The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:18 ~ Principles for Recovery from Alcohol Abuse

Vol. 16 No 15 – April 9, 2017

do not be drunk w wine eph 5 vs 18

Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Doctrine of Drinking and Alcoholism, (continued).

Alcohol is a depressant which lowers inhibitions, dulls reflexes, destroys common sense, hampers good judgment and stimulates mental attitude sins. Drunk drivers kill, drunk lovers abuse, drunk leaders lose integrity, and drunken women are seduced.

The Washington Post quoted an article in Pediatrics by Northwestern University professor Linda Teplin and her colleagues, who studied the violent side effects of alcohol abuse in young people, showed just how detrimental alcohol is in leading people to making even further bad decisions and committing violent crimes. The percentage of young people who had alcohol disorders and committed homicide was far greater than those who committed murder and were drug dealers, or those who were gang members, as the chart below depicts.

Cumulative Risks Alcoholism

Drunkenness is the function of human volition in the excessive use of alcoholic beverage, resulting in a state of intoxication or inebriation. It results in loss of control over both physical and mental function. Intoxication may be defined as maladaptive behavior due to recent ingestion of alcohol. Maladaptive behavior includes fighting, impaired judgment, and interference with social or occupational functions.

Drunkenness produces more than impulsive behavior and social tragedy; it also produces many diseases. Excessive alcohol affects the brain in many ways, including cerebral hemorrhage and delirium tremens. And “chug-a-lugging” is a sure way to kill yourself by anoxia, (inadequate oxygen reaching your brain or body tissue). It also attacks the liver, and one may suffer paralysis of the eyes, an unbalanced walk, and even coma can occur. All in all, it lowers resistance to sin, increases the desire to lie, destroys brain tissue, attacks the heart muscle, causes high blood pressure, and destroys the liver.

The Bible gives no encouragement and no excuse for excessive drinking. While drinking in moderation is permitted, there are many believers who cannot do so. For the believer who cannot or will not drink in moderation, he should avoid the use of alcohol except in medication. When in doubt, abstain; for too much alcohol is toxic and detrimental to both the body and the soul.

1 Thes 5:6-8, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, and be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

2 Tim 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

As a depressant, alcohol cooperates with the various characteristics of the sin nature to lower standards of resistance in all categories of sin. Therefore, the drunkard is affected in body and soul by habitual and excessive use of alcohol. One of the most serious problems of being a drunkard is irreversible mental deterioration.

Excessive and habitual use of alcohol by the Christian destroys his spiritual life, his relationship with other people, his health, and many other things. The Christian drunkard becomes involved in Christian immoral degeneracy and cannot be distinguished from his unbeliever counterpart.

Drinking and Alcoholism: (Parts of the following outline and definitions are taken and adapted from the Mayo Clinic website.)

Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive condition that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect that results in physical dependence, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you cannot consistently predict how much you will drink, how long you will drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking. There are two types of excessive drinkers: those that drink large amounts in a short period of time, and those that drink constantly for days, both are considered alcoholics.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism, you may:

  1. Be unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  2. Feel a strong need or compulsion to drink.
  3. Develop tolerance to alcohol so that you need more to feel its effects.
  4. Drink alone or hide your drinking.
  5. Experience physical withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and shaking, when you do not drink.
  6. Not remember conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as a “black out.”
  7. Make a ritual of having drinks at certain times and become annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned.
  8. Be irritable when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol is not available.
  9. Keep alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in your car.
  10. Gulp drinks, order doubles or become drunk intentionally to feel good, or drink to feel “normal.”
  11. Have legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances due to drinking.
  12. Lose interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring you pleasure.

There is also another classification called “problem drinking.” It is possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. This may not be classified as alcoholism, but would also be counter to God’s Word and the mandates to not be a drunkard. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems in your life, although you are not completely dependent on alcohol. This would include, “binge drinking.”

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks in a row, or a female downs at least four drinks in a row. It can lead to the same health risks and social problems associated with alcoholism. The more you drink, the greater the risks. Binge drinking, which often occurs with teenagers and young adults, may lead to faster development of alcoholism.

If you have alcoholism or you have a problem with alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. Denying that you have a problem is usually part of alcoholism and other types of excessive drinking.

If you have ever wondered whether your drinking crosses the line into problem drinking or alcoholism, ask yourself these questions:

  1. If you are a man, do you ever have five or more drinks in a day?
  2. If you are a woman, do you ever have four or more drinks in a day?
  3. Do you ever need a drink to get you started in the morning?
  4. Do you feel guilty about your drinking?
  5. Do you think you need to cut back on how much you drink?
  6. Are you annoyed when other people comment on or criticize your drinking habits?

If you answer yes to even one of these questions, you may have a problem with alcohol.

As we continue this series we will note the recovery aspects of alcoholism and persistent drunkenness. Yet, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should always have as our motivation, 1 Cor 9:23, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”

1 Cor 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Principles of the Recovery Process for Alcohol Abuse.

  • The Volitional Responsibility in Regard to Alcohol and Alcohol-ism:

Recovery from any sin can only begin when we recognize the genesis of the problem. The genesis of alcohol abuse is the Sin Nature’s influence and dominance over our soul. This means the genesis is a volitional issue.

Alcoholism is influenced by genetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors that have an impact on how it affects our body and behavior. The process of becoming addicted to alcohol occurs gradually, although some people have an abnormal response to alcohol from the time they start drinking. Over time, drinking too much may change the normal balance of chemicals and nerve tracks in your brain associated with the experience of pleasure, judgment, and the ability to exercise control over your behavior. This may result in your craving alcohol to restore good feelings or remove negative ones.

Nevertheless, alcoholism stems from the individual’s volition. It is a volitional responsibility. It starts by choosing to drink in excess where over time it can lead to chemical, physical, mental, or habitual dependence. At that point, it may seem like it is a not a volitional issue, yet the volition is still the determiner to whether you will continue to drink or not.

Therefore, alcoholic dependence as a syndrome is the result of habitual drunkenness, but not the origin or cause. The cause or origin is always volition. Alcoholic dependency is alcohol controlling your life. It is not a disease that forces a person to drink, but a sin or a series of sins, the perpetuation of the sin of drunkenness. It results in disease, but is not the source of disease.

The means of alcoholism is the individual’s function under the Law of Volitional Responsibility. Under the law of volitional responsibility, the believer inflicts on himself unbearable suffering through a series of bad decisions from a position of weakness. Those bad decisions come from the carnal norms and standards located in the conscience of the soul.

Alcoholism is defined as a diseased condition due to excessive use of alcohol, although due to its cause of many physical ailments, which we have noted above, this may be an appropriate classification. The problem with this definition is that it ignores the reality that no one ever takes a drink apart from their own volition. People drink or do drugs because they want to do it, just as all sin is a result of human volition. The Greek word ASOTIA in Eph 5:18, which is translated dissipation, means a wild and disorderly lifestyle, excessive drinking as a lifestyle. An alcoholic is a person who drinks alcohol habitually and excessively. Therefore, alcoholism is part of Christian immoral degeneracy, and its effects on the body and the soul are a part of the Law of Volitional Responsibility.

Alcoholic addiction begins with a series of bad decisions from a position of weakness, the carnal norms and standards of the conscience. Many believers do not make good decisions from a position of strength because they do not have enough Bible doctrine in their soul to have developed doctrinal norms and standards. If you do not have metabolized Bible doctrine in your soul, you are going to make bad decisions.

Because alcohol blurs effective insight into the way alcoholics look on things, it is often impossible for others to reach them about what their drinking is doing until they “hit the bottom” or are confronted with a serious problem. They are so dependent on alcohol to function or feel well that they feel there is nothing abnormal about their drinking, and they delude themselves, (lie to themselves), that they do not have a drinking problem. Many feel this way because they are not derelicts or “Skid Row” types.

Yet, volition is the key to understanding the problem of alcoholism, or any chemical sin. It is a matter of volition; you wanted to keep on drinking and you do, or you do not want to keep on drinking and you stop drinking. It is a matter of self-determination. Becoming a Christian alcoholic is a matter of your own volition. Alcoholism is created by your own volition. Alcoholism is created by individual self-determination. When alcohol takes over, the believer is no longer in control; the alcoholic beverage has now taken control, which means the Old Sin Nature has taken control of your soul. The believer’s volition is in control as long as he or she uses that volition to either abstain or drink in moderation.

Therefore, the problem is, drunkenness is the means of becoming an alcoholic. Drunkenness is a sin; therefore, sin is the source of alcoholism. It is not a disease but a sin, or a series of sins perpetuated on a continual basis. If it were a disease:

It is the only “disease” acquired and continued by an act of the free will.

It is the only “disease” that is habit forming.

It is the only “disease” that comes in a bottle.

It is the only “disease” promoting crime and brutality.

It is the only “disease” playing a major part in more than half of fatal highway accidents.

It is the only “disease” that is bought in grocery stores, drug stores, and well-marked retail outlets.

It is a “disease” that provides the government revenues such as Washington D.C., New York, and Hollywood.

To imply that alcoholism is simply a sickness in itself is to ignore its origin in the volition of the soul and its effects under the Law of Volitional Responsibility. Unfortunately, if you keep on drinking, disease results from it. Diseases of all kinds result from perpetual overindulgence and unrestrained use of alcohol. Your life depends upon how you use your volition.

  • Avoidance and Recovery from Alcoholism:

An alcoholic uses his volition to start drinking until he suffers compulsion. Compulsion is a warning to quit now, abstain, and stay on the wagon for the rest of your life. Since alcoholism originates in the volition of the soul as a sin, it can only be cured by the use of that same volition in the soul. For the believer, the start of recovery is the Rebound technique, followed by a willingness to choose abstinence. Abstinence requires the use of the same volition that started the habitual drinking to the point of alcoholic dependence.

There are two initial solutions to alcoholism offered by Scripture.

  1. For the unbeliever, the initial solution is to believe on the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. For the believer, the initial solution is the use of the first Problem Solving Device, Rebound, 1 John 1:9.

Then there are two approaches to not becoming an alcoholic or to overcome alcoholism.

  1. Moderation: the function of human volition in keeping within reasonable and proper limits by avoiding extremes or excessive use of alcoholic beverage. There is no moderation in the use of drugs.
  2. Abstinence: the function of human volition in voluntary self-restraint, refraining from imbibing in alcoholic beverages or taking drugs. Abstinence is not only commendable but a problem solving device of human volition related to both alcohol and drugs.

Thousands of alcoholics are helped to stop drinking every year. The chances of recovery are good if alcohol abuse or alcoholism is treated in its early or middle stages. Unfortunately, most alcoholics do not receive treatment. Over 90 percent of them will die as a result of their alcoholism. Most of them will not die directly as a result of alcohol’s ravages to the organs of their body, but to accidents caused by their drinking.

Proper treatment for the alcoholic must be more than a drying-out period and an interlude between binges of drinking. Treatment should include a well-designed program to get the alcoholic back on his feet and started in a new life of sobriety. He must learn how to cope with life and problems without alcohol. If alcoholics continue drinking, most will continue to deteriorate emotionally and physically.

Many alcoholics who recognize they have a problem have great guilt and embarrassment because of their condition. It is very difficult for them to admit they are different from others who can drink and enjoy a little alcohol. It is difficult to give up something that seems so essential to coping and feeling better in their lives.

Alcoholics, like all humans, vary in what moves and motivates them. Relatively few alcoholics stop drinking by themselves. If they do, it is usually related to some personal shock caused by their drinking. But, the vast majority of alcoholics simply do not face the reality of their condition and cannot permanently stop drinking without help. Long-term or late-stage alcoholics need professional treatment. Quitting “cold turkey” for these people could cause withdrawal symptoms that could be life-threatening.

Organizations like AA and their 12 step program, and others, have very successful programs that lead to recovery from alcoholism. These programs provide their members with tools and support that they can use to help them recover from addictions – be it alcohol, or other drugs or negative behaviors. Another program called the “4-Point Program®” is designed to help overcome the problems with abusing alcohol and quit drinking. It includes:

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation – Help you to identify and keep up with your reasons to quit. Why do you want to stop drinking – what will keep you focused on that goal?
  • Coping with Urges – Dealing with urges and cravings is important to your recovery. You must learn how to cope with urges to drink alcohol in order to maintain abstinence.
  • Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors – People frequently turn to using drugs to either escape from or avoid addressing problems. You need to learn the problem-solving tools to help you manage the various challenges along the way.
  • Living a Balanced Life– When you abuse alcohol, your life frequently falls out of balance – you may find yourself opting to drink rather than go to work or school. You may find that things you once enjoyed are not fun anymore. You need to learn the skills necessary to balance both short and long-term goals, and the pleasures and needs that were once out of balance due to alcohol or drug abuse.

In the Christian way of life, this means you need the “Balance of Residency” in your life, which is: The filling of God the Holy Spirit, plus maximum Bible Doctrine in your Soul ready for application.

Therefore, each of these steps, in conjunction with the application of God’s Word, can lead you to full recovery and spiritual advancement once again.

As with any recovery from sin, it begins with recognizing what you have done or are doing is a sin, and then turning to God for forgiveness and cleansing of that sin. This is the process called “Rebound,” as noted in 1 John 1:9, which is the first of the 11 Problem Solving Devices, (PSD), found in God’s Word.

The 11 Problem Solving Devices:

  1. Rebound – Psa 32:5b; 1 John 1:9.
  2. Filling of the Holy Spirit – John 14:26; 16:12-14; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16.
  3. Doctrinal Orientation – Heb 11:1; 1 Thes 4:13.
  4. Faith Rest Drill – Psa 37:4-5; Rom 4:20; 2 Cor 8:9; Heb 4:1-3.
  5. Grace Orientation – Eph 3:20; 2 Cor 12:9.
  6. Authority Orientation – Rom 13:1-7; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13-3:6; 2 Cor 10:8; Eph 5:22-24, 33b-6:9; Col 3:18-25.
  7. Personal Sense of Destiny – Eph 3:16; Phil 4:9; Rom 9:23.
  8. Personal Love for God the Father – 1 John 4:19; Rom 5:5; 8:28; 1 Cor 2:9.
  9. Impersonal Unconditional Love for Mankind – John 15:15; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14.
  10. Sharing the Perfect Happiness of God – John 15:11; Prov 3:13; 1 John 1:4.
  11. Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ – Eph 3:17; 1 Peter 1:8.

Rebound is the grace function for the believer which accomplishes the following results:

  1. Restoration to fellowship with God and others.
  2. Recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Reentry into God’s Power System.
  4. Recovery from cosmic influence, i.e., grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit.

Rebound is the most basic mode of operation for spiritual victory over the Old Sin Nature in the Christian life, and the most important function of the priesthood outside of God’s Power System, (i.e., the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God resident within the soul). Rebound is the basis for executing all the mandates of God related to “yieldedness,” as found in Rom 6:13; 12:1, that is the first step on the road to recovery from drunkenness and alcoholism. Rebound is a part of God’s logistical grace provision for the execution of the Christian way of life. Without this grace provision, the believer in phase two of God’s plan could not exploit his positional victory over the Old Sin Nature, which was provided by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent retroactive positional truth. Apart from Rebound, there can be no function for the believer in God’s Power System. Rebound is recovery of fellowship with God or reentry into God’s Power System for the continuation of the Christian way of life, as noted in 1 John 1:3-10. Rebound is the first Problem Solving Device provided by God for the execution of the Plan of God for your life. The filling of the Holy Spirit, (PSD #2), the empowerer and enabler for the spiritual life, can only be recovered after sinning through the Rebound technique.

Five Aspects of Rebound and Recovery:

  • Name it, 1 John 1:9. God’s Word tells us to “confess” our Sin to God the Father. It never tells us to feel sorry for our sins or even to plead for the forgiveness of our sins, we simply name them to God and faith rest in His Word that says we are “forgiven for those sins and cleansed from all unrighteousness.” He does all the work, we just apply His Word in faith.
  • Isolate it, Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one come short of the grace of God, that no root of bitterness sprouting up cause trouble, (self-induced misery), and through it many, (other believers), are contaminated.” Isolation means to leave the sin you confessed to God with God, and not let it fester in your thoughts. If you let the sin fester, you may react in a negative way towards that sin or the reason that you committed that sin in the first place, which can lead to further sins like bitterness and revenge. For example, if you face injustice, you must not react and remain in the status of victimization. The seed of bitterness is planted by unjust treatment. Once you are forgiven of your sins, the danger is not over, because you can get right back out of fellowship by becoming bitter toward others. Isolation means that once you confess your sins to God the Father, you leave it with Him and not allow that sin, or the reason for that sin, to lead you to future sins as a result of anger, bitterness, vengeance, etc. Confess the sin and move on.
  • Forget it, Phil 3:13, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, (Spiritual Maturity and Evidence Testing); but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”

If you are still bitter, hateful, complaining, vindictive, and have malice in your soul because you have been victimized, then you are so far out of line with the plan of God you are not even in the ballgame. The believer must never handicap himself with regard to spiritual momentum. This is what we do when we do not forget those things which are behind and dwell on our past failures. Recalling past failures can only cause guilt reaction, denial, projection, dissociation, multiple personality disorder, etc. The greatest problem is self-absorption related to guilt. Victimization always sets it off. Therefore, once you confess your sin(s) to God, you need to forget the sin, in terms of not continuing to dwell on it, and realize that you now have a clean slate with God, guilt free, to go forward in your fellowship and spiritual walk with him. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

  • Keep moving, Phil 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Once you have confessed yours sins, you move forward in God’s plan for your life. You do not look back in guilt or shame, other than as an object lesson of life and of mistakes you made that should not be repeated again. Moving forward means the advancement of your spiritual life, Rom 12:1-3.
  • Stay on the playing field, 2 John 8-9, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” Now that you have a clean slate with God, keep it that way by saying “no” to sin temptations by applying God’s Word to your life, and thereby remaining filled with the Holy Spirit.

As noted above, rebound is the grace function to the believer which accomplishes: Restoration to fellowship; Recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit; Reentry into the God’s Power System; and Recovery from cosmic influence. It is the first step on the road to recovery from any sinful lifestyle including drunkenness and alcoholism.

Remember, there are four battles fought in the soul, and the believer must be filled with the Spirit to be a winner in these battles.

  1. The battle of sin, versus the Filling of the Spirit.
  2. The battle between the outside pressures of prosperity and adversity, versus the Problem Solving Devices.
  3. The battle of false doctrine in the soul, versus Divine norms and standards in the soul.
  4. The battle of maladaptive defense mechanisms (e.g., alcohol and drug abuse), versus the Problem Solving Devices.

We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to be victorious in these battles. This cannot be accomplished without first naming your sins to God, “Rebounding,” to receive His experiential cleansing. God is perfect and we must operate in His perfection to be victorious overcomers in this life.

You must recognize the reality of the problem before you can understand the function of the Divine solution. Recognizing the reality of the problem means taking the responsibility for your own sins and not blaming them on someone else. When you start blaming other people for what you are, you are a fool. When you have a problem, you do not run to someone else for them to fix it or to get them to gang up against your enemy. When you recognize the reality of the problem yourself, you examine yourself for culpability. Only then can you start to recover! Once you take responsibility for your own sins, then you follow the instructions of 1 John 1:9 and carry on with your spiritual life. There is no problem in the Christian life you cannot personally handle from application of Bible doctrine. But this requires knowledge of doctrine and spiritual growth to the point of spiritual self-esteem. This is the first step to the road of recovery and victory. Step 2 is the faith rest life.

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 If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 17-037 – 17-038 – 17-039

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross.

At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins.  He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

 

 

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