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I think I’m a Christian Alcoholic

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I think I’m a Christian alcoholic.

I don’t want to tell you that. I want you guys to believe that I have it all together, but I don’t.

Personally, I don’t think having the rare glass of wine is evil, but recently I’ve started to notice that my occasional glass of wine is well…more occasional.

This isn’t my first-go round with Addictive Behaviors

As you may know this isn’t my first battle with addiction. I am a successfully recovered bulimic and drug addict. Which is why it was so hard for me to admit that I might have a problem!

Also, it’s been hard to admit because it hasn’t gotten out of hand. I only drink one or two glasses of wine once a week. No problem, right? That’s like…healthy and stuff.

But I feel this unrighteous tug towards drinking and it’s been ongoing long enough that I’ve started to reach out to seek help.

Recently, I visited Celebrate Recovery at my church. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered approach to Alcoholics Anonymous. The speaker there, Steph Macleod, admitted that he’d recently fallen off the wagon due to some lapses in his medication. It was a bold, yet scary, statement. Here he is — on stage preaching about Jesus — admitting that he isn’t perfect.

To me, it was the most refreshing thing I’d heard in a long time.

I went into the small group after the message. I told the group of gals that I was ‘pre-step-1’ of the 12-step program. For those of you who don’t know what Step 1 of recovery groups is, it is:

We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

The scripture to back it up is:

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I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 

Furthermore, I admitted that I wasn’t sure I wanted to give up my wine/beer/cocktail…especially since my birthday was just around the corner and I was going to have a weekend-long writer’s retreat at my mom’s place, The Cabins at Angel Springs.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to take the situation lightly. I just wanted a transformation that was real. I didn’t want to ‘give up’ drinking, only to lust after it in my heart constantly.

The next two weeks before my 35th birthday I prayed continually about giving up alcohol. I wanted God’s hand. His help to guide down the right path in HIS Spirit (not my own fleshly ‘good deeds.’)

Well, I did have a couple glasses of wine on the night of my birthday and sat around with some amazing ladies, some who drank and some who didn’t.

But God will wasn’t thwarted or threatened.

You see, a sweet (recovering addict), stayed in the cabin next to me. She sat with us that night, not saying a word about my drinking. She didn’t cast a furtive brow or judgmental tone. She silently prayed for me.

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Before she left I swore I wasn’t going to talk to her about my growing addiction. I didn’t want to admit it to her, because I knew she was going to encourage me to pay attention to the small prick in my spirit I have been feeling.

She packed up her car and came to give me a goodbye hug and it’s like I couldn’t help myself. I love Jesus so much that I don’t want anything — even the occasional glass of wine — to stand between Him and me.

She graciously prayed for me and breathed words of life into my soul.

Do I like that I might never have a glass of wine again? Nope. Not one bit. Actually, there are moments I wish I would have kept my big mouth shut so I could go on my merry-drinking way.

The Call Out of Addiction

The call out of addiction isn’t easy but when I realize WHO is calling me, I know that I’ll have power to overcome. (Even after any relapses I may have).

God’s call to Himself is more precious to me than even an entire vineyard of wine grapes.

Why am I admit this to you? Why am I allowing myself to come under scrutiny and potential judgement? People reading might be thinking a couple of things:

  1. All alcohol is evil, I can’t believe she calls herself a Christian. How dare she!
  2. That’s good for her, but I’m not about to give up my wine!
  3. I feel ya. You are speaking to me!
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For those of you who believe drinking is totally wrong 100% of the time. I understand.

For those of you who don’t have a problem with your occasional glass of wine. I understand.

But for those of you who are struggling like me, please know you aren’t alone. I’m battling with you.

Two ways to join me:

Prayer

If you don’t have any issues. I’m honestly thankful for that!

Through this situation I realize there are so many Christian women — who have been saved for a long time — that find themselves addicted to something. (Even women on a public platform.)

Will you pray for these three things for those struggling, myself included?

  • Wisdom
  • Accountability
  • Ongoing Support

Confession

The Bible says that ‘confession brings healing’.

So if you are like me and you think you have an addiction, whether it’s an eating disorder, alcohol, drugs or porn will you be bold enough to confess it to someone?

Confessing to one person is SO much easier than confessing to the entire internet…so understand that I totally know how much it sucks to admit we have issues.

 

My apology

I have a very small audience for my blog and emails. But I want to take this time to apologize for my lack of control and imperfection. I am a work in progress. Learning and growing. I will stumble and fall. Heck, I might even fall off the wagon. (Not that I’m trying to!)

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Will you forgive me 7 x 70?

I really need it.

I do want you to know that I’m NOT sure if this is a goodbye to alcohol forever.

I’m not ready to commit to that yet.

But I can tell you that today, I will ask for God’s grace to help me overcome any hold the things of this world have over my life.

My (mostly) Up-To-Date Timeline

This post was written in November 2015. This timeline is partly for my own accountability, but also for other to see what recovery looks like in real life. It’s a bumpy road that isn’t always as straight as we’d like it to be!

  • November 1, 2015: Gave up alcohol after my birthday weekend.
  • November 14, 2015: Had one beer while watching TV, that night I had a dream that suggested that God considered that one beer to be adulterous to His request.
  • March 23, 2016: Drank a bottle wine.
  • December 24, 2016: One beer at Christmas Eve party
  • January 23, 2017: One margarita out to eat
  • January 27, 2017: Attended Celebrate Recovery and recommitted to not drinking, took a blue chip 

I didn't drink much. One or two glasses a week, but when God asked me to give up alcohol, my struggle showed me I was a Christian alcoholic.

Head covering Christian woman who loves good coffee and stinky cheese. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my seven children (5 girls, 2 boys).

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Leave a Comment

    • Ariana
    • February 1, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you so much for your brutal honesty! I love you, my sister in Christ, and will be praying for you as this journey continues!
    Never forget the promises in Romans 8–speak and declare them over yourself! You are more than a conqueror through the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and not loving your own life unto death! (Revelation 12)
    “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

    “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
    We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[c]
    37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    Romans 8:31-37

    • Reply

      Thanks. It’s been a battle that I still struggle with. Prayers are always appreciated.

        • Gary Derby
        • October 16, 2017
        Reply

        I am not a woman but I am a Christian and am struggling with my wine addiction. Elaine, please pray for me in my daily slavery to alcohol. Gary

        • Reply

          Will do. I know the struggle. It isn’t fun or welcome…but comes back for some reason. I pray the Lord reveals what you are medicating.

    • Marie
    • June 20, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for your post sister in the Lord. I too am struggling with alcohol at the minute. I pray the Lords strength to overcome this. It helps to know that other christians share the same battles. Will keep you in my prayers. I thank God that he will perfect that which concerns me & he is not finished with me yet .

    • Reply

      That you Marie for commenting.
      Alcohol is a battle I continue to fight. For almost 2 years I gave it up almost completely, but lately I’ve found that I love to have a drink with friends, but each time I have this lingering feeling of guilt. Thanks for your prayers. Drinking is sticky business when combined with following Jesus, maybe I’m the only one but I think it’s easier to abstain completely just to avoid the tension that exists trying to balance it…if balance is even possible. I don’t think it’s bad to drink, and there are verse to suppose small amounts of wine are healthy/enjoyable, but for those of us coming out of addiction or those of us dealing with PPD, I think it’s a dangerous place.
      UGH…I wish being a Christian was easier. Guess that’s why it’s called the narrow road.

    • DG
    • September 14, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for your honesty I too struggle with drinking wine. I have been for many years probably five years after I became a Christian, I’ve been a Christian now for 22 years and it seems to get worse I don’t even understand it . I now drink a bottle every night and every morning I get up and sit with the Lord confessing and begging rehearsing my spiritual armor and then by 4 o’clock give in. I read and rehearse scripture resisting temptation reminding myself who I am in Christ and believing by a little bit of faith I can move this mountain. I’ve been part of the church, Bible study leader since becoming a Christian, taken just about every class at church and have never given up seeking searching the Lord. I have done celebrate recovery,Read Christian books and testimonies about others who have overcome and spent about a month going to a few AA meetings but wasn’t for me. I’ve read books, confessed to the elders and the mature woman at Bible study. I submit a prayer request every weekend so I know people are praying. I’m just stuck and want out so bad.

    • Reply

      My heart goes out to you. I don’t think many people understand the situation you are in. I am VERY personally involved with someone that I know is fighting, fighting, fighting for success in a certain area and despite repentance, classes, prayer, etc for some reason it doesn’t work out.

      My husband told me once about a man in sexual bondage for years and finally the Lord delivered him. He asked God “why did it take so long” and he felt like God answered “look how close you are with me now and you’ll see”…all the struggle helped him draw closer to God, seek God, read God’s word.

      That said, my sister was just telling me some people want to change, but aren’t willing to make the sacrifices to see that change…lemme tell you, I was SOOO convicted because there are some areas in my life that I’d like to see changed, but I don’t honestly want to do the work required. So there is that thought, too.

      I am so sorry you are struggling. It’s a hard place to be.

      Don’t give up, keep trying – the Lord is sufficient in your weakness.

    • Michelle
    • October 9, 2017
    Reply

    I’m a 60 year old woman who raised her family and I help a lot with the grands. I was a volunteer for several meaningful organizations and our church for years. Alcohol and food are a problem now. I just don’t understand how I could drink in moderation all my life and now I’m in trouble. Maybe it does happen so in our struggle we become closer to our Lord. Obviously I became prideful and thought I had it going on! I don’t know, but I am not handling this issue well at all. I have become afraid to leave the house because I don’t want to be seen. I don’t even go to church. I have panic attacks and depression. I am seeing a shrink. I was a good mom and just a normal person and now I’m not. I pray for all of you and thanks for the opportunity to unload myself. God bless you.

      • Bb2015
      • October 13, 2017
      Reply

      I’m so sorry Michelle! I’m still raising my kids, although one is in college, one is a senior in high school who already joined the Air Force, but I have one 5th grader at home too. I’ve been struggling with alcohol for at least 13 years now. I feel convicted to quit and pray and read God’s word, but then give in at some point. I always justify it by saying “I’m not getting drunk. Drunkenness is the sin.” The truth is, if I feel it, it’s controlling me. I know God wants it out of my life, so here I go again… Right now I’m on day 5 not drinking. Every. Single. Night has been a battle. I keep praying. Keep praising God. Even keep crying. So sad my kids are grown/growing up and I feel somewhat useless..

      • Reply

        I wish God would take away our destructive desires when we ask Him. I have yet to figure out why He doesn’t. I’m praying for you and hope you find your deliverance by His Spirit…whatever that looks like.

    • Jaclynn
    • October 28, 2017
    Reply

    I needed this badly. Your words and honesty have helped me a lot. Thank you. I hope to hear back from you even though this is an older post. God bless.

    • Susan
    • March 11, 2018
    Reply

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ; I mean I have a real relationship with Him. But….😢in the last two years I went through a divorce after 38 years of marriage. We’re remarried now but it’s been very rocky and the alcohol is taking over our lives. He doesn’t see a problem but I’m convicted every single morning…..then by 5:[email protected] pm I allow myself to co numerous wine, like 5 glasses every night. 😰 I’m crying just admitting it. I want to have control over this demon but I’m afraid considering many alcoholics in my family, that’s not possible. With me it might be al, or nothing.

    • I know it’s hard but try…even if you fail to never ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I’m praying for you.

    • EO
    • April 30, 2018
    Reply

    Thank all you brave women … I struggle with drinking wine as well. I never really had a problem with it until my kids got older and I kind of lost my identity, if that makes sense. Now I have six wonderful grandchildren who THANKFULLY an very involved with. I struggle with wanting to be a “normal” drinker, which works for a while, but then depression sets in and I hide away from everyone and escape. I just need freedom from this horrible and destructive cycle. I love my Lord and my family so much and I desperately want to quit hurting them.
    I will be in prayer for you all and so appreciate you. I’ve been praying for someone who understands … you are an answer to prayer

    • A.D
    • May 14, 2018
    Reply

    Reading the comments here made me realise how unalone we all must be in some form of weakness. My problem with alcohol started as a way to medicate anexiety and help me sleep, it got out of hand and I turned to the lord to help me in my desperation. If I never had a problem I never would have seeked the saviour. I still have this problem up and down and want it completely abolished from my life. But I feel God is with us he wants us to reach for him and never stop. I pray for you all tonight and the pain that comes with it. I still have my faith that God will release me I’m gessing he needs me to go somewhere, get closer to answers or seek someone in a church before I get the answer. I have been doing this for 3 years since I found Jesus and so far it’s not out of my life. I want to plan for a baby with my husband but will not give myself that joy until Christ is in control. Let’s pray together for god to help us. Amen fellow friends, amen x

    • Grace
    • June 11, 2018
    Reply

    I just found your blog. I know it’s an older post but the only one I could find even remotely related to being a Christian woman battling with wine addiction. I’m now in therapy and starting over. I have been convicted for a very long time that this addiction is preventing me from experiencing the Joy that God has for me and from knowing my identity in Him. I can only pray and hope that God hasn’t completely turned from me. To keep seeking Him and ask for healing and a transformation of my heart and soul. Thank you for helping me understand that I am not alone. My best to you and your family.

    • Awww. I’m glad I helped. I’m positive the Lord is gracious and is walking WITH you through your struggles!

    • Barb
    • July 21, 2018
    Reply

    Thanks for yor honesty. I am struggling myself. My husbands is a drinker and it’s a bond between us and so makes it very difficult to give up. Pray for me. A Christian of 30 years walking with Jesus through this life, good times and bad.

    • Carol
    • August 3, 2018
    Reply

    I hear you and feel the conflict between alcohol and Christianity. Thank you. I am also experiencing this.

    • Madeline Hendricks
    • August 19, 2018
    Reply

    please pray for my drinking …

    • Stephanie E
    • September 7, 2018
    Reply

    Thank God for your blog. I have been battling alcohol for years. Now I know I am not alone. My greatest desire is to be filled with The Holy Spirit….That will not happen like this. I guess I do not have to explain the shame I feel because it sounds like you know. Mine is deep & wide. I have so often doubted my salvation and wanted to end my life. I would never do that because of my family. For most of the growing up years of my two girls I didn’t drink at all. We had a financial crises and I started back. I have been married for 48 years. Ours is a troubled marriage which my husband doesn’t seem to know about which adds to the problem. At least I do not drink every night but when I do, like last night, it is really bad. I desperately want to give this up. The only time I feel half way decent is in church or with my children and grandchildren. The reason I can feel good in church is because I think I have repented every time I drink which never works out. I never drink in front of my kids. This past June I quit for over Two months. It was the best I have felt in years. Prayers will be so appreciated. Again God bless you for giving me a place to unload. I love you all!!!

    • TN
    • November 19, 2018
    Reply

    It is so comforting to know i’m not alone in my struggle…. i pray everyday, read my bible everyday, morning and night…. for the most part through the week with work and everything i do really good… But the weekend i fail… i’m surrounded by friends that are non-believers including my husband… so every weekend get togethers out on the boat… it happens and monday i get to work read my bible and beat myself up because i know i have failed God… i don’t want to go to hell for a beer…. it’s every Monday i am miserable…. need all the prayers i can get…

    • catgirl
    • December 26, 2018
    Reply

    I was really thinking I was alone in this. I keep repenting, knowing I drink too much and trying to stop. Like someone else, I quit for a couple months and I felt great. Then my husband ordered me a drink in a restaurant and the battle was back on. I have young children and am unable to work due to back problems. I drink in part because of the constant pain. However, I want to be here for them as they grow up, and I SO BADLY want to serve the Lord. I do. I want to do good, and then I don’t. I know Jesus died for me – and just pray God hasn’t turned his back on me.

    Please pray for me as I will for you all.