We accept the American Medical Association‘s definition of alcoholism as:
…an illness that is characterized by significant impairment in the emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, and social areas that is directly associated with the persistent and excessive use of alcohol. Impairment may involve psychological, or social dysfunction. Alcoholism also is manifested as a type of drug dependence of pathological extant and pattern, which ordinarily interferes seriously with the patient’s mental and physical health and his adaptation to his environment.
We recognize alcohol as a powerful and addictive drug. We further believe that alcoholism has a genetic basis in many individuals. In others, it is the result of repeated heavy drinking, even in the absence of a genetic predisposition.
Concerning the spiritual implications of alcoholism; we believe it has its roots in alienation from God and the violation of conscience. We accept the Biblical definition of “drunkenness” as a sin which prohibits those who practice it from entrance into the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21) Romans 7:21)
We believe that God’s power is able to deliver individuals from the compulsion to drink, and to set them free from the emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and physical consequences of an alcoholic lifestyle.
Although an individual may be delivered from the compulsion to drink (and is no longer a “drunkard” in the spiritual sense), we recognize that he is still an alcoholic in the therapeutic sense. We believe the continued use of alcohol results in changes in the emotions, mind, and body that do not disappear upon an alcoholic’s salvation. On a physiological level, he will always be “sensitized” to alcohol. Total abstinence, therefore, is a must; any use of alcohol can “activate” the chemical mechanisms of addiction leading to compulsive drinking and behavior.
We believe this physical aspect of the disease of alcoholism will remain with the recovering alcoholic until he is glorified and receives his new body from the Lord. With the acknowledgement of this fact, the Christian alcoholic will be all the more diligent to abstain from drinking, recognizing the dire consequences of alcohol use. We further believe that, if he never drinks again, this physical aspect of the illness will have no other actual effect on his life and Christian walk.
We believe that professional counseling and therapy is usually necessary to help individuals to overcome the consequences of alcoholism. Also, we recognize that alcoholism is a “family illness,” and believe that all of the members of the alcoholic’s family need to be a part of the recovery process by receiving specialized help themselves. We accept the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as a reliable and orderly approach to recovery from alcoholism. We also believe that are some very specific scriptural principles that must be applied to such an individual to assist him in a victorious and fruitful Christian walk.
Many of the attitudes, temptations, feelings, and patterns of thought resulting from the alcoholic lifestyle are not immediately removed upon an alcoholic’s spiritual rebirth. We believe these things constitute elements of this “sinful nature,” or “flesh,” that he will struggle with as long as he remains in this world. Therefore, through a process of discipleship, he must “transformed by the renewing of his mind” (Romans 12:2) and must learn to “walk in the Spirit that he might not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)