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ADDICTION

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.

Journal of the American Medical Association

This comprehensive definition of alcoholism was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992. This definition was prepared by the Joint Committee to Study the Definition and Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Although alcoholism can usually be self-diagnosed, it sometimes takes help from someone other than the alcoholic to help diagnose. This can be caused by many things, most commonly denial. It is often misunderstood that only the alcoholic can determine whether or not they are an alcoholic. This is not the case. What people often misunderstand is that only the alcoholic can accept it and seek treatment for their disease. This is often referred to as Step One in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Personal Narrative

Alcohol has always been a part of my life. From growing up in bars that my father would take me to, to my mother enjoying innocent drinks with her boyfriend (that upset me because of my fathers alcoholism), to my own journey through the darkness of alcoholism first hand. I picked up my first intentional drink when I was in the 5th grade. I always swore to never be like my father. Lo and behold I ended up just like him. Well, not exactly like him. I sought treatment and have made it my life to be a better sober person and help others through their sobriety.

At my worst I was drinking nearly a gallon of vodka a day. It sat on my nightstand so when I woke up in the middle of the night I could take a swig and go back to bed. It was there when I woke up so the first thing I could do was take a drink. It ruined many friendships and relationships. It somehow continues to do so as I journey through sobriety, but it’s all for the better. I have been sober since September 1, 2012. A day I remember very clearly, as it was the beginning of the new me.

My journey has been filled with trial and error. I have sought many different avenues of support from organized groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, to more self-help sources like Rational Recovery. I ended up finding bits and pieces throughout most of them that helped me in some way. But, in the end, I grew stronger in my faith and closer to God. I used my faith to get me through some of the most difficult points of my sobriety, and continue to do so to this day. My life and recovery are peppered throughout with my faith and is a strong point in most all of my writings.

With the help of faith based recovery programs, in which some use different pieces from the programs above, like Celebrate Recovery and  Alcoholics Victorious, I have found a solid ground to continue to build up my sobriety, stronger and stronger. Throughout I have remained humble because I know that at any moment I am susceptible to relapse just like everyone else. By keeping this at the forefront of my mind, I am always prepared to handle whatever temptation or struggle I may come across.

Is addiction/alcoholism a sin?

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1

I am a firm believer that addiction in and of itself is not a sin, but the act’s that brought your addiction to the surface are sinful in nature. Addiction is not a choice, but you do choose to pick up a drink, and this leads to your addiction and creates that downward spiral where putting down the drink becomes difficult. That being said, our propensity for addiction can be genetic, but it can also be created by sinful habits that make the body and mind reliant on whatever it is that we chose to pick up.

Not taking the steps to recover from your addictions can also be sinful. If you realize you have a problem, you inherently partake in sin when you continue to abuse the habit.

When we speak about powerlessness in relation to addiction, it can be compared to something like diabetes. It is also a disease that we have no control over. This does not mean we don’t have the control and volition to not pick up a drink and contribute to our addiction.

The Bible doesn’t prohibit drinking. It downright encourages it in some instances (Ecclesiastes 9:7). But it is also quick to tell you to not get drunk from alcohol and enjoy in moderation.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18

The encouragement of drinking in the Bible does not excuse sin, quite the opposite. We are guilty of sinning when we get drunk. We are not guilty of sin due to our genetic makeup that predisposed us physiologically to being reliant on something that gave us a chemical high, whether it be a substance or behavior.

Drunkenness doesn’t just apply to alcoholics; it applies to anyone who chooses to be in that state of mind with alcohol in control of their mind.

Abstentionism

Abstentionism is the belief that, although not inherently sinful, alcohol consumption should be avoided as to not detract from a powerful and meaningful relationship with God.

John Piper

Picking up a drink is not sinful, but can lead to sinful choices, therefore it should be avoided. Although I feel all Christians should pledge to a life of abstentionism (explained below), for alcoholics, we must abide by abstentionism. This does not mean I am explicitly against anyone else drinking, but I do heavily suggest not partaking if you wish to have a deep and unyielding relationship with God.

I personally took a pledge of abstentionism the day I decided to go sober, whether I knew it or not.

Abstentionism can be used as a powerful tool to help others go sober and/or stay sober. Beyond the most obvious reasons (ie underage drinking, depression, risk to life, etc.), living a life abstaining from alcohol can keep you away from some moral indiscretions (Proverbs 31:4-5), can make your point on the effects of alcohol on society better witness for you, and can also reflect better on the Christian community as a whole by not appearing impeded or under the influence of something other than Christ.

There is no doubt on the societal impacts that alcoholism and drunkenness creates. So it is our duty and recovering alcoholics, and now abstentionists, to speak from a point of understanding that many others in our faith do not, thankfully, have. We can teach of the negative impacts of drinking and show them that there is much greater pleasure in being of sober mind to connect with God and Christ on a level unattainable while inhibited.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:13

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental factors influencing development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.

Journal of the American Medical Association

This comprehensive definition of alcoholism was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992. This definition was prepared by the Joint Committee to Study the Definition and Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Although alcoholism can usually be self-diagnosed, it sometimes takes help from someone other than the alcoholic to help diagnose. This can be caused by many things, most commonly denial. It is often misunderstood that only the alcoholic can determine whether or not they are an alcoholic. This is not the case. What people often misunderstand is that only the alcoholic can accept it and seek treatment for their disease. This is often referred to as Step One in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Personal Narrative

Alcohol has always been a part of my life. From growing up in bars that my father would take me to, to my mother enjoying innocent drinks with her boyfriend (that upset me because of my fathers alcoholism), to my own journey through the darkness of alcoholism first hand. I picked up my first intentional drink when I was in the 5th grade. I always swore to never be like my father. Lo and behold I ended up just like him. Well, not exactly like him. I sought treatment and have made it my life to be a better sober person and help others through their sobriety.

At my worst I was drinking nearly a gallon of vodka a day. It sat on my nightstand so when I woke up in the middle of the night I could take a swig and go back to bed. It was there when I woke up so the first thing I could do was take a drink. It ruined many friendships and relationships. It somehow continues to do so as I journey through sobriety, but it’s all for the better. I have been sober since September 1, 2012. A day I remember very clearly, as it was the beginning of the new me.

My journey has been filled with trial and error. I have sought many different avenues of support from organized groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, to more self-help sources like Rational Recovery. I ended up finding bits and pieces throughout most of them that helped me in some way. But, in the end, I grew stronger in my faith and closer to God. I used my faith to get me through some of the most difficult points of my sobriety, and continue to do so to this day. My life and recovery are peppered throughout with my faith and is a strong point in most all of my writings.

With the help of faith based recovery programs, in which some use different pieces from the programs above, like Celebrate Recovery and  Alcoholics Victorious, I have found a solid ground to continue to build up my sobriety, stronger and stronger. Throughout I have remained humble because I know that at any moment I am susceptible to relapse just like everyone else. By keeping this at the forefront of my mind, I am always prepared to handle whatever temptation or struggle I may come across.

Is addiction/alcoholism a sin?

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1

I am a firm believer that addiction in and of itself is not a sin, but the act’s that brought your addiction to the surface are sinful in nature. Addiction is not a choice, but you do choose to pick up a drink, and this leads to your addiction and creates that downward spiral where putting down the drink becomes difficult. That being said, our propensity for addiction can be genetic, but it can also be created by sinful habits that make the body and mind reliant on whatever it is that we chose to pick up.

Not taking the steps to recover from your addictions can also be sinful. If you realize you have a problem, you inherently partake in sin when you continue to abuse the habit.

When we speak about powerlessness in relation to addiction, it can be compared to something like diabetes. It is also a disease that we have no control over. This does not mean we don’t have the control and volition to not pick up a drink and contribute to our addiction.

The Bible doesn’t prohibit drinking. It downright encourages it in some instances (Ecclesiastes 9:7). But it is also quick to tell you to not get drunk from alcohol and enjoy in moderation.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18

The encouragement of drinking in the Bible does not excuse sin, quite the opposite. We are guilty of sinning when we get drunk. We are not guilty of sin due to our genetic makeup that predisposed us physiologically to being reliant on something that gave us a chemical high, whether it be a substance or behavior.

Drunkenness doesn’t just apply to alcoholics; it applies to anyone who chooses to be in that state of mind with alcohol in control of their mind.

Abstentionism

Abstentionism is the belief that, although not inherently sinful, alcohol consumption should be avoided as to not detract from a powerful and meaningful relationship with God.

John Piper

Picking up a drink is not sinful, but can lead to sinful choices, therefore it should be avoided. Although I feel all Christians should pledge to a life of abstentionism (explained below), for alcoholics, we must abide by abstentionism. This does not mean I am explicitly against anyone else drinking, but I do heavily suggest not partaking if you wish to have a deep and unyielding relationship with God.

I personally took a pledge of abstentionism the day I decided to go sober, whether I knew it or not.

Abstentionism can be used as a powerful tool to help others go sober and/or stay sober. Beyond the most obvious reasons (ie underage drinking, depression, risk to life, etc.), living a life abstaining from alcohol can keep you away from some moral indiscretions (Proverbs 31:4-5), can make your point on the effects of alcohol on society better witness for you, and can also reflect better on the Christian community as a whole by not appearing impeded or under the influence of something other than Christ.

There is no doubt on the societal impacts that alcoholism and drunkenness creates. So it is our duty and recovering alcoholics, and now abstentionists, to speak from a point of understanding that many others in our faith do not, thankfully, have. We can teach of the negative impacts of drinking and show them that there is much greater pleasure in being of sober mind to connect with God and Christ on a level unattainable while inhibited.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:13