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 ...

January/February
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Where Can Pastors Find Real Friends?
Where Can Pastors Find Real Friends?
How to address our perennial problem.
From the Magazine
Christian Fiction (Finally) Has Issues
Christian Fiction (Finally) Has Issues
Evangelical novelists have embraced human grit and struggle. Getting readers to notice is its own struggle.
Editor's Pick
The Last Gift My Father Gave Me
The Last Gift My Father Gave Me
A surprising encounter with my dad, Jesus, and Jerry Seinfeld opened a door to long-awaited healing.
close