NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at email@example.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).
“I’m Afraid I Can’t Handle the Truth”
ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.
- Resource: My Commitment to Change
Memorize: Proverbs 23:29-35 (ESV), “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. ‘They struck me,’ you will say, ‘but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.’” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “Woe … strife… wounds” – Personal sorrow, relational conflict, and physical pain are the results of addiction.
- “Do not look” – Seeing the pleasure of addiction distracts you from the pain it causes. Your focus is your future.
- “Smooth… bites” – This is the contrast between the lies (temporal truths) of addiction and its lasting effect.
- “I was not hurt” – Whether it’s your own pain or the pain you cause others, minimizing pain is a major red flag.
- “When shall I awake?” – In the latter stages, you drink to avoid the pain of being sober more than the pleasure.
“Drinkers, for example, have their own definition of the amount or pattern of drinking they consider to be out of control. If the individual’s drinking does not meet this definition, he or she believes that it is under control. Such definitions might include drinking before noon; drinking hard liquor instead of beer (because beer is not considered strong alcohol); and drinking alone instead of at bars because there is moderation in numbers (p. 91).” Carlo DiClemente in Addictions and Change
“In any event, all data agree that the consumption of three drinks per day offers no benefits over those observed with one or two, and at four drinks per day the risk for heart disease and cancers as well as other life-threatening problems increases significantly (p. 74).” Marc Schuckit in Drug and Alcohol Abuse: A Clinical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment
“The more the addictive behavior begins to replace other coping mechanisms, the greater the probability that the individual will progress from use to abuse and dependence… One of the defining features of abuse and dependence is that the behavior begins to take over a larger and larger role in the life of the individual. As other coping mechanisms drop out, the individual begins to rely more and more on the addictive behavior to cope with problems (p. 98).” Carlo DiClemente in Addictions and Change
“Addictions don’t simply pounce on unsuspecting victims. They follow a predictable pattern. They start with personal hardship and end with voluntary slavery (p. 22)… Don’t confuse feeling miserable with an acknowledgement of your sin (p. 54).” Ed Welch in Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction
“Over time, heavy drinking can damage one’s relationships, job, intelligence, and emotional and physical health. Often the damage is gradual, occurring slowly over a period of years, so that one may not even notice that it is happening (p. 2).” William R. Miller in Alcohol and You
“Addicts quite consciously invest the whole activity of their drug taking with significance. They tend to ritualize it, sometimes giving even the most trivial surrounding circumstances the status of inviolable rites (p. 46).” Francis Seeburger in Addiction and Responsibility
“Rather than being things that we have (as diseases are), addictions are more like things that we become (p. 72).” Kent Dunnington in Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice
“Therefore, a person who becomes temporarily addicted to narcotic painkillers in the hospital may be able to withdraw from the drug more quickly and with much greater serenity than another person can withdraw from the loss of a job or a loved one. The first person’s addiction, although chemically intense, involved only a few million cells directly… In the case of losing a job or a loved one, great existential systems are deeply affected by withdrawal, even though the direct impact on any given synapse may not be so great (p. 84).” Gerald May in Addiction & Grace