David Caskey has been preaching the gospel for more than thirty years. Much of his life has been spent in the mission fields of South, Central, and East Africa, and in the islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Although he has preached for congregations in Denton and Baytown,Texas, and Monroe, Louisiana, his heart has been in those fields where people have never had access to the gospel of Christ. His work has been to convert these people to the Lord and start congregations in these virgin territories.
In recent years, he has used the radio in his initial efforts to open the door of opportunity, make contacts, distribute New Testaments and Bible lessons, and then follow up by visiting towns and communities where people showed an interest and a desire to become Christians.
During this process he would distribute, with help from national preachers and Christians—and even townspeople who were not Christians—thousands of personal Bible study lessons and other gospel literature in the towns and communities. In this way hundreds of people have been baptized and congregations of the Lord's church begun.
For years he has been teaching young men and women enrolled in the Harding University of Biblical Studies in Nassau, Freeport, and Eleutheria to prepare them to take the gospel to their own people in this family of islands. This may not be the only way to get the gospel to these people, but we are convinced that it is one of the best ways.
Being well known in the islands, David Caskey was asked to serve on the Prime Minister's Drug Rehabilitation Board. This challenged him to further study the question of drug and alcohol abuse and gave him an opportunity to speak in many places, both in the Bahamas and in the United States, on the subject.
Some years ago he wrote a book on alcohol abuse, I Hurt and Don't Know Why. Tens of thousands of these books have been printed and distributed by Mission Printing to schools, hospitals,
large business establishments, and service clubs, as well as to churches and individual Christians. This pamphlet is a further study of this important problem. We hope that it will find a ready reception in a society that desperately needs help in this area of daily life.
During the close of the nineteenth century, a new social philosophy, along with its new code of morality, emerged all over the world. This was not just a rebellion against God and the Bible, but a sustained effort to destroy the idea of sin. Those acts and thoughts which gave sensitive minds feelings of guilt were no longer to be seen as sinful, immoral, or wrong. Any action not carnal or caused by disease might be inelegant, in bad taste, or unpleasant, but not categorized as sin.
The expansion of these ideas were originally taken from the fields of hypnosis, psychoanalysis, conditioned reflex phenomena, discovery of drugs which alter mood and behavior, and changes in the scientific methodology of research. In our day they have given rise to the idea that no man is responsible for his own actions. Thus, when 25,000 people are killed on our highways each year by drunken drivers, or a drug addict causes a train wreck, or a drinking mob rapes and terrorizes, or a condemned mass murderer confesses that all the gruesome acts were committed under the influence, the defense is often that the perpetrators are chemical dependents. Supposedly this nullifies and excuses the deeds.
God in His wisdom designed a pattern for living so that we might have purpose, direction, hope, and happiness. The man who, out of love and gratitude, seeks to know and do the will of God is rewarded in both this life and the next.
The word of God speaks plainly about the abuse of both drugs and alcohol. Our society has ignored the warning and now faces the most far reaching social disaster of all time. Ninety-seven percent of our homes and families are, to some extent, dysfunctional, lives are out of control, unhappiness and bewilderment prevail, suicide statistics are escalating, and crime is at an all time high.
In an atmosphere of panic, support groups who offer hope and direction to individuals and families affected by drugs and alcohol are increasing at unprecedented rates. The airways are
clogged with talk shows and documentaries which discuss every aspect of the aftermath of our national tolerance of the very thing condemned by the inspired word. We have sown to the wind and we now reap the whirlwind. Churches across our land are dying, not because the message of the Bible is weak or ineffective, or irrelevant, but because we have not opened our eyes and hearts to the pain and desperation of a baffled society.
Secular support groups borrow, disguise, and water down the spiritual message of hope centered in Christ and give serenity of mind, but not salvation, to a grasping society. They meet several times a day in many borrowed and rented rooms in every town and village and still the numbers grow.
We must awaken to the challenge created by the sins of alcohol and drug abuse. We must learn to recognize the resulting personality disorders and understand the damage done to affected spouses and children and know how they respond and cope. With compassion, we must lead them to the solution of all of life's woes through both knowing and understanding how to apply the message of Jesus to their own life and soul.
The drinking of alcohol is mentioned in fifty-five verses of scripture. One passage in the New Testament specially addresses drug abuse. Many of the passages prohibit those in positions of secular or spiritual leadership from the use of strong drink. Aaron and his sons were not to drink while rendering service to God (Leviticus 10:8–11).
Officials with responsibility for human life should not imbibe (Proverbs 31:4–5). The nation is blessed with leaders who refrain from drunkenness (Ecclesiastes 10:17). Spiritual leaders became incapable because of their drinking (Isaiah 28:7).
Church leaders in the New Testament must not be given to wine (I Timothy 3:3, 8). The Nazarite vow excluded strong drink (Numbers 6:3; Luke 1:15). Various forms of immoral sexual behavior are associated with drunkenness. Noah, in a drunken and naked state, was accosted by his youngest son, Ham (Genesis 9:22–25). Lot's incestuous relationship with his own daughters was a result of drinking (Genesis 19:30–38). King
Ahasuerus tried to subject his queen, Vashti, to the immoral gaze of drunken princes (Esther 1:5–22). Drinking fills minds with impure and perverse thoughts (Proverbs 23:31-33). Carnal living and immorality go hand in hand with drinking (Isaiah 22:13; Hosea 4:10–11). Young women were sold for the price of a drink (Joel 3:3). Drinking is an attribute of rebellious, disobedient sons (Deuteronomy 21:20).
David's drinking led him to murder. Others died at the hands of those who were drunk (II Samuel 11:13; I Samuel 25:36–38; II Samuel 13:28–29; I Kings 16:8–10; I Kings 20:13–21; Isaiah 24:20). Drinking alters a personality and deceives a man (Proverbs 20:1). It produces sorrow, woe, contentions, babbling,and wounds without cause (Proverbs 23:29–30).
Drinking gives a man a false sense of invincibility (Isaiah 56:12). Drinking leads to profaning of sacred things (Daniel 5:3). Drinking makes one scornful and selfish (Hosea 7:5; Amos 6:3–6). Arrogance is inflamed by drink (Habakkuk 2:5). Those who drink are not alert (Matthew 24:48–51). Rioting and drunkenness are shown opposite of honesty (Romans 13:13).
The addictive nature of drinking and its progressive destructiveness are discussed (Proverbs 23:35; 23:32; 23:20; Habakkuk 2:16; Proverbs 21:17; 23:21). God's people forbidden from setting the wrong example for others (Habakkuk 2:15; Romans 14:21).
The seriousness of the sin of drunkenness is shown in these passages that teach that drunkards are not prepared for Judgment Day and shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Luke 21:34; I Corinthians 6:10; Galatians 5:21). Christians are commanded not to be drunk (Ephesians 5:18) or to keep company with drunkards (I Corinthians 5:11).
Paul gives a list of the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19–21. He lists both drunkenness and witchcraft. The New Testament word is pharmakia. This is the same word from which we derive our English word pharmacy. The word deals specifically with the abuse of drugs. The use of hallucinogenics in practicing witchcraft in its various forms is, and was, so common that the words were synonymous. We should not be amazed that God delivered warnings thousands of years ago that, in recent times, are being
discovered for their timely applications to people. The modern psychological profile of the chemically dependent personality does not differ from the passages in the preceding paragraphs.
These people have low self–esteem, tell the truth or keep promises with great difficulty, think irrationally, estrange themselves from all but drinking or using partners, deny that they have a problem, are forgetful, disorganized, late, addictive, and compulsive. Sexual abuse and looseness are common. Intolerant is the trait that does not allow for the delay of gratification of personal desires. This, in turn, leads to progressive involvement and, often, crime to support the habit.
The thought and behavioral traits of the dependent personality adversely affect family members and are uniformly passed on to the next generation. In this way almost every family has been touched and we have lost sight of personal interaction that is normal, and the ideal of the family as God intended it to function.
God, in His love, set a standard, and blazed a trail with His own Son, that would provide purpose, service, happiness, hope, and peace. He intended that children be brought up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord,” with both a father and a mother to guide them. Forty-five percent of our children are raised in a single parent home, and one in four children has at least one alcoholic parent and is, thus, between four and ten times as likely to become addicted as other children.
The dependent personality exists even among those who have never had a drink or a smoke or a sniff. Those traits, which are character flaws, may express themselves in other fields. Groups are formed to help deal with work–aholics, food–aholics, sex–aholics, and even neg–aholics—people who are addicted to negative thinking. These recognized additions are treated much the same way as alcohol and drug dependency. Treatment is also needed for families of all these addicts, because they, too, have been caught up in a senseless merry-go-round, proceeding nowhere.
The road to addiction usually begins with nicotine (I heard a young addict on a television program involving hundreds of people, say that this was always true,
without exception. He called it the “gateway drug”—Editor), and then advances to beer, hard liquor, marijuana and/or various pills or hallucinogenics, then to cocaine and/or the form called crack. There are exceptions to this procedure, but this is the norm. The frightening news is that young people are being hooked at increasingly earlier ages.
Drugs are illegal for everyone and, although alcohol and tobacco are legal for adults, they are almost always illegal for school-age children. Every state has raised its drinking age to twenty-one.
In forty-one states and the District of Columbia, the sale of tobacco to minors is forbidden.
The scope of drug use is not confined to particular population groups or economic levels. Thirty-nine percent of urban youths have used drugs by graduation day, as compared to thirty-two percent in rural areas. Female students use drugs at only a slightly lower rate than males—thirty-four percent versus thirty-eight percent.
By age thirteen, thirty percent of boys and twenty-two percent of girls have begun to drink alcohol. Two percent of sixth graders have experimented with marijuana, and five percent of junior high students are daily tobacco users.
By high school graduation, one percent of American students are frequent users of illegal drugs; two-thirds are frequent users of alcohol and one in five uses tobacco daily. More than fifty percent have used marijuana; ten percent hallucinogens; and over ninety percent alcoholic beverages.
Seventy percent of child and adolescent suicides can be directly related to depression aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse. The United States suffers the highest rates of teenage substance abuse in the industrialized world.
No family can bury its head and pretend not to be concerned. Statistics show that kids usually get their drugs from a close friend or a relative, and are most influenced by peer pressure.
Truly, “Evil companionship corrupts good morals.” One-fourth of fourth graders are pressured to try drugs, and the median age for drug and alcohol use is eleven and one–half years.
Chemical abuses are closely related, since “drug addiction is seldom, if ever, isolated from alcoholism.” This information was shared by Barbara Starr, First Vice-Chairperson of the National Council of Alcoholism. We note many similar characteristics in all forms of abuse. The slide into abuse can be gradual and subtle.
While kids are pressured by peers, many adults use substances to cope with their daily problems, frustrations, and feelings of inferiority. Alcohol or drugs or both become a pattern because of unresolved stress. Over a period of time, a person can become psychologically addicted to chemicals as a method of coping with personal problems.
Abuse has already occurred when one automatically reaches for a drink, smoke, or a pill when difficulties or emotional stresses are present. By persistently keeping chemicals in the blood stream, one may alter metabolism and become physically addicted as well. Alcohol or drugs should never be used to escape problems, or to cure loneliness, boredom, or depression.
The Bible teaches us to resolve our problems through knowledge, prayer, seeking forgiveness, setting our minds on values above, correcting interpersonal wrongs, and understanding our worth as those made in the image of Maker.
Of the eighteen million known alcoholics in the United States, only three to five percent exist on Skid Row. Most maintain homes and families and master facades. Thus, the greatest roadblock to early and successful treatment has always been its prime symptom—denial. Addicted people use hundreds of forms of attempted control to maintain denial. These include drinking only beer, never drinking alone, never drinking before noon, never drinking during business hours, seeing a counselor, going on the wagon for periods of time, and on and on.
Denial is the biggest thing about addiction. Most families make an effort to hide the problem. It is ignored and denied. We know that someone drinks too much, or someone uses drugs, but we
are baffled, ashamed, hurt, and in such pain that the truth is almost never faced. It is a secret that almost everyone shares. Our attitudes and fears only make it worse, and we pass the effects of this destructive monster from generation to generation.
The debate rages about calling alcoholism and drug abuse a disease. Usage of the term is usually acceptable if properly defined. Over a period of time, abusers alter brain cell function, induce nerve damage, shrink the cerebral cortex, imbalance the hormonal system, and damage vital organs. Life expectancy drops from twenty to forty years below national averages, depending on complications.
Children of abusers do inherit things that make them more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. We are influenced by our genes, which effect psychological and metabolic functioning, and social environment. One does not inherit alcoholism, but a genetic predisposition which renders a person more metabolically vulnerable if drinking is chosen.
Addiction is still created by our world which fosters careless, socially encouraged, abusive practices as a means of solving emotional problems. Regardless of background, no one can assume that he or she has immunity.
Great concern is being given, and criminal charges are stemming, from the birth of children who are already addicted. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (and drug abuse) is one of the three leading causes of mental retardation and is the only preventable one. The safe alcohol consumption level for a pregnant woman is none.
Chemical dependency follows a familiar pattern. Sometimes the order changes, or the behavior is temporarily suspended, then resumes. The pattern is one of loss of control, alibis, social pressures, grandiose behavior, aggression, guilt, remorse, periods of cessation, changes in drinking or using patterns, the decay of social relationships, problems on the job, increase in the importance of the substance (I heard abusers say on the television program, Crack Down, that they were married to it and moved it above anyone or anything else—Editor), seeing counseling, family problems, unreasonable resentments, escape,
chain drinking or using, ethical breakdown, loss of logical thought processes, jealousy, decreased tolerance, fears, tremors and shakes, bankruptcy of alibis, admission of defeat, and seeking a helping hand.
Most die without getting the spiritual help that will put them in recovery.
It is horrible living with an active dependent personality. The addict in not the only one who is sick and in need of help. The spouses and associates of alcoholics and drug users are labeled as codependents. They also become very unattractive people and contribute to the dysfunction of the home. Codependents, without a spiritual program of recovery, are barely surviving while they cope with outrageous circumstances. Most do not realize the mistakes they are making. For years they have been doing all the wrong things, even for the right reasons.
Before circumstances can change, they too must be aware and accept their part in aggravating the sad scenario. Most codependents who seek support groups are looking for help in getting the addict to stop.
At that point there is the delusion that if the abuse would stop, things would return to normal. However, years of playing games, building defenses, and trying to control another's drinking or using have put the codependent in a position to need active and vital spiritual programs of recovery. Codependents are rescuers, caretakers, and enablers. They do things for others that keep them from meeting responsibilities and that allow them to continue the abuse without suffering consequences for their actions.
Codependents help increase family anger, anxiety, and denial. The codependent rescues and then gets resentful, and begins to persecute the addict. They nag, lecture, scream, cry, beg, coerce, hover over, protect, accuse, chase after, try to talk out of, attempt to induce guilt, entrap, check up on, scold, lock in, lock out, and snarl out demeaning names. The methods are endless, the goal is always the same—make someone else do what you want them to do. In time we must learn that neither the drinking nor the controlling behavior is normal.
The most detrimental effect is on the children caught in the middle. The bad and sad
news is the effect of the dysfunctional home on the children is much worse than previously suspected. Twenty–eight million children of alcoholics, of which seven million are under the age of eighteen, have been identified. Common traits of these children, many of them now adults, have been identified—not all of which have each trait.
Those who are children of alcoholics guess what normal behavior is, follow projects from beginning to end with great difficulty, and lie when it is just as easy to tell the truth. They judge themselves without mercy, struggle to have fun, take themselves very seriously, and shy away from intimate relationships. They overreact to changes over which they have no control, constantly seek approval and affirmation, and feel different from other people.
They are either super responsible or super irresponsible and they are loyal even when it is undeserved. They frequently lock themselves into a course of action without giving consideration to the consequences. They become isolated and afraid of people and react to criticism in the extreme. Most become alcoholics, marry alcoholics, or both. Some find another compulsive personality to fulfill abandonment needs. The are addicted to excitement. These people are terrified of abandonment.
When we get so far away from what God in His wisdom has revealed as His path through life that offers hope, happiness, purpose, and eternal communion with Him, we must seek radical change. Recovery begins with an awareness of why our lives are chaotic. We must accept blame for our own wrongs.
We must detach from those things over which we have no control, and be willing to grow with humility and repentance toward the image of God's will. Through study, prayer, and meditation, we move past anger, hate, and resentment.
We must not only accept responsibility for our life and soul, but must guide our children and others to the path that will lead
them up and away from alcohol and drugs with all of its attendant hurt and destruction.
Raising drug and alcohol free children in our society does not just happen. These tips are helpful guidelines to reducing a scourge of our society.
There are recovery support groups all over the world to help all forms of addicts and their families. All are based on Alcoholics Anonymous for the alcoholic and Al–Anon, Ala–Teen, and Young Ala–Teen for families of alcoholics.
There is Adult Children of Alcoholics, Cocaine Anonymous, and many others. All of these us the Twelve Step approach to recovery, along with meetings to teach and encourage putting the program to work in daily living. Each offers a telephone list of people to call if you have a tough time between meetings, and an atmosphere of acceptance and belonging.
Help is non–judgmental and relentless as it points to the Steps of the program. Twenty-four hour telephone answering services are maintained by volunteers. These are not counseling services; they will only give you the time and location of the next meeting nearest you and encourage you to attend.
The Twelve Steps are nothing more than a restatement of passages from the inspired book.
We must have no doubt that the transgression of God's word is sin and will separate us from Him. We need, also, to know that God loves us and lays down certain commands to protect us from self–destructive ways.
Choosing to disobey carries consequences that reach beyond us to touch the lives of those yet unborn. We can and must repent and turn from our present ways, or the forces of destruction will continue to mount their attack on both young and old. We in the church cannot continue to ignore the devastation of sin upon our land and allow someone to satisfy the longing of the sin sick soul with only a part of the message of hope. We must rise to the undeniable and clarion call of the Captain of our salvation and march against the enemy.