Jump directly to the Content

Talking Honestly about Alcohol

Wise pastoral care for that common, insidious disease.

One of the earliest guides for pastors, the Book of Titus, tells a church leader to address drinking problems in the church, to instruct people "not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine" (Titus 2:3). The need hasn't changed much.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that 17.6 million people—about one in every 12 adults—abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent. It's highly likely that someone I talk with at church this week has a drinking problem. But it usually remains hidden.

I asked Julia Anne and Anne, two churchgoing members of Alcoholics Anonymous, "Is there any way to detect a member's drinking problem? If I suspect a problem, how can I bring it up? And how can I help the person?" Here is their street-smart wisdom.

How to spot a problem

Most people who have a drinking problem don't think they do. They tell themselves, "I don't drink before 5:00, I'm not in the gutter, I'm not living in my car, so what's the ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

What to Do With a Stranger
What to Do With a Stranger
What's the invitation here: "Pray this prayer" or "Follow me"?
From the Magazine
Apathy Used to Be a Virtue. But It’s Our Culture’s Hidden Vice.
Apathy Used to Be a Virtue. But It’s Our Culture’s Hidden Vice.
How acedia became the enemy of our souls.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.