For anyone looking for change, inspiration, and motivation to move out of addiction and into a healthy life, the Bible can be a wonderful source. Yet, the Bible doesn’t talk about addiction in modern terms. Addiction and substance use disorders are relatively modern concepts, defining an age-old problem. But, the fact that the Bible uses old terminology does not make what it has to say about those problems – including drunkenness, debauchery, riotous living – any less relevant to the modern reader.
Most importantly, the Bible has much to say about things that are more relevant and important, such as overcoming temptation, about recovering from sin, about finding peace, and about forgiveness. It is those messages that ultimately resonate with us as we move away from a life of sin and degradation and towards the light and love of God.
Throughout the Bible, you will consistently find messages implicating substance abuse, namely alcohol, in harm to the body and the spirit. Famous passages about the harm caused by substance abuse include Proverbs 20:1, Isaiah 5:11, Ephesians 5:18-20, Galatians 5:19-21, Proverbs 23:20-21, Romans 13:13-14, and others. Many of these focus on wine, because it was the most common substance of its day. Without synthesized or man-made drugs, alcohol and opium (which is also mentioned in the Bible), were often the drugs of choice. None sum it up quite so succinctly as Proverbs 23:29-35:
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
The passage is clear in its message that alcohol is seductive, but ultimately harmful.
Substance abuse is a temptation that leads you away from the light of God. You cannot be a Christian and continue to indulge, but you can accept God back into your life and have your sins washed away. There is always hope for forgiveness, no matter how far you have fallen into addiction.
“Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:10-11
This message is repeated throughout the Bible, in the Old and New Testatament.
“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” – Galations 5:21
In Romans, the Bible explicitly talks about throwing off bounds of substance abuse and poor habits and rising up to be worthy of salvation and of God.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” – Romans 13:10-13
The Bible is also very clear that while God puts temptations in front of people, there will always be a way out if they are willing to pursue it. Life may lead you into addiction and pain, but there will always be ways to pull yourself out, through your community, through rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment, and through God.
“There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
What this will look like for you will likely heavily depend on your home and social life, your community, and your relationships. But, no matter what, God will provide a way.
We are all brothers and sisters under God, and the Bible is very clear about the fact that when one of us strays, we must all stop to help that person back on their feet. Your church, community, friends, and family will not abandon you as you try to move forward and to recover, because you are their family and they are as obligated to help you recover as you are to recover.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:1-2
Your community will offer support, and if they do not, they are not good Christians.
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.” – James 5:19-20
Every one of us has the obligation to reach out and to help those in need, whether by offering support, helping people into rehab, or involving them in the community so that they can recover.
The Bible has a lot to say about recovery, about coming back to God, and about casting away sin and turning to a righteous path. Seeking out recovery and addiction treatment is the first step to doing so, the first step to finding a better way, and the first step to finding God and building a new life for yourself.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” – James 4:7-10
If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, it’s never too late to get help. Christian-based drug and alcohol treatment programs offer strong, Christ-supported treatment, combining modern medicine with spirituality, fellowship, and the word of God, to offer every participant the best possible grounds for moving forward and fully recovering.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, please contact Christian’s Drug Rehab to learn more about our program. Our dedicated team can help you break the cycle of addiction and manage any co-occurring mental health condition that may accompany you or your loved one’s disorder.