Anyone struggling with alcoholism can agree that the struggle is no less than an all-out war. The disease continually beats down the addict, as he or she watches their life, job, family, relationships and self-respect wither away and deteriorate. The best of intentions, the most logical plans and the wisest advice fall far short of being a solution that can actually sustain sobriety and help us to put down the bottle for good.
From a human perspective, this is a hopeless situation. We have tried everything we could think of. We have tried to be strong and yet we have been beaten down again. We have prayed, sought accountability, read the Bible, and we have wondered where God was and why some sort of help or deliverance was so elusive.
Naturally, addicts feel shame and guilt because of their addiction and if anything this only leads to more drinking in the hopes of escaping the voice of conscience and uncomfortable feelings of remorse and regret. Will life always be this endless cycle of drinking, shame, swearing off and more drinking? Is this all there is?
The answer is no. This is not the end of the story. Whether you have felt God working in your life or not, He is there and He is active.
Christians fighting alcoholism should take heart. They have a power at work in them that is greater than any other power in the world. The business of recovery, then, is learning to connect to this life-altering, life-saving power. That power is God.
But how do we connect with this God? Isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do as we sat in church or tried to pray and read the Bible as we were instructed? Where was God when we were falling into the grip of addiction?
For many of us, the reason God has seemed distant or that we haven’t felt His power was because we weren’t ready to surrender. We knew we hated ourselves and the way we were living, but that didn’t exactly mean we were ready to give it up. We still thought we could get power over our drug of choice; that we could drink like normal people.
Christian alcohol treatment shatters that denial and delusion. There we learn that in order to be well we must admit how sick we are. In order to receive strength, we must come fully face-to-face with our weaknesses. This is hard to do. It requires a level of humility we aren’t sure we have and it means we can never drink again. We can’t imagine how we can make it through life without the crutch we’ve relied upon so long.
Christian recovery and the sobriety that goes with it end up being a life we never would have imagined. Far from the battle we had been fighting, we experience freedom, release and victory. We imagined if we gave up drinking we would spend the rest of our lives craving it. But in recovery, suddenly we no longer even desire it. By God’s power and deliverance, we are placed in a position of safety. We come to love the new life we are leading and don’t wish for the “fun” of the old days.
This is the promise for Christians in recovery—a relationship with God that not only saves eternally, but that delivers right here and now. In the fight to remain sober, we have a powerful ally in God.