Drug abuse and the problem of mind-altering practices have been a problem since Biblical times. The practice of witchcraft – against which the Bible is most emphatically opposed – frequently involved the use of altered states of consciousness (often obtained through drug use). Drug abuse is not merely a physical problem, but a spiritual one as well. As such, Christians should feel a certain duty to help those afflicted. Not only this, but the Bible also condemns the kind of behavior which often results from substance abuse. For example, believers are exhorted to obey the laws of the land, to live a life ‘beyond reproach’, to live selflessly, and treat their neighbors with kindness and forgiveness no matter the sin. They are also taught to respect their lives and earthly bodies, and the Pauline letters condemn excessive drunkenness and alcoholism. Taken all together and viewed through the lens of drug use, these strictures indicate that we should not only try to avoid the pitfall of drug abuse ourselves, but should also treat those who have stumbled in this manner with the kindness and love which runs as a constant thread throughout the teachings of Christ. But how?
‘Rescuing’ someone with a drug problem is nearly impossible. True change has to come from within, it cannot be instilled from without. When turning to Jesus, one must do more than simply attend church and recite Scripture by rote. One must willingly open one’s heart and love Jesus from within. The same principle applies to those with substance abuse problems. They must want to be healed in order to be healed. It is thus frustrating for many who wish to help substance abusers, as those who are on a self-destruct cycle will continually thwart efforts to improve their situation. So what can you do?
Firstly, get rid of the idea that you can proactively ‘rescue’ a drug abuser. For more on why this will not work, try reading this article. Instead, let the sufferer know that they are valued, that they will be forgiven, and that a loving support network is waiting for them should they decide to get clean. Simply being there, offering unconditional forgiveness and believing in their power to improve their lives can encourage many a suffering substance abuser to take steps to address their issues. Prayer can be a major help in this case – not only to help the afflicted individual, but to give you the strength to cope in what can often be a trying situation. Finally, have faith!
By Laura Chapman
Some people think prayer is a matter of our trying to convince God to do something He does not want to do.
Where did we ever get that idea? Not from the Bible. Jesus taught us to get in line with God’s purposes and to pray: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10
God is not unjust. Confusion has arisen because of the parable in Luke 18:1-8, where a widow pesters an unjust judge until he finally relents and gives her justice. The divinely inspired lesson of the parable is provided at the beginning of the story: Men always ought to pray and not lose heart.
Jesus said God would ultimately avenge injustices against His people. So, this is not a matter of our trying to convince God against His will. God will avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them.
So, why pray? First, we should pray because God tells us to pray. Second, it honors God for us to humbly bring our petitions to Him. Third, it pleases God when we seek His will and get in line with His plans and purposes. Fourth, God is glorified when He answers our prayers. Fifth, the fellowship we have with God is greatly enhanced and we come to love Him more – whether He answers our prayer or not.
Unfortunately, many of us grow up pestering our parents until they give in and give us what we want. But, when God is not cooperative, we want to find another god, who will go along with our requests. But remember – Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3
One man prayed for the salvation of his uncle for over thirty years. The uncle was especially antagonistic against women preachers. When the hard-hearted man was on his deathbed, he relented and agreed to listen to a woman preacher tell him the Gospel. He was saved two weeks before he passed on. It is sad the uncle’s pride kept him from enjoying God’s forgiveness and peace all those years.
The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Psalm 103:19-21
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15
Jesus, the Son of Man, willingly submitted Himself to His Father’s will as foretold by the Prophet: Then I said, “Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God.” Hebrews 10:7; Psalm 40:7-8
Therefore, when Jesus, was faced with having to drink the cup of our iniquity on the cross and be alienated from God because of our sins, He prayed saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Article submitted by Walter D. Willet, author of Before Time Began: The Eternal Purpose of God
A psychotropic medication is any psychiatric medication capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior by altering chemical levels in the brain.
The phrase, “psychotropic drugs” is a technical term for psychiatric medicines that alter chemical levels in the brain which impact mood and behavior. A psychotropic medication is any medication capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior.
Antipsychotics, antidepressants, ADHD drugs, anti-anxiety medications and mood stabilizers are some of the more commonly used psychotropic drugs in the United States.
A person who is psychotic is out of touch with reality. People with psychosis may hear “voices” or have strange and illogical ideas (for example, thinking that others can hear their thoughts, or are trying to harm them or that they are some famous or important person. They may get excited or angry for no apparent reason, or spend a lot of time by themselves, or in bed, sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. The person may neglect appearance, not bathing or changing clothes, and may be hard to talk to–barely talking or saying things that make no sense. They often are initially unaware that their condition is an illness.
These kinds of behaviors are symptoms of a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications act against these symptoms. These medications cannot “cure” the illness, but they can control many of the symptoms or make them milder.
Although they cannot cure psychotic illness, there are over 72 documented side effects of antipsychotic medications including anxiety, birth defects, depression, diabetes, heart problems, muscle spasms, seizures, and thoughts of suicide that result in their use.
Antidepressant medication, used under the guidance of a mental health professional, may relieve symptoms of depression. But antidepressants also come with side effects and dangers. Most mental health experts agree that when depression is severe enough to impact your ability to function in life, medication can be helpful—even lifesaving. However, research shows that antidepressants fall short for many people.
A major National Institute of Mental Health study showed that fewer than 50 percent of people become symptom-free on antidepressants, even after trying two different medications. Furthermore, many who do respond to medication soon slip back into depression, despite sticking with drug treatment.
Other studies show that the benefits of depression medication have been exaggerated, with some researchers concluding that—when it comes to mild to moderate depression—antidepressants are only slightly more effective than placebos.
When you first begin antidepressant treatment, depression medication side effects can be physical symptoms like headache, joint pain, muscle aches, nausea, skin rashes, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and temporary.
Many people notice trouble sleeping when they first start taking an antidepressant — trouble falling asleep or that they wake up easily during the night. Other side effects include increased appetite and weight gain, fatigue and drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation and irritability.
It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).
These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.
Examples of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. A person can have more than one anxiety disorder.
Anxiety medicines do have some severe side effects in some cases. But it’s actually not the side effects that are the reason to try to avoid medications. The main reason is because they can cause physiological and psychological dependence. This is when your body and mind actually start to need to drug to cope with anxiety, so that it becomes even harder to cure the anxiety without medication over time.
But the most common side effects of anxiety medicines such as Xanax and Valium, etc. are as follows: Hypotension (low blood pressure), decreased libido, nausea, lack of coordination, depression, memory loss and difficulty thinking.
Fully 1 in 5 Americans take at least one psychiatric medication.
Fueling the perception that America is an overmedicated society, a new Mayo Clinic study finds that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two.
Researchers found antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkilling opioids are the most commonly prescribed. And one of five patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Modern day psychiatric diagnosis of psychosis, depression, general anxiety or a particular phobia often result in the psychiatrist prescribing one or more psychotropic medications that do not cure the problem but only help alleviate the symptoms. These medications all have deleterious side-effects.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10
The global pharmaceuticals market is worth $300 billion a year, a figure expected to rise to $400 billion within three years. The 10 largest drugs companies control over one-third of this market, several with sales of more than $10 billion a year and profit margins of about 30%. Six are based in the United States and four in Europe. It is predicted that North and South America, Europe and Japan will continue to account for a full 85% of the global pharmaceuticals market well into the 21st century. Companies currently spend one-third of all sales revenue on marketing their products – roughly twice what they spend on research and development.
According to the World Health Organization, as a result of this pressure to maintain sales, there is now, “an inherent conflict of interest between the legitimate business goals of manufacturers and the social, medical and economic needs of providers and the public to select and use drugs in the most rational way”. This is particularly true where drugs companies are the main source of information as to which products are most effective. Even in the United Kingdom, where the medical profession receives more independent, publicly-funded information than in many other countries, promotional spending by pharmaceuticals companies is 50 times greater than spending on public information on health.
With an insatiable appetite for more profits, the pharmaceutical industry is constantly barraging the public with promises of instant relief from physical and emotional pain. Instead of promoting healthier lifestyle practices and the use of natural supplements, doctors are over prescribing medications. Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are increasing.
Pharmakeia is a word found three times in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Following is the definition of the Greek word “Pharmakeia” as found in The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon:
- The use or the administering of drugs
- Sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
- Metaphorically speaking as “the deceptions and seductions of idolatry”
Drug abuse is not just a physical addiction or a biological or chemical problem – it is a spiritual stronghold. Pharmakeia is the root word from which we get our English word pharmacy or pharmacist. Pharmakeia is translated as witchcraft or sorcery. It speaks of the occult magical arts which are often found in connection with idolatry. Psychotropic drug dependency, like witchcraft, becomes a powerful, demonic stronghold.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. Mark 9:17-26
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38
Natural science encompasses any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena. Since God is not measurable, a much larger percentage of scientists in the United Stated are atheists compared to that in the general population.
The majority of psychiatrists and evolutionists teach that man’s inborn instinct to have faith in God is a product of evolution. Materialist neuroscientists and philosophers hold that mind, consciousness, and self are by-products of the brain’s electrical and chemical processes, and that RSMEs [religious/spiritual/mystical experiences] are “nothing but” brain states or delusions created by neural activity. Accordingly these scientists and philosophers believe that there is no spiritual source for RSMEs, that is, they think that the human brain creates these experiences and, in so doing, creates God.
Due to the rejection of God and disbelief in the spirit realm, most psychiatrists seek to treat emotional and mental disorders by prescribing medications and provide secular counseling. The medications only suppress the symptoms and have a plethora of side effects. The secular counseling seeks to promote behavior modification without addressing the inner man (the person’s heart) and possible spiritual issues that a person may be dealing with.
Instead of seeking instant relief through pharmaceutical medications, it might be more beneficial take time and effort to address the core issues that led to mental and emotional illness.
A lifestyle that includes regular exercise, good nutrition, getting a proper amount of sleep, reading the Bible and praying regularly not only enhances physical and mental health but also spiritual wellbeing. Biblical counseling and deliverance can address spiritual oppression.
Some practical tips to combat anxiety, depression and fatigue include:
- Greatly reduce or completely eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice, etc…). The reason for this is that big fluctuations in blood sugar create stress in our bodies and too much sugar weakens the immune system.
- Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and enhances anxiety
- Get enough sunshine by walking outside for 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week.
- Use herbal supplements that naturally enhance emotional health
- Use the medicine of God’s Word to combat the spirit of heaviness
Prescription Drug Alternatives
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:2
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:21-24
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
If you are abusing alcohol or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. To find forgiveness and freedom, pray the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words –
“Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith, to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. As a new born, you need to be nourished.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
In order to grow and mature spiritually you need to:
- Be baptized into Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)
- Speak to God each day through prayer. (Pray each day in the name of Yeshua/Jesus).
- Read your Bible every day. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you through His Word. (If you don’t own a Bible, then we will help you get one.)
- Find a Bible believing church and attend regularly – both worship services and a Bible study.
- Share with someone what God has done for you.
We have a variety of resources for you on our website such as:
Biblical Insights into Combating Addiction, Teachings on Prayer and Fasting, links to Christian resources for the addicted: Find Help, Healing Scriptures and information on our Annual Weekend of Prayer event.
If there was any doubt as to the stance of the Bible on being kind to oneself, the answer lies in 1 Corinthians 3:16, which states that the body is a temple. Christ recognized the light that shone within each of us and encouraged His disciples to live in such a way that they could share this positive, kind, compassionate light with others. Some people, however, are not able to share the best of themselves with others because they are addicted to chaos; in other words, they feel most comfortable with, and therefore seek out, people, situations and environments which are filled with tension and drama.
When chaotic is comfortable
If you know someone who is attracted to chaos, it is important to understand that they may embrace this way of life because it is what they have grown up with. When they were children, their parents may have communicated by shouting and screaming or there may have been drug or alcohol abuse in the home. When a house is filled with tension, chaos becomes ‘normal’ and people can become surprisingly uncomfortable when there is too much peace or stability in their lives. There is a difference between being attracted to tension and being addicted to it; addiction is present when one is unable to function normally in a work, social or family setting. It can be witnessed in some people who have quit drug or alcohol use; instead of feeling happy about their newfound stability, they can provoke a fight or otherwise create a tension-filled situation, as a way of managing their anxiety.
How to manage an addiction to chaos
To leave addiction behind, it is vital to change your heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are born again and you receive Jesus as you Savior and Lord, you are liberated and you can begin to follow the example set by Jesus, of compassion, sacrifice and love for others. Jesus died because he loved you, so you should not feel guilty about loving yourself, treating yourself kindly and taking all the steps you need to enjoy the true wonder that comes from a peaceful life.
Faith is a pillar, but so, too, should your deeds reflect the new, free person that you are. Identify all the relationships, people and circumstances that have brought chaos to your life in the past. You may not necessarily be able to make immediate changes, but you can definitely lean on the Lord to help you make a long-term plan. For instance, you may be unhappy because you are in the wrong job; we all have obligations in life, and it may be impossible for you to leave your job immediately. However, you can begin to make changes that will enable you to find more suitable employment in the future (for instance, by studying a course).
When you have been freed from chaos, try not to ‘relapse’ into your old behavior. If you find that when you are tense, you provoke an argument with your spouse or you feel tempted to indulge in drugs or alcohol, remember that Christ lives inside you and that as a Christian, it is your duty to ensure that both body and mind are temples. Avoid toxic substances, places and people, since they will offer you temptations which are best avoided.
Your faith will also stand you in good stead when it comes to setting your own limits. As Christians, it is our duty to help others when they have problems, to sacrifice material and other needs to help those who are ill, suffering or poor. However, this does not mean that we should allow others to use us as a punching bag. We all know people who love dwelling in negativity; those who constantly criticize others or complain incessantly, even when things are going well. This type of person may actually be what you once were before you welcomed Christ into your heart: a person who is addicted to chaos. Speak to them about your faith and how it has helped free you from addiction, but do not be guilty about seeking distance if you feel your personal limits have been overstepped.
By Laura Graf
To view the article, “Are You Addicted to Chaos” by Lindsay Kramer, go to: http://www.recovery.org/pro/articles/are-you-addicted-to-chaos/
Prescription drug use is continuing to increase Worldwide, and with that comes more abuse and more problems. This infographic, The Deadly Truth About Painkillers, covers these problems, from over prescribing and drug-mixing to addiction and more. Take a look at this infographic and you will learn all you need to know about this important issue.
The average person has scant knowledge of biblical terms and events. There are even those who attend church regularly who haven’t read the Bible in its entirety. The Last Days Calendar is written to reach people with little or no Bible knowledge as well as to bring new insight concerning end time events to seasoned Bible students.
The key that The Last Days Calendar utilizes to unlock an understanding of Bible prophecy, is the fact that all Old Testament Scripture proclaim Jesus Christ as the true Messiah sent to redeem the world. The author, a Jewish believer in Christ, examines New Testament prophecy through his understanding of the feasts, fasts, and festivals in the Old Testament.
Just as the first coming of Jesus Christ to earth was promised in numerous places in the Old Testament, there are clear passages and allusions to the Second Coming of Christ. An understanding of the festivals found in the Old Testament with their frequent descriptions of the nature of Jesus Christ in His person, is therefore most valuable in comprehending Bible prophecy For example, the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony is an illustration of Gods relationship to the church. Therefore, knowledge of Jewish betrothal and marriage customs is necessary to interpret the meaning of Christ’s wedding illustrations in its proper context.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the spring cycle of biblical festivals in His First Advent by instituting the New Covenant at the Passover; being entombed during the Feast of Unleavened Bread: resurrecting on the Festival of Firstfruits; and sending the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Find out what the Bible reveals concerning Israel’s fall feasts and the Messiah’s Second Coming.
Author Steven L. Sherman, is a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ who is a gifted teacher and lecturer on biblical prophecy. Steven is also the founder of “Just Pray NO! Ltd. Since 1991, “Just Pray NO!” has sought to unite Christians from around the world in intercessory prayer on behalf of the addicted and their families by sponsoring the annual “Just Pray NO!” Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting.
All royalties go directly to the ministry of “Just Pray NO!” Not only will you get to read a great book but you will be supporting a great cause – fighting drug and alcohol addiction.
To order THE LAST DAYS CALENDAR: Understanding God’s Appointed Times, go to: Redemption Press
To arrange for a personal interview with “Just Pray NO!” Founder and Author Steven L. Sherman call: (727) 647-6467
or email: email@example.com
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
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health. Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:
Brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Heart: Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.
Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Pancreas: Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Cancer: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:
Immune System: Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Based on the analyses of 100 individual country profiles, The World Health Organization (WHO) has released The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health focused on analyzing available evidence on alcohol consumption, consequences and policy interventions at global, regional and national levels.
The harmful use of alcohol is a global problem which compromises both individual and social development. It causes harm far beyond the physical and psychological health of the drinker, including the harm to the well-being and health of people around the drinker. Alcohol is associated with many serious social and developmental issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace.
The harmful use of alcohol (defined as excessive use to the point that it causes damage to health) has many implications on public health.
• Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to millions more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries.
• Alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas and the second largest in Europe.
The harmful use of alcohol is also associated with several infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This is because alcohol consumption weakens the immune system, reduces inhibitions, effects judgment and has a negative effect on patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment.
In the United States:
- Each year, more than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- 95% of all violent crime on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
- 90% of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
- Every day, 36 people die, and approximately 700 are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Drinking and drugged driving is the number one cause of death, injury and disability of young people under the age of 21.
The origins of Alcoholics Anonymous can be traced to the Oxford Group, a religious movement popular in the United States and Europe in the early 20th century. Members of the Oxford Group practiced a formula of self-improvement by performing self-inventory, admitting wrongs, making amends, using prayer and meditation, and carrying the message to others.
In the early 1930s, a well-to-do Rhode Islander, Rowland H., visited the noted Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung for help with his alcoholism. Jung determined that Rowland’s case was medically hopeless, and that he could only find relief through a vital spiritual experience. Jung directed him to the Oxford Group.
Rowland later introduced fellow Vermonter Edwin (“Ebby”) T. to the group, and the two men along with several others were finally able to keep from drinking by practicing the Oxford Group principles.
One of Ebby’s schoolmate friends from Vermont, and a drinking buddy, was Bill W. Ebby sought out his old friend at his home at 182 Clinton Street in Brooklyn, New York, to carry the message of hope.
Bill W. had been a golden boy on Wall Street, enjoying success and power as a stockbroker, but his promising career had been ruined by continuous and chronic alcoholism. Now, approaching 39 years of age, he was learning that his problem was hopeless, progressive, and irreversible. He had sought medical treatment at Towns Hospital in Manhattan, but he was still drinking.
Bill was, at first, unconvinced by Ebby’s story of transformation and the claims of the Oxford Group. But in December 1934, after again landing in Towns hospital for treatment, Bill underwent a powerful spiritual experience unlike any he had ever known. His depression and despair were lifted, and he felt free and at peace. Bill stopped drinking, and worked the rest of his life to bring that freedom and peace to other alcoholics. The roots of Alcoholics Anonymous were planted.
An alcoholic from New York has a vision of the way to sobriety and is introduced to a like-minded doctor from Akron. Their first meeting will lead to the creation of a Twelve Step recovery program and a book that will change the lives of millions.
Following Bill W.’s spiritual awakening at Towns Hospital (late 1934), he and wife Lois join the Oxford Group — a nondenominational movement whose tenets are based on the “Four Absolutes” of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love — and begin to attend meetings at Calvary House, behind Manhattan’s Calvary Episcopal Church there. Bill is inspired by the charismatic rector Rev. Dr. Samuel Shoemaker, who emphasizes one-on-one sharing and guidance.
A short-term job opportunity takes Bill to Akron, Ohio. In the lobby of his hotel, he finds himself fighting the urge to join the conviviality in the bar. He consults a church directory posted on the wall with the aim of finding someone who might lead him to an alcoholic with whom he could talk. A phone call to Episcopal minister Rev. Walter Tunks results in a referral to Henrietta Seiberling, a committed Oxford Group adherent who has tried for two years to bring a fellow group member, a prominent Akron surgeon, to sobriety.
Bill is asked to speak at a large Oxford Group meeting at Calvary House. His subject is alcoholism, and after the meeting Bill is approached by a man who says he desperately wants to get sober. Bill invites the man to join him and a small group of alcoholics who meet at nearby Stewart’s cafeteria after the meetings. Bill is unsuccessful in his efforts to reach these alcoholics. Eventually his ability to help alcoholics grows, after he seeks counsel from Dr. William Silkworth of Towns Hospital. Dr. Silkworth suggests he do less preaching and speak more about alcoholism as an illness.
Henrietta Seiberling, daughter-in-law of the founder of the Goodyear Rubber Company, invites Bill to the Seiberling estate, where she lives in the gatehouse. She tells him of the struggle of Dr. Robert S., and the meeting of the two men takes place the next day — Mother’s Day, May 12, 1935. In the privacy of the library, Bill spills out his story, inspiring “Dr. Bob” to share his own. As the meeting ends hours later, Dr. Bob realizes how much spiritual support can come as the result of one alcoholic talking to another alcoholic.
Bill joins the Smiths at the weekly Oxford Group meetings held in the home of T. Henry Williams and his wife Clarace, both particularly sympathetic to the plight of alcoholics. Soon, at the suggestion of Dr. Bob’s wife Anne, Bill moves to their home at 855 Ardmore Avenue.
Dr. Bob lapses into drinking again but quickly recovers. The day widely known as the date of Dr. Bob’s last drink, June 10, 1935, is celebrated as the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous. Dr. Bob and Bill spend hours working out the best approach to alcoholics, a group known to be averse to taking directions. Realizing that thinking of sobriety for a day at a time makes it seem more achievable than facing a lifetime of struggle, they hit on the twenty-four hour concept.
Dick B. is considered the world’s leading Alcoholics Anonymous historian and has written several books about the Biblical roots of A.A. Some of the following information is taken from his book, “Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts.”
…But we [Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob] were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book [the Bible]. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James”
The Basic ideals and principles found in A.A. were originated by Christian believers, who used Christian-based practices to cure an unbelievably high percentage of early alcoholics, commonly referred to as the “Pioneer Program of Recovery,” or, “Pioneer AAs.”
“Bill Wilson frequently declared that AAs did not ‘invent’ their program; nor did anyone invent it, he said. The AAs borrowed it. And they correctly called their ‘spirituality’ reliance on the Creator.”
The Pioneer Program of Recovery which acknowledged our Creator and was based on practices rooted in the Bible had an amazingly high success rate of curing alcoholics.
The success rate of A.A. today has plummeted since the days of early A.A. as members now use terms like, “Higher Power,” instead of applying and adhering to its true Christian roots. In the pioneer days members would proclaim, “They had been cured by Almighty God! They had merely to look in their Good Book. What’s to fear!”
Today, from the moment a newcomer enters the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, they are told that they have the “incurable disease” of alcoholism.
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
The simple fact that there is a cure makes it wrong to tell the newcomer that there is no cure. The newcomer would feel extremely better and more confident knowing that there is a cure through belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here are Dick B’s comments on this issue, “What a prescription for life-long bondage-bondage to illness, bondage to treatment, bondage to therapy, bondage to negatives, and bondage to endless sick ideas within and outside of A.A.” Furthermore, “The Creator, God Almighty-whose name is Yahweh, not ‘Higher Power’-can cure, has cured, and has healed alcoholics”
The original 12 Steps of A.A.
One: We admitted we were licked. Alcohol was our master. We prayed: “O, God, manage me because I can’t manage myself.”
Two: We became “willing to believe” that God could cure us; to “act as if” He would; and to take the action that proves God really can and does cure.
Three: We “made a decision” to “rely on the Creator” for help and to “do His will.”
Four: We gave ourselves a written, moral test, checking our life by the “four absolutes”-the standards of God’s will taught by His Son Jesus-honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love.
Five: We admitted our moral failures to God, to ourselves, and to another believer.
Six: We became “convicted” of sin against God; were “willing” to “hate and forsake” the sins uncovered, and to ask that God “remove those sins” from our lives.
Seven: We “humbled ourselves, submitting ourselves to God;” were “born again” of His spirit and therefore became a “new creature in Christ;”could thereafter be renewed in the spirit of our mind; and could put on the new man which is created in righteousness.
Eight: We became “willing” to “agree with our adversaries,” obey God’s command to “love you neighbor as yourself;” and to set things right with others.
Nine: We took action to (1) reconcile ourselves with any brother that had anything against us; (2) restore to him anything wrongfully taken from him; and (3) forgive him for any of his trespasses against us.
Ten: We continued to watch for, and pray for the removal of, those “major” sins blocking us from fellowship with God-namely resentment, selfishness, dishonesty, and fear. When they cropped up, we applied the same corrective steps involved in our initial housecleaning; we tried to adhere to a new code of love and tolerance; and we began reaching out to others.
Eleven: Before retiring, we checked our behavior against Christ’s moral standards, asking forgiveness where we had failed to observe them and guidance toward doing better in the future. We sought daily fellowship with God and other believers through Bible study, prayer, seeking His guidance, reading Christian literature, and often through church attendance. We turned to God for peace, and our reliance on Him provided relief from anxiety and fear.
Twelve: Having received the power of God through accepting Christ, and having the ability to bring into manifestation that power of the Holy Spirit, we passed on to others the Steps we had taken, and tried to do God’s will in all our affairs-particularly emphasizing the principles spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13.
Deliverance from alcoholism comes from repentance and submission to God by receiving Christ as both Savior and Lord of your life.
There are several ways that we can hear the voice of God. He may speak to us by means of Scripture, dreams, visions, nature or through His still small voice. Although there are several ways that God speaks to mankind we first must listen, not just with our ears, we must also be ready to receive His words in our heart.
Moreover he said to me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. Ezekiel 3:10
Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. Job 22:22
It is not simply enough to hear the Word of God; His instructions must be received whole-heartedly and obeyed.
To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. Jeremiah 6:10
The great prophet Jeremiah lived during the most crucial period of Judah’s existence as a kingdom. He had incessantly warned his people to turn from their sins before it was too late. Although the LORD spoke to the people of the Southern Kingdom through His prophet, their hearts were hardened so that they did not heed the warnings. Because they failed to listen to the LORD, Jerusalem and the holy Temple were destroyed and the survivors were taken captive into Babylon.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:22
The primary way that a born-again believer hears God is through the Bible – God’s Holy Word. Through Scripture, God speaks both to the individual and to the body of Christ. But again, it is not enough to be exposed to the divinely inspired written word; a person must receive the message in his heart (a person must have a listening ear).
“Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds…” Job 33:15-16
There are several biblical accounts that record that God has spoken to mankind through dreams or visions. A dream is a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. On the other hand, a vision portrays scenery or dramatic circumstances to the human recipient while the human is awake.
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
The “last days” began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out in power. The “last days” continue until the return of the Lord. Today, God still speaks through dreams and visions.
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”1 Kings 19:11-13
In Exodus 20:18-19, the people of Israel trembled with fear when they saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw Mount Sinai in smoke. They cried out to Moses, “Do not have God speak to us or we will die”
Although the voice of the Almighty is like the noise of many waters (Ezekiel 1:24), He often chooses to speak to us with a still small voice. Again, we must be attentive and listen for His still small voice as we receive it in our hearts.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4
God also speaks to us through His creation, and He does so without using audible words. When we look up into the sky in the daytime and see the beauty of a sunrise, or on a clear evening when we contemplate the vastness of outer space, God speaks to us of His glory and power.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:20-21
The heavens and the earth speak of God’s glory. He has given all people a revelation of His eternal power and nature, but those who are not ready to receive His message with a humble heart cannot hear His voice.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Revelation 3:6-8
If you are willing not only to hear, but to listen and receive, the Spirit tells God’s people that we can hear the voice of God through the circumstances of life. There will be times that we may discern God’s will because of an opened or a closed door. The will of God will never contradict the word of God or His character. An opened or a closed door must be evaluated in the light of God’s character and according to the “plumb line” of Scripture. We usually desire an opened door because it often means opportunity, progress and/or promotion. But is it God’s will? What appears to be an “opened door” needs to be confirmed according to God’s word and character. We need to seek God in prayer and have an inner peace to help us confirm the circumstance as God’s will for us. We are often frustrated or disappointed when we encounter a “closed door.” A closed door is for our good. The door may be closed so that we must wait upon the Lord in order to develop patience and build our faith. A door may be closed because God wants to take us in a different and better direction or a closed door may result in more fervent prayer and closer communion with God.
Whether God is speaking to you through His Word, a dream or vision, with a still small voice, through natural revelation or circumstances, you must be prepared to listen with a heart ready to receive and obey His voice.