Showing posts with label sobriety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sobriety. Show all posts

Monday, September 20, 2010

How You Can Get Sober and Stay Sober For Good

Have you ever tried to quit drinking only to go back to it again and again? When you get sober are you getting sober for you or for someone else? It is my firm belief that the alcoholic must “want” to stop drinking and get their life back together for themselves BEFORE true sobriety will ever happen. When we are not convicted in our heart and mind to give up the addiction for ourselves we will have a difficult time staying sober.

Let me tell you a little bit about my situation when I first quit drinking and then you can decide for yourself. When I first got sober, about 16-years ago, I did it for my husband. I thought I wanted to quit so I could save my marriage, but I realized later, when reality hit, that I really didn’t want to quit drinking, but only wanted to appease husband and extended family.

I went into a rehab facility for 3-days and then went to a few Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings, but because I was not getting sober for myself, sobriety only lasted a few weeks. I kept telling myself “reasons” why I could drink. Some of these reasons were really ridiculous but my mind was coming from an alcoholic perspective. The mind of an alcoholic does not “see” nor “understand” the depth of reality around them.

If the alcoholic is still in denial that they have a drinking problem, or if they are not ready to quit, or if they try and quit for someone else rather than for themselves, they will NOT be able to stay sober for any amount of time. If the alcoholic really wants to quit, they will through the power of God in their life. Only our Creator can save us from ourselves and free us from the wretchedness of this world.

I give thanks to God every day for giving me my life back! And I praise Him for making me whole in Jesus Christ! We can go to rehab, AA, counseling and our family can plead and beg for us to quit and threaten to leave us, but unless we’re convicted in our heart to quit because “we” want to quit it just won’t happen. Ah, yes, there are sober alcoholics walking around in society, but are they truly happy with their life? Are they truly free from the symptoms of an addicted mind?

God created us and He continues to breathe life into us, but some of us, especially those who are trapped within addiction are blowing God’s breath of life right back out—they have not yet accepted Christ—they are in bondage to addiction. The truth is we can walk this journey in life, stumbling around in the dark, hitting ourselves over the head in the process, or we can give up what is holding us back from God’s love for us.

We can humble our proud ways, and our wretched lives to Christ and begin to be the person that God intended for us to be—the person God intended for us to become in Him!! I’m a living, breathing testimony of God breathing life into me…if I didn’t have life I wouldn’t be able to give you this encouragement today. But God gave me back my life and He wants me to let you know there is a better way—His way!

Don’t waste another minute of your day, covering up your pain, your troubles, your past and your grief with alcohol. Give those things to Jesus and He will take care of your needs. But you have to trust Him. God knows your pain—He knocking at your door, but you have to answer the door and invite Him in.

God will give you peace and contentment…He says He will and I trust everything God says as true! Put your trust and faith in Him…today!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Do You Love an Alcoholic? – Stop Rescuing and Enabling (Part 1)


Do you love an alcoholic? How can you live with an alcoholic and love them at the same time? Very carefully. It’s true, it is very difficult to live with an alcoholic, but people do it all the time. Alcohol controls the mind and spirit of a person, so in affect as long as the alcoholic is drinking you will not get much love in return. Being married to an alcoholic is not a reason for divorce. It is reason for helping your loved one with the disease. Alcohol addiction is called the insidious disease for a reason. It breaks up homes, kills lives, and keeps them from discovering the Creator. Can it get anymore insidious than that?

A person who drinks excessively is called an alcoholic but that is not who they are. A person who drives a truck is called a trucker, but that is not who they are. I believe alcohol addiction to be a phase or transition of a person’s life, meaning it can be temporary. But many alcoholics become sober only to start drinking again, soon after, why? It is because they think they are in control of their addiction, but they aren’t. If a person truly wants to get sober and stay sober, they will.

The person behind the destruction and deception of alcohol is a totally different person when they have been sober for six months. A sober alcoholic can be a very loving and spiritual human being who is able to discern right from wrong and able to live a happy and abundant life. As long as the alcoholic remains drinking, his true character remains hidden from others, and will be under the control of the drink in every aspect of his life.

What can you do for the alcoholic in your life? The first step in helping them is to first help yourself. Become knowledgeable about the disease. Once you realize the impact of how your actions may be affecting the alcoholic in your life, you can detach properly from their destructive behavior. Detaching can be difficult to do but if you love the alcoholic and want to be supportive, detaching with love is the way to go.

Are you enabling your loved one to drink? Are you rescuing them from their problems and responsibilities? Ask yourself these questions to find out?

Am I doing anything that would enable the alcoholic to drink?

Am I doing anything that would facilitate the alcoholic’s behavior?

Am I doing anything that would rescue the alcoholic from his problems?

Am I getting driven into the disease with the alcoholic?

The only way to truly be supportive is don’t rescue, don’t enable, and don’t allow yourself to get driven into the disease with them. Here are some of the ways you enable the alcoholic.

You enable when you take up the slack for the alcoholic by doing their chores, duties and responsibilities. You enable when you give the alcoholic money or buy them booze.
You enable when you drink with them, or when you do anything to help the alcoholic to continue to live his alcoholic lifestyle and not realize that he has a drinking problem. If you do everything for him, how will he know?

Here are some of the ways you would rescue the alcoholic? You rescue when you sweep the alcoholic’s messes under the rug. The alcoholic NEEDS to be responsible for his own mess. You rescue when you lie for them. You rescue when you bail them out of jail or pay court fees for them.

Understand that the enabler/rescuer, which is you, help the alcoholic to continue drinking when you unintentionally become entangled within the deception of the disease with them. Remember, alcoholism is an insidious disease, and it will trap you in its grip if you allow it to. Don’t allow this to happen, or there will be no hope in the alcoholic to ever stop drinking.

How would you become driven into the disease with the alcoholic? By trying to control the alcoholic and how and when he drinks. By threatening the alcoholic with angry words and name calling, you are driving yourself into alcoholism. Don’t fuss, fight, argue, plead or try to control the alcoholic – it won’t work!

When the alcoholic spouse tells you they are sorry for anything bad they did against the marriage or you, they probably are really sorry, but that does not mean that it won’t happen again. An alcoholic can’t control their actions once they start drinking. The drinking is what makes them out of control and under the enslavement of the disease.

There is great hope for the alcoholic in your life, if you take care of yourself first, by not enabling, rescuing or getting driven into the disease. Once you are aware of what you should and should not do, you will be free to set boundaries for yourself in the home. An alcoholic will not abide by any boundaries, so it would be fruitless to try. You are setting boundaries for your own spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being, not the alcoholic’s. See part 2 on setting boundaries for you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

7 Tips For Staying Clean and Sober

Be Around Positive People

Try and find positive, happy people that know what you are going through, preferably who have been down the same road as you and are now sober and ready to support and encourage you in your sobriety. Try not to be alone too often, unless you are having quiet meditation and need the alone time. Happy people bring happiness to others.

Eat A Wholesome Diet

Eating whole foods can make a BIG difference in how you feel physically and will also affect how you feel mentally. Wholesome foods are always best when trying to maintain a clean life from drugs and alcohol. Limit sugar intake to a bear minimum. If you feel an absolute need to indulge in sugar, try “raw bees” honey, which you can find at farmers markets. Bee’s honey has minerals and vitamins in it and is an excellent substitute for white sugar and other processed sugars. FACT: Bee’s honey is sweeter than white sugar.

Take Up A Hobby

What do you enjoy doing, but feel you never have the time? Make time for the things you like and enjoy – you deserve it! Invest your time and energy in something you can be proud of doing. Whether it is a craft, building something, volunteering, or whatever it is you like to do, make the time and just do it. We need to feel good about “who we are” while being free of drugs and alcohol – the best way to do that is by doing things that we enjoy doing and that will give us a sense of accomplishment. We don’t need the crutch of drugs any longer because we CAN love the person God created us to be!

Get Involved!

Idleness can be risky to an addictive personality. The little voice in our head rears its ugly horns and tells us its ok to “use” again, especially when we are bored, lonely, and or depressed. Find out what is going on in your community and get involved. If you enjoy meeting people, attend your AA meetings regularly. Seek friendships that enjoy the same recreations as you and ask them to be a support for you when you feel tempted. Get out and do something!

Help Others With Addiction

Reaching out to others and supporting them in their efforts of addiction can help the addict immensely. I believe when the time is right for the drug and or alcohol user to help others to stay clean is the number one factor in them remaining free of mind-altering substances. Helping others gives us a satisfaction that no other can.

Take An Online Course

Improving ourselves will help to maintain sobriety. There are many ways in which you can improve and enhance yourself. Taking an online course (trade) in something will keep your busy and also show you that you can do something without the need to be under the influence of mind-altering substances. Of course, we should never compare our abilities and skills with others, but we can compare ourselves with ourselves. Where are you at now in your sobriety? Set goals and work towards accomplishing something new for each goal you set. And by all means, have fun doing whatever it is you decide to do. Reach for the S T A R S !

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alcohol and the Bible: New Expanded Version

Alcohol and the Bible: New Expanded Version
"The saloon is a liar. It promises good cheer and sends sorrow. It
promises prosperity and sends adversity. It promises happiness and sends
misery.... It is God's worst enemy and the devil's best friend."
-Billy Sunday ¹

When I was sixteen years old, I received the tragic news that a certain
member of my family, to whom I was very close, was dying of
alcohol-induced liver cancer. I vividly remember visiting him in the
hospital, not prepared for what I would see when I walked into the room.
What was once a big, robust man was now essentially a skeleton covered
with ghostly, pale skin, barely able to speak.
I had only been a Christian for a few months. Even before I came to
Christ, I never was much of a drinker, mainly because I just didn't like
the way it tasted. However, when I saw what years of drinking had done to
my above mentioned relative, my decision never to touch alcohol was set
in stone. As I studied the Scriptures over the years, I learned that I
had made the right choice.
The issue of alcohol has always been a controversial one within the
Christian community. Did Jesus make, or advocate the use of, intoxicating
wine? Is having an occasional drink really that big of a deal? These are
certainly valid questions that committed Christians have asked over the
years.
In looking at the overall teaching of the Bible, as well as observations
made in my own life over the years, I firmly believe that total
abstinence is by far the best policy. I am not a prude, nor is this
message intended to be legalistic or condemning. On the contrary, I want
to share a truth with you that is very liberating. God's Word has been
compared to a map showing us where the "land mines" in life are.
Beverage alcohol is one of those land mines.
  BIBLICAL USE OF THE WORD "WINE"; 
 It is important to remember that in Bible days, the word "juice" was not
widely used. It only occurs once in the entire Bible (Song of Solomon
8:2.) Wine was a general term for any grape juice product-even when it
was still in the grape clusters (Isaiah 65:8.) Even in pre-prohibition
America, nonalcoholic grape juice was often referred to as "grape wine."
Their are nine Hebrew, and four Greek words translated "wine" in the
Bible (to study this further,see William Patton's classic book "Bible
Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients.") Generally, it
is easy to see from the context of individual Scriptures which form of
wine is being referred to.
For example, in the Book of Proverbs, alcoholic wine is referred to as a
mocker and a deceiver that leads to violence (20:1-2), poverty (23:21),
sorrow (23:29-30,) immorality(23:33,) insecurity (23:34,) insensibility
(23:35,) and is even compared to a poisonous snake! (23:32)
On the other hand, abstinence from wine and other intoxicants is
presented as a great virtue. God honored Daniel for refusing the King's
wine (Daniel 1:5, 8, 16; 10:3.) John the Baptist's greatness in the eyes
of God was directly linked to the fact that he drank no wine or strong
drink (Luke 1:15.) Even as He was dying, Jesus refused the wine that was
offered Him to deaden His pain (Mark 15: 23.)
In Ephesians 5:18, we are told to "be not drunk with wine...but be
filled with the Spirit." Note the contrast: Being drunk with wine is in
total opposition to being filled with the Spirit.
If we look at the most strictly literal translation of this verse, it
reads "Be not entering into the act of being drunk with wine, but be
continually entering into the process of being filled with the
Spirit."The context of the verse goes deeper than just "Don't get drunk."
It is telling us not to even enter into the act of drinking intoxicants.

JESUS AND WINE
What then, about the wine that Jesus made at the marriage feast? Was it
alcoholic?The Greek word used here is "oinos," a variation of the Hebrew
word "yayin."This word can refer to grape juice in any stage, either
fermented,or unfermented.
Regardless of your opinion of casual drinking, I'm sure most of you will
agree that drunkenness is definitely a sin. In light of this, would Jesus
contribute to drunkenness?
At the time Jesus had arrived at the feast, the guests had "well
drunk"of whatever they were drinking (V.10.) Jesus knew well the solemn
warnings of Habakkuk 2:15,"Woe to him who gives his neighbor intoxicating
drink." (Note: If it is a sin to put alcohol to our neighbor's lips,
would it not also be a sin to put it to our own?) With this in mind, we
can be sure that the beverage Jesus made was a refreshing, nonalcoholic
grape drink. To do otherwise would have been totally incompatible with
His nature.

ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTION
 We often hear the term "alcohol and drugs." This is a false distinction,
because alcohol IS a drug. It is one of the most abused narcotics in the
world. I have personally witnessed, and many of you have as well, how
strong the addictive bondage of alcohol can be. I have known a number of
people whose lives were shattered by alcoholism. I have often wondered
how much different their lives might have been if they had just said "no"
to that first drink. No "social drinker" thinks that they can become an
alcoholic, just like no one who casually experiments with cocaine,
heroine, or other drugs thinks about the possibility of becoming an
addict. The old adage about an ounce of prevention certainly holds true
here. It is far better to stop a problem before it starts, wouldn't you
say? God does not want us in bondage to ANYTHING, whether it be alcohol,
tobacco, drugs, or any other vice (1 Corinthians 3 :17; 9: 27; 1
Thessalonians 4:4.) As a teenager, I heard a simple, but profound
statement that has always stuck with me: No one ever became an alcoholic,
who didn't take the first drink.
   THE IMPORTANCE OF EXAMPLE
 In my experience in doing personal evangelism, I have made the
observation that the fact that there are Christians who drink is a major
excuse many alcoholics hide behind. God calls us to be salt and light to
the world that we live in (Matthew 5: 13-14) and to avoid conduct that
could cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21.) I was once discussing this
with an elderly Chritian gentleman who brought up a very good point. He
said "One beer might not send me to hell, but it could lead ten people
there who saw me, and followed my example."
To quote Gleason Archer; "If we really care about the souls of men, and
if we are really in business for Christ, rather than for ourselves, then
there seems to be no alternative to total abstinence-not as a matter of
legalism, but rather as a matter of love.²"
Friend, this issue is a very serious one. In light of Jesus' soon
return, we are called to live holy and sober lives (Luke 12:45-46; 1
Thessalonians 5: 7-8.) Those who indulge in drunkenness will not inherit
the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6: 10; Galatians 5: 21,) so in
sharing the Gospel with others, it is vitally important to warn them
against the dangers of alcohol. God doesn't call us to abstain from
alcohol because He is trying to take away our enjoyment of life. Quite
the opposite is true. God loves us, and knows what it takes to truly make
us happy (see Jeremiah 29;11, John 10:10.) Alcohol is counterproductive
to the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us. He knows the
devastating impact alcohol has on countless people. He sees the jobs
lost, the families shattered, and the lives destroyed by alcohol, and He
wants to protect us from these things. He has a plan for your life that
is far greater than any bottle of alcohol could ever possibly give. If
you have never given your life to Jesus, why not do it now?

© 1999 JHB

WORKS CITED:
¹ John R. Rice, ed, "The Best of Billy Sunday" (Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
Sword of the Lord Publishing, 1965, page 76. Quoted in Jack Van Impe's
"Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy" 1980, Jack Van Impe Crusades, Royal Oak,
Michigan, page 85

² Gleason Archer "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1982, the
Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 149

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