Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Alcohol Abuse

The world over there is a huge problem with alcohol abuse. It is estimated that perhaps around 43% of United States adults (that is approx. 76 million people in all) have been exposed to alcoholism in the family. The situation in the rest of the Western World is unlikely to be much different, and the problem in the Eastern European Countries and Russia is said to be even more serious.

In the Brotherhood we also have a serious but largely hidden problem with alcohol abuse. Some Brothers and Sisters may already have a drink problem when they are baptised, and need help and support to break this addiction. Other Christadelphians turn to alcohol due to stress or depression.

Alcohol abuse is not new. Lot was drunk when he committed incest with his daughters (Gen 19:30-38), and Eli the priest suspected Hannah of being drunk when she was praying in the temple, which seems to indicate that it may have been a common problem. In Proverbs and the prophets there are numerous descriptions of those who drink to get drunk (possibly to deal with sorrow or woe, see Proverbs 23:29-35), pictoral images effective because they were part of everyday life.

Many believe that once we are baptised, that such problems simply disappear or don't even take a hold of us in the first place. The reality of the matter is that as followers of Christ we are still likely to go through patches of despair and experience feelings of hopelessness. We are still likely to try to avoid pain or seek relief from stress and worries with the same coping mechanism as the rest of the human race, and it may take a long time and a lot of help and support from both Bretheren and Sisters as well as professional or charitable agencies to combat and overcome this problem.

Alcohol abuse has devastating detremental effects not only for the person suffering from the addiction, but for their family and friends too. Many husbands and wives spend a lot of time and energy trying to conceal the evidence of alcoholism, making excuses for the alcoholic partner, and caring for them when they are unwell. Many such partners are themselves also codependent. Children of alcoholics also show both short- and longterm negative effects of living and growing up in a house where either or both of their parents are alcoholics. It is because alcoholism affects the whole family, rather than 'just' the alcoholic themselves, that it is often described as a Family Illness.

Alcohol is often used as a form of self-medication, to ease pressure or pain. As such support and encouragement to seek help for the drinking will more often than not also include the need to look at the underlying causes of distress and these need to be tackled at the same time to maximise the chances of recovering. This support needs to be available not only for the person suffering from the addiction, but also for the family and those immediately affected.

Another hurdle which Christadelphians dependent on alcohol face are the feelings of shame and guilt which accompany the realisation that they are alcoholics. Feelings of repeated failure and being unworthy are common, and relationships with family and ecclesia can suffer as the alcoholic feels more and more isolated from his/her Bretheren due to their secret. Lies and deceit often accompany the drinking in an attempt to hide the problem from others, or even in a bid to deny oneself the reality of the situation. Where an ecclesia knowingly ignores such problems, rather than prayerfully and lovingly encouraging and supporting the Brother or Sister and helping them back to physical and spiritual health, it can have the effect of further enabling this denial.

Where prayerful efforts have repeatedly been made by the alcoholic to 'kick the habit', and these have failed, there is a real risk that the Brother or Sister concerned can feel isolated and distant from God, due to the shame of repeated failure and the knowledge that drunkeness is condemned in Scripture. Yet God sent his Son in like manner as us, knows we are weak, and would "heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds" (Ps. 147:3). Those struggling against the temptations of the bottle need reminding of God's Love, Grace, Compassion and Forgiveness to all his Children.


Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

(Psalm 103:1-5)



Related Sites by Christadelphians

    "... many Christadelphians are struggling to live with alcoholics who are near and dear to them. This study is written for them; it’s not directed at curing alcoholism in itself."


Further Reading on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

    • Frequently Asked Questions about alcohol - Here are the questions The Australian Drug Foundation most often receives about alcohol along with their answers. All this provides information to better understand the health consequences of alcohol abuse and dependence (alcoholism).

    • - various short articles on Alcohol abuse, including : Adult children of alcholics; Causes of alcoholism; Co-dependency; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; Helping the abuser; Living with an alcoholic and Symptoms of alcoholism.

Drug Abuse Issues Coming Soon.

This page was last updated June 2004