I am an Alcoholic

beer sign

I asked a group of believers if someone who smelled of alcohol would be welcomed in church.

A woman told this story:

My step-dad was an abusive alcoholic. After I left home, he started going to Church and made a profession of faith.

He kept going to church but couldn’t stop drinking. Eventually, the church told him he wasn’t welcomed anymore.

She said, “I feel like he lost hope.” He rented a hotel room and drank himself to death.


My sins are ok but yours aren’t.

Christians tolerate greed, gossip, hate, lust, and envy. But when sin stinks on someone’s breath, it’s intolerable.

Two categories of sin:

  1. The sins you commit and tolerate.
  2. The sins you don’t commit and don’t tolerate.

The rest of the story:

During our conversation, a stranger walked in and joined the group. After hearing the “step-dad story,” he said, “I have 8 DUI’s and have just been released to a half-way house. I know God wanted me here today.”

We didn’t explore it, but, there’s a wake of pain, broken relationships, and heart ache behind a life cluttered with 8 DUI’s. What’s the church to do?

  1. God “fixes” we don’t.
  2. Extend grace first.
  3. Speak the truth.
  4. Build relationship.


Churches with sinners are messy. It’s easy and safe to set the rules and kick out everyone who doesn’t fit. It’s also hypocritical because he is me.

The trouble with messy people is they show me who I am.

I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I can take it or leave. Mostly, I leave it. But, I’m an alcoholic in other ways.

My alcoholism is arrogance, intolerance, greed, lust, envy, gossip, hatred. Shall I go on?

We look down on messy people because we wrongly think we are better. But they are us. You’re an alcoholic in other ways.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Living, Grace, Sin

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4 Comments on “I am an Alcoholic”

  1. Tess Says:

    Send the man to AA. AA takes the alckies that the church rejects.

  2. marc Says:

    Excellent note, Dan.
    ” Man looks on the outwards appearance, but God looks on the heart. There is none righteous, no not one. Their mouth is an open sepulcre. All of our righteousness is as filthy rags”.

    I think Newton captured it well, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WRETCH like me”.

    If we could understand the holiness of God, then we would see that the difference between our notion of “good” and “bad” people is miniscule, compared with the difference between our goodness and God’s perfection. Like Isaiah, we would long for the cleansing coal, rather than looking down on others like the Pharisee vs. the publican in the temple.

    Churches are not buildings or associations. They are a grouping of sinners saved by grace whose primary purpose is to make disciples per Matthew 28:18-20.

  3. Curt Nelson Says:

    Powerful article. Thanks Dan. We sure need to be more like Jesus, the friend of sinners.

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