How can I overcome an alcohol or drug problem?

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How can I overcome an alcohol or drug problem?

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Of course, the information that we can give you is from a spiritual perspective, not a medical one. We encourage you to investigate and take full advantage of medical, counseling and support programs in your area.

We understand that there are physical reasons some people have a greater inclination towards addiction to alcohol or other drugs than other people do. Also, we know that many people who are fighting addictions might well have been thrust into a drug-abusing environment through no fault of their own. But on the spiritual level, every addict bears some level of personal responsibility for his or her decisions.

Because this is true, this is where people with addictions need to start their spiritual battle to overcome. The wrongs that other people have done to you are matters that you must leave for them to repent of in God's time. For the present, you have to deal with the decisions you have made and the consequences they have brought. People with addictions are responsible for their sins and need to repent of those sins in the same way that every person must repent of his or her sins.

We don't have to tell you that it will not be easy to leave the past behind, because you probably have already discovered that for yourself. However, we can promise you that it is possible! It's good that you are aware of past mistakes. Anyone who thinks that he or she hasn't sinned won't ask for—and won't receive—forgiveness. On the other hand, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
American King James Version×
). The Proverbs add, "He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy" (Proverbs 28:13 Proverbs 28:13He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.
American King James Version×
, Amplified Bible).

In other words, you have a significant part to play in the spiritual healing that needs to take place in conjunction with overcoming sin or a sinful habit. Spiritual healing doesn't stop with asking for forgiveness. You have to pursue knowledge of right versus wrong, which comes from a thorough study of God's Word. Having sought God's forgiveness for wrongs, you next need to commit to choosing and exercising the will to do the right in your everyday life. Since you are seeking help, we would guess that you have already sincerely pledged to live the way that you should. Yet you must prepare to struggle constantly against the temptation to slip into your old habit. The world around us—aptly called "evil" in the Bible—ingrains its ways into our nature. Satan adds weight to those natural pulls, attempting to deny the success of our good intentions.

Satan has influence over the entire world. Every man and woman reflects this influence in the negative tendency inherent in his or her nature. However, that doesn't mean that Satan is able to defeat you or keep you from succeeding. So long as you are seeking God, you should have confidence that Satan is held at bay. James encourages us with these words: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×
).

Look to God for His help. James assures us in the same context as the above verse: "Draw near to Godand He will draw near to you" (verse 8). One of the most encouraging promises about the help that we can expect from God is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
American King James Version×
, which says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (New International Version).

Please don't be disheartened if you slip up. Overcoming is a process. It's human to give in to temptation and repeat sins that we thought were buried for good. God will always forgive. But the fact that He is merciful shouldn't encourage us to minimize the effect that repeating old sins has on us. God doesn't grow weary of forgiving the genuinely repentant, but we can grow weary of the struggle. Repeating a sin that we once thought we would never do again only shows how much we need God's constant help.

You probably have been asking God for His help, but you may not be aware of some matters that are crucial to obtaining that vital spiritual help. Sincere people who find they are repeating sins need to ask if they ever were truly converted. Unfortunately, many assume that they have the gift of God's Spirit, when they actually don't. To have the full help of God's Spirit, we need baptism to be forgiven of past sins and to receive the gift of His Holy Spirit. Making a promise to God to do well isn't the same as conversion.

We recommend that you review Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion and The Road to Eternal Life, our booklets on conversion. They explain forgiveness, repentance, how to receive the help of God's Spirit and the need to continue in the Christian way of life. You will find that you can actually build a relationship with God, as your Father, and that it will be comforting, inspiring and motivating.

Drop us a line from time to time to let us know how you're doing. If we can be of further help, please let us know.