thinking about other things?
4. Are most of my friends heavy drinkers?
5. Has my drinking become more secretive, more guarded?
6. Am I drinking more often and more heavily than in the past? Am I kidding myself that by drinking beer and wine I am cutting down? Do I tell myself that I am handling my problem because I maintain periods of not drinking at all in between alcoholic bouts?
7. When I start drinking, do I end up drinking more than I intended to drink? Do I find drunkenness occurring at closer intervals?
8. Have I failed to remember what occurred during a drinking period last night, yesterday, or even a longer period ago?
9. Do I feel guilty, defensive, or angry when someone wants to talk to me about my drinking?
10. Am I sneaking my drinks?
11. Have I stopped sipping my drinks and instead find myself gulping or tossing them down quickly?
12. Do I lie about my drinking?
How serious is alcoholism from a biblical standpoint?
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9,10).
Here, then, is hope for alcoholics: They are not more lost than other sinners, nor are they hopeless incurables. There is a known remedy for sin. As soon as the alcoholic sees his alcoholism as a symptom of his deeper sickness (sin) for which there is a cure, he can have hope.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
And Christ died for all
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8)
In the death of Christ on the cross, there was payment for all the sins of every alcoholic: the broken promises, the profanity, the neglect of family members, and all the rest. That sacrifice also paid for all the sins of those who never touch a drop: the self righteousness, the gossip, the bitterness, and other sins that alcoholics do not have a monopoly on.
Christ ends alcohol's long night for those who come to Him in faith. For many, all desire for alcohol ends at the moment of their salvation. Others face a daily battle, with increasing strength in times of conflict because of the power of God within and the resources of prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship. God's way for each Christian is always best. And every Christian is equipped to win.
If you are an alcoholic, you can end the long night of addiction that oppresses you.
Jesus said, "Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Accept His loving invitation. Come to Him in faith. Call upon Him.
Confess Him before others. Start attending church services regularly. Build a strong prayer life. Saturate your mind with the Bible.
And don't forget those who love you. Go to them and tell them the long night is over.
No more waiting and worrying.
No more staring out of dark shadows.
No more empty promises
Your faith in Christ has opened the door to a new life.
Excerpted from Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy, by Jack Van Impe with Roger F. Campbell.