The meeting was called Double-Trouble that I walked into some years ago in midtown New York City. And for some it was more than double, it was triple or quadruple: mental illness, alcohol, drugs and maybe some physical affliction, as well. I could almost see the suffering in some in various degrees.
Some were free-er than others having been able to put down alcohol or drugs through the support of daily 12-step meetings, but still suffered from mental illness, etc.
Through the power of Jesus Christ, I had been walking in freedom for many years from alcohol, drugs and manic depressive / bi-polar illness. And freedom from what a psychiatrist had said was a “touch of schizophrenia”. (Some touch!)
But I felt led by God to go into this meeting, once I found out what it addressed.
The moderator went “round-robin” to each speaker. Finally after nervously raising my hand, I was called upon to give what they call a “qualification.” I gave my testimony sitting there at the conference table and could feel the intensity of many pairs of eyes on me, and heads tilted listening intently.
Mentioning that I used prayer and fasting unto God and used many other Biblical tools that had set me free, I recounted my story of being in the mental hospital 22 times over a 12-year period and of being prescribed Haldol, Mellaril, Elavil, Lithium and Thorazine –sometimes all at once.
Ending my testimony in a room where perhaps 25 people hardly moved, rustled or stirred, I said:
“And for many years now, I have been alcohol, drug and medication-free. But it wasn’t my will power, I never had enough. It was the power of Jesus Christ.”
The silence had a stunned quality at that conference table as the sun slipped through the window through the half-open blinds. People blinked. Many teared up. One man smiled. The hush was palpable. It appeared to me, it never occured to many of them that freedom was even possible.
It seemed perhaps like too many critical issues to overcome. I was there on assignment that day I believe to testify that it was possible to overcome every, single problem. Every addiction. Every affliction. That with God, nothing is impossible.
I believe that there is a spiritual component to alcoholism and mental illness, and many 12-step meetings also believe that the battle against alcohol and drugs is a spiritual one as well. They call the horrific, psyhic grip that alcohol has on a person who can’t stop drinking: cunning, baffling and powerful.
In the Bible, the man at the tombs who was deranged, chained and cutting himself with stones–as if trying to cut something out of himself–would have been classified as mentally ill today and given a specific diagnosis. The Great Physician, Jesus Christ, knew the man had an internal torment that was a “legion of demons” and He cast the evil entities out of the man. And to the amazement of the townspeople, restored him to his right mind.
The manner in which mental illness and acute alcoholism often mimic each other in the behavior of the afflicted is remarkable. Depression, mania, irrational fear, anger, irritability, catatonia, talking to oneself, hallucinations, etc. are often the result of extreme alcohol addiction and can also be seen in those with a chronic and active mental illness afflictions as well. (Combine the two and you do indeed have “double trouble”, which is probably an extreme understatement. ) Why? I believe some of the same demons are involved.
In old western movies (and indeed during that time period) as a cowboy saunterned up to a saloon seat, you could see the bottles on the shelf and inevitably one was marked “spirits”. I call this “truth in advertising” of the extreme sort, because indeed spirits are deeply involved.
There are many evil entities involved I believe, but what does the primary alcohol spirit often look like for those who can glimpse into the spirit realm? Leviathan! Said one tapped-in article I recently read. Leviathan in Biblical days was a huge actual sea-monster serpent or snake. (A serpent: cunning, baffling, powerful. Where have we heard about that before?!) One spirit-realm seeing person, said they could actually see Leviathan or a coiled snake wrapped around the body of an alcoholic, invisible to the natural eye, but there in the spirit realm.
Talk about a grip! And the Bible has several verses about alcoholism and one that directly alludes to this, for those tempted by over-indulgence or who are addicted to alcohol.
Proverbs: 23:32-33. “In the end, it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things and your heart will utter perverse things.”
Not everyone who suffers from mental illness has a problem with alcohol or drugs. And not every drug addict or alcoholic would be classified as mentally ill, though the spirit of lunancy or insanity or being “out of ones’ mind” and not oneself is operative in both.
I personally tried to get sane and still drink and drink and stay sane. It’s a vicious cycle and the combination of mental illness with alcoholism will lead to defeat.
And the Bible makes it clear that in the case of alcoholism, is not just an affliction or dis-ease, but a rebellion and a sin.
I found a Chick publications tract in the street (God’s sychronicity!) in the midst of writing this article and I’d like to share a comment made on page six: “Liquor’s like a demon in every bottle…and he’s out to get you!” And pictured is an actual devil inside a bottle of “fire water” enticingly waving: “Hi there!” This would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. There is a skull on the bottle too, to help you “buy a clue”.
The Chick tract caption continues: “After [the demon] makes you warm and fuzzy. [It] will strike like a snake aiming at your soul.” (And it notes Proverbs 23 again, and paraphrases: “Booze makes drunks crawl into the jaws of death and into the mouth of hell.”
This would apply to alcohol and drugs.
“Envy, drunkeness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not enter the Kingdom of God.” it says in Galations 5:21.
I thought my former drunkeness was just a dis-ease! To see it plainly that drunkards will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, really scared the “daylights” out of me one day. And I had a “dark night of the soul” in the middle of a sunny, California afternoon. Finally, I got busy through God earnestly addressing and working to overcome that awful problem.
Again prayer and fasting unto Jesus along with other Biblical tools, such as praise music and scripture memory and recitation are some of the methods and remedies God avails for freedom, healing and deliverance.
And here’s an important discovery I made about addicition to alcohol in particular. Alchohol addiction is like an allergy in that you crave the very thing you don’t need. And it’s a physical, sugar allergy or addiction as well, not just a spiritual one. Sugar begets more sugar. Alcohol which converts to sugar begets more alcohol. So it’s physical, psychological and spiritual.
One can often break the terrible cycle of alcohol addiciton by praying to Jesus to take the craving away and going on a three-day fast from all food and drink, except water. In some cases prayer and fasting with water and diluted juice. I also discovered that drinking a little bit of cayenne pepper in warm water will help to curb a sugar craving and thus a craving for strong drink. If fasting is not physically wise in your case, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. If you are on psychotropic drugs, then definitely consult your minister and your doctor.
After prayer, I had to wean myself from psychotropic drugs in what was probably a two-year period. There were a lot of prescription drugs! It could take longer or less time.
(Initially, it may take several fasts and a longer one.) Then for alcohol addiction, in the Name of Jesus cast out the spirit of alcoholism, leviathan and any other evil spirits God brings to mind to free the mind, body and spirit from it’s clutches.
I believe that there will be people who died still having mental illnesses who died as believers and lived for Jesus to the best of their abilities. But why not get the whole “Freedom Package.” Alcohol is more of a choice of taking something into your body, and may be considered to be serious rebellion.
Go after each addiction or affliction, taking them one by one. Like a battering ram keep applying pressure whether it takes days, weeks or even years.
But refuse in the case of alcoholism or drug addiction or even mental illness to live with something that can corrupt judgment, mind, body and soul.
Jesus died and resurrected to everlasting life to set the captives free.
at 7:52 am on September 6th, 2015