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What the Bible Says About Alcohol and Alcoholism

By Alcoholics can't control their drinking. If you are an alcoholic, you have a compulsive desire to drink. When you drink, your negative personality traits, such as anger, may be intensified and your problems may seem magnified. In order to cover up your alcoholism, you may tend to overdo in other areas of your life.

Chances are, you need a drink at certain times of the day in order to get going, to face your problems, or to relax. And you may even drink on the job. Of course this means that your work and efficiency is slacking off. And your home life is probably suffering as well. You are enslaved by the sin of alcoholism.

Yet there is hope. God is able to deliver you completely by cleansing, sanctifying, and justifying you (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Though alcohol abuse is a failing of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), the Holy Spirit can, and will, produce the self-control you needto overcome it (Galatians 5:22-23).

What Scripture Says

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." (Proverbs 28:13).

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:8,9).

"Your wickedness will punish you. Your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me" (Jeremiah 2:19).

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17).

"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water'" (John 4:10).

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). (Here is the key to beating alcoholism -- through the power to overcome.)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22, 23). (God will produce will power for the powerless.)

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).

"Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler: whoever is led astray by them is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1).

Is There Hope?

If you have a drinking problem, you have probably felt condemned by yourself and others. Rather than condemning, however, God emphasizes how to overcome by receiving salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit. With these you will have the ability to become free and stay free of alcohol.

The saying "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic" is based on the fact that a recovered alcoholic can never go back to drinking in any amount without being controlled by it again. Therefore, you need to ask God to deliver you from the desire to drink at all.

Practical Help

You probably have tried to stop drinking before and it has not worked for you. You may have tried religion or you may even be a Christian. What you need is practical spiritual help. Seek out a Spirit-baptized counselor. Ask him to pray for deliverance for you -- especially from compulsiveness, psychological and physical dependence, and even from the desire to drink.

You may have been told, "You must stop drinking and never drink again." But the pressure of having to face life without drinking may be overwhelming. Focus on the present. Decide that you will not have a drink right now. "Live one day at a time. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).

You need to modify and change your lifestyle. The Bible speaks of being transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans12:2). You can renew your mind through your reading and thinking habits. The Bible and devotion testimonial books will be most helpful. Dwell on God and His Word rather than on your problem.

Learn and follow the principle of praise (honor and respect) to God each time you are tempted to drink. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -- the fruit of lips that confess his name" (Hebrews 13:15). It is important to change your perspective from yourself to God, and from the drink to God. Praise God the Problem-solver rather than the problem. Remember that you can be just as chained to sin by trying not to do it as you are by doing it. As long as your attention is on the sin, you are honoring it. But if your attention is on God, you are honoring Him. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

Contact a Spirit-filled church, or prayer group, and Alcoholics Anonymous. The 700 Club or a local church pastor can help you do this.

You may have a spouse, relative, or friend who is not an alcoholic and wants to help you. He or she may need salvation, the baptism of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit for their own sake. They can then better intercede for your deliverance from alcohol.

Your close relatives may need to know how to help spiritually in your effort to recover. They should know that openly condemning an alcoholic is not effective. It may just feed your sense of "joyous agony" because you are "getting what you deserve." Jesus came to save, not to condemn (John 3:17).

That's not to say that they should tolerate your alcoholic behavior. Instead, they should offer to help you. Your spouse, friends, or relatives can find out how to help you by contacting a Spirit-filled fellowship, AA, or ALANON, an organization for friends and relatives of alcoholics.

As You Pray

If you are not yet a born-again Christian, ask God to forgive you, save you and fill you with the Holy Spirit. An unforgiven, unclean drunkard cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:10; I John 1:8,9; Romans 10:13; Luke 13:5; Acts 1:8).

Pray for deliverance. Offer thanks and praise for God's deliverance, mercy, ever-present help and power to overcome.

Pray for deliverance from fear -- the fear that "I won't be able to make it" (II Timothy 1:7).

If you want to experience God's abundant LIFE, pray this simple prayer with me:

Heavenly Father, I come to you in Jesus' name. I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk with you and send you some literature to help you begin your new LIFE with the Lord.

Find a church near you.

Learn more about living for Jesus


II Timothy 2:1,4,5,11-13 -- Boldness, courage, God's faithfulness

Philippians 3:12-14 -- Forget the past

Psalms 103:12 -- Separation from sin

Isaiah 40:31 -- Strength renewed

John 8:36 -- Free in Jesus

Galatians 5:1 -- Freedom assured

Galatians 5:22-23 -- Fruit of the Spirit

Romans 10:17 -- Faith imparted

Romans 8:31-37 -- Assurance in Christ

Proverbs 29:25 -- Safety in Jesus

Using a Bible concordance, study every reference for "fear," "deliverance," "healing," and "praise."

Practice "agreeing with God" about His promises for you and "disagreeing with Satan" who tries to accuse you to yourself, to God, to your family, friends, employers, etc.

Seek out other reformed drinkers. Look for their support. Read"Prison to Praise" and other books by Merlin Carothers.

"The Twelve Steps for Christians," Recovery Publications, which contains a list of Resource Organizations and a list of additional reading interest.

"Addiction and Grace," Gerald G. May, M.D.

"The Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book"

"The Serenity Bible," Thomas Nelson

What to do the first day without a drink!

  1. Clean up, dress up.
  2. Try to eat something.
  3. Don't exaggerate any discomfort.
  4. Avoid arguments and other conflicts.
  5. Do things you can easily do.
  6. Face your social situation realistically.
  7. Stay away from your drinking buddies.
  8. Know that you are not alone. Many other people are going through what you are today.
  9. Don't waste time worrying about whether you will sleep tonight.

The next few days:

  1. Remember, God loves you. Sin has no claim upon you.
  2. Be prepared to refuse a drink.
  3. Don't rationalize that: (a) I need a drink to keep going, or (b) the bad times are to be blamed for my being underfed or overly tired.
  4. Reaffirm, "I'm not going to have a drink today!"
  5. Remember Phil. 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
  6. Contact a pastor and ask for prayer and other help as you need it. God has a great love for you. Ask Him to lead you to other Christians to whom He has given a love and concern for you and other people who have similar problems.

Related articles:

Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse FAQs: Is Drinking Alcohol A Sin?

The Best High of All: The Story of Jay Haizlip

No Hope for Serena

Read other teaching sheets on

Read other Amazing Stories from The 700 Club

Do you have a question? E-mail a CBN counselor

Scripture references are taken form the New American Standard translation of the Bible.

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