Just Say No

alcohol addictionGiving Up on Yourself

9/2/07

Question: I know I need help, because alcohol is about to ruin me. My wife threw me out last week and said not to come back until I’ve stopped drinking, but I don’t have the strength. I have friends who’ve gone through lots of rehab, but it never did them any good. Has God given up on me?

Billy Graham’s Insufficient Answer: Let me ask you a question: Do you think God wants you to be this way the rest of your life? The answer is "No" — and the reason is because He loves you and wants what is best for you. He doesn’t want you to wreck your life! In fact, He cares about you far more than you care about yourself — and because He cares what happens to you, He wants to help you break free of your slavery to alcohol. Right now you may be wondering if anyone can love you; you may even hate yourself. But God loves you no matter what you’ve done, and once you realize that great truth, your life will never be the same.
How do I know God loves you? I know it because Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice His life for you. If you had been the only person on Earth who needed to be saved, Ask Him to come into your life today.
Then seek help for your problem; your pastor may know of an effective program in your area. It may not be easy, but you are never alone if you know Christ, and He wants to help you confront your inner problems and deal with them. God has not given up on you, and with Christ’s help your life can be changed.

Jen’s Response:  Ok – I have never had an addiction, so I realize that my answer might not be sufficient, but really, it seems to me that this guy’s problem isn’t alcohol.  That is just the manifestation of his real problem.  Alcohol is only an excuse.  For whatever reason, he has decided to screw up his life.  If he really didn’t want to screw it up, he would not be drinking to the point of driving his wife away.

He claims he doesn’t have the strength to quit, but, the first step to quitting, regardless of the program is to decide to get your life back on track.  Quitting alcohol is just one of the many behavioral changes that he will need to make to accomplish that.  When he says he doesn’t have the strength and that he has friends who have tried and failed, he is just issuing excuses so he doesn’t have to actually address his problems or make any changes. It is apparently easier for him to loose his wife and screw up his life then address his real problems. And, that is his problem.

Getting over an addiction isn’t easy, but it is doable.  They key is to think before you act.  Is what you are about to do going to help make you happy?  No, then don’t do it!  This takes courage, it takes practice and it takes perseverance, but contrary to the Graham’s message, there is no magic bullet.  He is going to have to work at making his life better if it is going to get better.  Accepting god isn’t going to stop him from drinking.  It won’t make his problems go away.  The only way to do that is to deal constructively with his problems, which requires facing them head on.  Alcohol, drugs, etc are just a way to avoid dealing with problems, and to make matters worse, as this man has apparently found out, they not only don’t solve your problems, they often compound them.  From my point of view, it seems much better and easier to just deal with the real problem in the first place.  I suppose some people need to learn things the hard way.

If he really wanted to become sober, then he would need to make it his own personal responsibility to achieve it.  No one can do it for him.  Remember, the goal is to actually get better, not to try to get better.  To paraphrase Master Yoda “Do or do not, there is no try.” When it all comes down to it, the only way to get out of an addiction is to choose not to indulge.  As cliché as it seems, this guy just needs to learn to say no.