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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Alcohol

They say there is a reason
They say that time can heal
But neither time nor reason
Can change the way we feel

For if they knew the heartache
That lay beyond our smiles
It's only now we realise it is off!
So worthwhile

- Joe

The poem above was written by an alcoholic, written for his mother, some decades ago, and he recently wrote it again for me.

It's a beautiful poem.  Simple, and from the heart.

Not many people know the stinging empty loneliness of the disease - indeed, the sin - and it is a sin - of alcoholism.

But what causes alcoholism?  The alcohol is the result of the problem, not so much as the cause.  You'll see from the poem - the emptyness, the pain, the sensitivity expressed in the poem.  People so often turn to alcohol (and other drugs), because their coping mechanisms in life are simply deficient.  They haven't learned or built up skills to be able to process set backs, insecurities, slights, indeed, coming from because they do not love themself enough to being (or feeling) as though they were never loved.  Without sufficient role models or ability to learn coping mechanisms, they remain open as a wound, and so, to be able to deal with life which they cannot do on lifes terms, they turn to a mechanism of escape which is alcohol.

They begin with life, not being able to cope, have one or two more 'beers' than their friends, which continues, until they are hooked more and more on drinking to cope with life, then, as life gets worse, they require more alcohol to escape the even worse life, and alcohol becomes a learned process where they do not realise that it's became all they know.  Live becomes either stuck ie it does not progress, or in most cases, reverses, which is one of the reasons why someone who drinks excessively will often talk about things in the past, it's a life of regret and not being able to let go.

But most of these things, if not all, are caused by not knowing or being able to cope with life.  For most things which would not be an issue for us, where we can let it go, move on, or it simply wouldn't be an issue at all, those who have turned to alcohol do not have sufficient coping methods.

lonelyman

As a way to put it, when an alcoholic stops drinking, their psyche is exposed, live a raw nerve.  The way for them to recover is to put away the alcohol, then the pain of the healing begins, and of course, life IS tough and so many people DO not care.  This makes their sensitive hearts even more vulnerable, so on the outside we see them act in ways which could be viewed as off putting - quick to react to perceived slights (sensitivity) etc, unreliability (due to not being able to cope with general issues in life), and added to this is alcohol which can affect the personality and judgement decisions of anyone, they can do some damaging things and can be difficult to be around.

Mental Health Problems

So many mental health issues come about because of loneliness.  People in life generally do not care.  How many people go through life feeling alone.   Psychology (among other things) looks to train a person to be able to cope with being lonely, but it shouldn't really be that way.

When it comes to alcoholics, although it is easy to judge, I will still give them money - even if they may spend it on alcohol.  Of course, none of us wish this to occur!  However, there's two things to this, one is that the money although spent on alcohol, there may still be enough overall for them to put the lights on in wherever they are staying (if they are staying somewhere) later on in the week which they would not have otherwise had - alcoholics, even those who still manage to hold down employment, are always broke, and it's not like I haven't spent money on things I don't need, so as much as I rather they wouldn't spend money on alcohol, it's not my place to judge! And we can only try to help.

There is a second thing, and this isn't money it's something priceless.  Giving some time to talk to a person who is so down, who is so rejected in life, to SHOW that someone cares, is a gift that people who are down won't quickly forget.

When an alcoholic asks me what keeps me going in life, I tell them it's my faith.  You many not convert them, but when someone has seen such lowly places in life, when you say faith, they WILL at least understand, and listen.

We can give the priceless gift of caring by giving some of our time just to chat and listen.  The booze will be forgotten, but that someone cared will be remembered and that the person is a Christian who genuinely cared will also be remembered.

We get to care and we get to plant the seed of the Gospel, even if they are not converted, the seed is planted;

'And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.' John 4:37

We at least get to sow, and the seed of the Holy Spirit is planted, and someone may hopefully get to reap.

The same is true for all with mental health concerns - even the person who seems to have it going 'OK' on the outside, may have a job, present themself well enough (clothes, hairstyle etc) but who's to know how they are on the inside?  It takes nothing to show we care, just simply by taking time to ask people how they are.  Curing loneliness is a great way to cure many mental health issues, depression, along with alcoholism and drug abuse.

As Christians, we should look to care for everyone -  the least of us - and the broken hearted, as Jesus said when he quoted Isaiah,

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised' Luke 4:18

How precious is that!  Jesus came to help the poor, the captives, the blind, the bruised, and to heal the broken hearted. With humility, caring, and compassion, with the Spirit of the Lord within us as born again Christians, maybe we can do the same

'But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.' Luke 14:13

We can do this anywhere!  Just by spending a bit of time with those who are down on luck in life, on the street, alcoholics, homeless, those who cannot pay us back, the Lord will!

So often pride has people sadly turning their backs on God, and judgement through pride sadly can prevent people from helping others, but God has a special place for the humble, the least of us,

'But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.' James 4:6

How lucky are we if we can give help to the least of us, to be humble and help, to help the least of us.

The world is teeming with hurting people, even those who appear OK on the outside can often be broken hearted.  Loneliness is real.

This report here by the UK Office of National Statistics shows that people who are lonely are 7 times more likely to report low life satisfaction.  People who are divorced or separated or simply single reported the LEAST amount of satisfaction in life.  Why?  Because they are lonely!

womanwalkingalone

Remember, The Lord came to heal the brokenhearted, as Christians, with the Spirit within us, we can share this with others and help to heal their loneliness, just by talking to people and genuinely taking an interest.  It's a sad thing that as society becomes more urbanised, that is, more and more people are moving to towns and cities, that with all the more people around them, that they can be more isolated than they would be living on a desert island.

As Christians, let's make a difference.  We can help anyone - from someone on the street, to just saying hello to the fellow at work who doesn't say much, to hello or a smile to that person in the coffee shop who sits alone, to the neighbour to ask how they are.  Little things add up, any thing is better than no thing!

Alcoholics, drug addicts are the worst of being alone out of us all, but everyone can be forgotten.  It's a joy for me to put aside my judgementallity and try to help.  There is joy in serving.

'Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:' Philippians 2:4-6

Being Born Again

The BEST thing to help the strugging, is to tell them how to be BORN AGAIN, by the person accepting their sinful condition under the eyes of our Holy God, and coming to Jesus in childlike faith by BELIEVING on Him, who was without sin, and died on the cross, paying the price of our sin, paying a debt HE did not owe because we couldn't and that He bodily rose three days later, because, being without sin, death could not hold Him.  Salvation is for everyone my friend! Everyone no matter who they are or what they've done!  We look to share the Gospel, and the Spirit of Truth convicts.

John 14:16 - And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Being baptised of the Holy Spirit on being born again, with the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit lives in all born again believers, they can truly be healed, and as Christians, we can show that love by caring for all.  For Jesus came for all, and even if they are not saved, they are still God's creation, and charity is love.

We do not love the sin, but we love people, for we are all God's creation and God cares, and we are all helpless and hopeless sinners saved by His grace alone.  Let's not forget the least of us, the ones without a voice, the crying inside, let's rise up and be strong through faith and guidance with the Holy Spirit.

Amen!

 

 

 

6th June 2017
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Updated 20th June

 

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