How Do I Deal With My Alcohol Problem?

First, congratulations on your willingness to believe you have a problem.  That means you’ve gotten past the stage where you insist, “There’s no problem, I can quit any time I want.”  The Bible says, “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  If you’re down on the ground looking at the mess in your life and thinking, “My drinking is behind all this,” you’re already on your way to real change.

You’ve probably tried some things already to get your drinking under control, like limiting your drinking to beer, or to drinking only after five or only on weekends.  Didn’t work, did it?  Or maybe you tried promises and resolutions – “That’s the last time I drink too much, I swear, I really mean it.”  That didn’t turn out too well either, did it?  It’s time to try doing something different.

The Bible says, “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:15-16).  That means finding people you can be honest with, people who will understand your drinking problem, and talking and praying with them about your problem.  Forgiveness and strength are found in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  When James mentions “a righteous man,” he is speaking of believers who are clothed in Christ’s perfection.  The road to change will begin with Christ’s assurance of forgiveness.

Your best choice for people to talk with is going to be people who share your problem, people who have had a drinking problem but have found ways to stay sober.  They’ll know how to encourage you, and they’ll know when you’re not being as honest as you need to be.  They’re out there.  You can probably think of a few already.  Find them, start meeting with them regularly, and listen humbly to their recommendations.  A good place to start looking for them is at your local church–start by asking the pastor whom he might suggest.

And remember what the Bible said in James – “the Lord will raise him up.” It’s true. God has healing power he will put to work in your life.  Just don’t assume that that means you’ll end up without any cravings for alcohol or that you’ll be able to drink normally.  “Healing” may mean the simple ability to say “no” to your cravings, or having your obsession with drinking fade away.  And it’s definitely going to mean a renewed relationship with God, as you turn your problem over to him and humbly accept the help and direction he gives you through your new allies.  God bless this new direction in your life!

Low self-esteem

Do you have low self-esteem? You’re not alone. Millions of people are afraid they’re not good enough, not smart enough, or not attractive enough.

What should you do about low self-esteem?

You’re told to keep reminding yourself that you’re special. You’re supposed to say repeatedly: “I am good enough. I am smart enough. I can do it!”

You can try to earn self-worth by losing weight, buying new clothes, or getting a new job.

You can look to other people to validate your worth. Perhaps your spouse, family or friends will fill in the gaps you feel.

Foundations for self-esteem based on externals cannot truly satisfy. They’re temporary–people move away or change loyalties. They’re insufficient–money cannot guarantee health. They’re illusory–what you want may not be what you need.

Real self-worth lies in God’s unchanging love for you. He exchanged his Son’s life for yours, forgiving all of your sins. The Bible says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

With God’s forgiveness comes unconditional acceptance. He loves you, in spite of your inadequacies.

Through God’s Son you have membership in his family. That means he cares for you daily. He hears your prayers. Your life begins to make sense, and you can look forward to a happy home in heaven.

Self-esteem is a reality through Jesus Christ.

Why can’t I stop?

“I just can’t help myself.”  we have all bailed out of acknowledging weakness with that stock phrase. Sometimes it is as innocent as a desperate dieter trying to walk past a piece of fresh blueberry pie. Often, though, it is far more dangerous. An individual frantically tries to break out of the prison of pills or the dungeon of drugs. Someone else is willingly robbed by the one-armed bandit of gambling. Another tries to swim out of the cesspool of pornography, only to find the current of erotica a deadly undertow that undermines marriage and family and even self-esteem. You are not alone. Your plea has already been heard on the pages of Scripture. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Realize that no human being can pull himself or herself out of such peril. The Bible accurately portrays the frantic efforts. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Why can’t I stop? Because I cannot, not by my own strength or efforts.

Yet do not despair. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus means Savior, and he can pull us up out of addictions and rescue us from ourselves. Jesus loves you enough to send concerned family or friends to support you. Jesus loves you enough to provide the blessing of professional medical help and therapy. Jesus extends his hand of healing in so many ways. Jesus loves you enough to hear the desperation in your prayers and quietly promise you, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!

Why do I keep on sinning?

None of us have the ability not to sin! The Bible teaches, first, that a superhuman spirit, the devil, is in rebellion against God and all he represents. The devil and his allies will do anything they can to get you to join their rebellion by rejecting God’s will for your life.

Second, there’s the world we inhabit. When the first people yielded to the devil’s temptation, they brought evil into the good world God had made. Now we live in an environment that is simply not going to encourage us to put God first, as he commands.

Finally, there’s our own nature. Like the world, we human beings are a good creation of God that went wrong very early in our history. Now there’s corruption within us that makes it impossible for us to offer God the perfect obedience that he demands and deserves. Our inner corruption means that the devil’s and the world’s temptations will strike a responsive chord within us, making it hard for us to say “no.”

Above all, please be sure that Jesus’ sacrifice has won God’s forgiveness for your every sin even the ones you can’t seem to shake. Second, know that Jesus also won for us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who creates a new self inside us. This new self wants to please God with a holy life. It’s locked in mortal combat with our old self, who wants exactly the opposite; and sometimes the old self still gets his way.

You might say there’s a dogfight going on inside every Christian. You could also say that the idea is to feed the dog you want to win, and starve the other one. Keep feeding your new self on God’s Word, and watch what happens!