What does it really mean to be an alcoholic or a drug addict? An alcoholic or drug addict is someone who is powerless over their using. They experience negative consequences, both in their own lives and in the lives of those close to them and yet continue to use. It is someone who uses chemicals to deal with their emotions. They must alter life in order not to deal with it. It is a consistent abuse.
Concept of Powerless:
1 in every 7 people who drink or use drugs become addicted
500 million with a problem world wide - we have a big job ahead of us as disciples if we are going to win the world for Christ. We need people who can relate to people and their problems (with their thinking). We've got a lot of evangelism to do.
10% of people in church and sister churches have alcohol or drug problems That's why its important for us to know what it is. We're talking about a tremendous problem.
Enabling people doesn't help the real problem. As Christians we make mistakes in helping people the wrong way. Need to let them sink low.
Rm. 7:14-25 - This scripture defines powerlessness perfectly. When we want to do good, evil is right there with us. This is talking to us about who we really are. Treatment Centers, AA may help but God and the scriptures are the most effective. They are the easiest to relate to.
There are 3 Areas Under Powerlessness:
The bible doesn't condemn alcohol and some drugs, it is not evil. Jesus drank at the wedding at Cana, but it's wrong to get drunk and abuse it (Gal 5:19-22, 1 Cor 6:10). The scriptures condemn abusing it. Marijuana, cocaine, crack, etc are wrong because they are illegal and it violates God's law by harming His temple - our bodies.. Drunkenness is sin and God hates sin.
Drunkenness is sin because use turns into addiction. Someone crosses an invisible line and becomes powerless. Use turns into abuse and abuse into addiction.How can you tell if someone is powerless? The best way to tell is if they continue to use despite negative consequences of their actions. These consequences can take many shapes from their children being afraid of them to DWI's and jail time.
Example: If, every time you ate broccoli, you became physically ill, blacked out, crashed your car, slapped your wife and kids etc etc, you would stop eating it. If you didn't then you could surmise that you have a serious broccoli problem.
For the addict, many times, this connection is not made. Sure we see the problems but it couldn't be the drink or the drugs. It must be my wife or my kids or my fill-in-the-blank.
Pride and excuses keeps us from admitting we're powerless. We tell ourselves lies and make excuses. We don't "deal" with life but we blame everything on the circumstances in our life...anything but the drink and drugs.
Alcohol and drugs will become my best friends. I will go anywhere, do anything, make any promise, tell any lie to get my next 'fix'.
Addiction is just sin in control of our lives, it is abuse driven to conclusion. If we're powerless, we're powerless!
We Need To Destroy the Myths!
Some of the myths that are important to know:
1. "Willpower works" - We cannot change on our own. We need God's help.
2. "Most alcoholics are on skidrow" - Ninety percent of alcoholics and drug addicts are functional and they live and work all around you. They are your doctors, lawyers, bus drivers and teachers of your children.
3. "I'm an alcoholic and not a drug addict" - Destroy the myth of thinking that if we're an alcoholic, we're not a drug addict and vice versa. We have to realize that if we are powerless, we are powerless over everything because alcohol and cigarettes, are drugs. Its the addiction that makes us powerless.
4. "I'm unique - 1 Cor 10:13 - "temptation is common to man". Alcohol and drugs are not a unique problem. Our discipling partners can help us. As long as someone has experienced any kind of powerlessness, they can help us and relate to the dishonesty, depression, feeling trapped, etc.
There are unique consequences to our abuse. For instance our families and friends suffer with us and it destroys them. Pride is bad but it doesn't carry the same consequences that alcohol and drugs do..
Some unique consequences are:
A. Sociological Devastation - Destroys relationships between us and our family. We start to ask ourselves, "What am I doing with these people"?. Our society starts breaking down and a lot of conflict is created. Its a breakdown in our society.
B. Economical Devastation - Drugs and alcohol devastate us financially. We're always broke.
C. Physical Devastation - Drinking and drugging has done a number on our central nervous system. Nerves create feelings and when we destroy nerves, it hurts our bodies. The effects of the drugs damage our central nervous system and it will take a while to heal and to feel less irritable. This really shows powerlessness and desperation in that we keep getting high even after we destroy ourselves physically.
D. Emotional Devastation - Intense mood swings and immaturity are something drugs and alcohol create. We've been medicating our feelings and emotions for so long. We don't grow up emotionally so we are, in reality, younger than our actual age. They paralyze us and we don't learn to deal with anger or hurt or bad experiences.
E. Mental Devastation - It takes six months drug-free or sober for someone to be tested physiologically because drugs and alcohol mess us up so much that doctors can't tell what is caused by the drugs or alcohol or by our own emotions. The alcohol and drugs create insanity, it messes up our thinking and makes it irrational. We use our mind to cover up or rationalize. For example: "Its the weekend" or "I just got paid," or "Its National Hardware Week". We get pulled in and get devastated mentally.
F. Spiritual Devastation - We pile up a lot of garbage and causes us to do things that make our life stink. We lie, do things we didn't really want to do, hurt people we love. Sin has a grip on us but now we have God to overcome our powerless.
The journal is important because it shows us our powerlessness.It helps us get honest with ourselves and shows us our history so we can confront our addiction. We can't be slaves to sin anymore. That's all chemical dependency is.