I inherited alcoholism from my dad. I’ve never been the type of alcoholic that gets drunk everyday or shows up to work late with a hangover. To me, alcohol is something you turn to when you can’t take anymore, when life is too difficult or painful and you need some relief. When I found out my ex-husband was having an affair, I started drinking after being sober for 15 years. A gradual decline in my self-control occurred over several years until finally I was getting drunk every weekend and my health was starting to deteriorate.

Proverbs 23:29-35 contains a series of questions followed by an explanation of why intoxication is a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape. Solomon asks, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?” and then answers, “they that tarry long at the wine” (Proverbs 23:29-30). The phrase tarry long means to remain behind and could imply dwelling in the past or refusing to move on with your life. Intoxication as a form of escape usually involves a pattern of repeated mistakes that make you feel as though recovery is impossible.

When my dad died of cancer five years ago, I was confronted with the result of a lifestyle that was self-destructive. Even though my dad had stopped drinking seven years before his death, his way of life prevented him from really recovering. My concern at the time was not what was going to happen to me, but what alcohol was going to do to my children if I didn’t stop the cycle of addiction. The key to my freedom was a realization that getting drunk didn’t make me feel better. Afterward, having a hangover made me feel worse and my problems were still there.

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