It grieves me that thousands of people who struggle with alcohol brand themselves publicly by saying "I am an alcoholic." They may be stating the truth, but is it side-stepping a greater truth? Is a half-truth more dangerous than a lie?
When a person stands in a meeting and says "I am an alcoholic," they are not telling a lie, because there is in every man an inherited helpless tendency toward a life of sin. It is no different from a person who might confess his failings in a meeting called for the purpose of anger management or for the purpose of overcoming the use of pornography or illegal and prescription drugs. We are all born carrying the spiritual and genetic inheritance of Adam. But no amount of confessing that we are helpless will overcome the truth that our sinful flesh is actually energized to do wrong when we are faced with the standard of God's righteousness. "For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death" (Romans 7:11 NIV).
This is where a line is drawn between meetings of people who are born again and people who are unbelievers. Unbelievers who are able to put aside the mastery of alcohol or drugs will find that other outgrowths of sin will manifest in their behaviors. They are in fact, taken captive by the devil at his will.
On the other hand, believers who have confessed their sin and received the Spirit of God have actually been party to the spiritual transaction where they have died with Christ and raised with Him to a new life. Paul covers this subject in Romans. "For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives...You know that the law applies only while a person is living...So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead" (Romans 6:4; 7:1,4 NLT).
"Well then, since God's grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living" (Romans 6:15,16 NLT).
The truth about the lie being told to those caught in destructive behaviors is simply this. The lie is a half-truth. "I am an alcoholic," is true in the sense that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are all subject to the same sinful life of the alcoholic. But this statement side steps the greater truth: that man's sinful nature has received the death blow through the sacrifice and resurrection of the risen Lord. Every Christian has been given the gift of a new life; the past life with the deeds of the flesh is dead. On this all-powerful foundation we build our choices to live a life in Christ, free of destructive behavior.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 NIV).