• Is alcohol a drug?
    Yes. Ethyl alcohol is a drug in liquid composition and is classified as a “depressant” … technically as a “central nervous system depressant”. Although the initial effects of alcohol may be euphoric and seem stimulating, the cumulative effect of alcohol depresses the brain. A high enough dose of alcohol consumed in a short period of time will depress the central nervous system so much that breathing and heart beat may cease.
  • Is alcoholism a sin or a disease?
    Alcoholism is a disease. In 1955 the American Medical Association first classified it so for two main reasons. First, it is progressive in nature. It never gets better on its own … it only gets worse. Second, if left untreated, it will adversely affect the organs of the human body and will cause premature death. Having said this, alcoholism also has a sin nature. It is a “mood-altering” drug and, as such, encourages those afflicted to do things that they otherwise would not do. When these behaviors cross moral and ethical lines, those struggling with this disease behave sinfully. This is why a faith based approach to treatment – such as the 12 steps approach – can be effective in recovery.
  • Can the disease of alcoholism be cured?
    No. Since genetic predisposition is the leading cause of alcoholism this disease cannot be cured. However, an alcoholic, with adequate treatment and the help of others can be in recovery. For that to be successful total abstinence is required permanently. Relapses can occur with just one drink
  • If I drink regularly, am I an alcoholic?
    No. In the simplest model, there are three classifications of drinkers … social drinkers, problem drinkers and alcoholics. Each group has its own span of drinkers that range from very low use to moderate or even high amount of consumption. However, prolonged “heavy” drinking will lead to chemical addiction.
  • What is a social drinker?
    A social drinker does not get into “trouble” as a result of their drinking. In the event they do, it’s like touching a hot stove … they learn their lesson and don’t do it any more. A social drinker can simply “choose” to decide to stop drinking. About 85% of those who consume alcohol are social drinkers.


  • What is a problem drinker?
    A problem drinker is a social drinker who binges and gets into “trouble” as a result. Unlike the social drinker, however, they don’t seem to mind that hot stove and repeat similar behaviour time and again. Although it might be more difficult, the problem drinker, like the social drinker, can also freely make that choice to stop drinking if they want to.
  • How is the alcoholic different from the problem drinker?
    This drinker is genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic perhaps even from the very first time he/she has a drink. Their body metabolizes the alcohol differently than the other drinkers and, neurologically, they synthesize pleasure yielding neurotransmitters in much greater quantities than the social or problem drinker. This gives them a more powerful sensation of euphoria than other drinkers. In simplistic terms, they now desire alcohol which overrules all other desires. This is the mental component of their disease. Since the tolerance for alcohol increases as the disease progresses, high tolerance is a red flag for the possible or potential diagnosis of alcoholism. This person often gets praised for being able to hold their liquor. However, this tolerance may decrease at some point. They may surprise themselves by becoming inebriated much quicker. After extended abuse, they will become physically dependent on their drug.


  • What is the leading cause of alcoholism?
    In one word … GENETICS. Although researchers may disagree as to the extent of this factor, they all agree it is the most important. It may not necessarily be passed down to all generations but, in many cases, there is evidence of a family history with this affliction.


  • Are Christians equally susceptible to becoming alcoholics?
    If you are a Christian who drinks alcohol, then the answer is “Yes”. Once you understand the genetic nature of this disease, it’s easy to understand why. Alcoholism is no respecter of people. It doesn’t distinguish between rich or poor, educated or illiterate, male or female, Christian or non-believer. It is mostly genetics that determines who becomes afflicted with this disease.


  • Why can't an alcoholic simply choose to stop drinking?
    This is the very nature of chemical addiction. The mental (cravings) and physical (withdrawal) components of this chemical addiction conspire to remove freedom of choice. The only way the alcoholic knows how to calm their mental and physical anguish is to consume more of their drug. However, this only helps in the immediate moment and leads to a deeper entrenchment of their underlying problem. Those who are afflicted need help to stop drinking and recover. Countless alcoholics (and drug addicts) would tell you clearly “If I could have stopped on my own you’ve got to believe I would have. But I couldn’t”.
  • What about the rest of the family?
    Alcoholism and drug addiction are often referred to as family diseases. A single individual is afflicted by the addiction but their loved ones are also affected … sometimes dramatically. This is often referred to as a condition of co-dependency and can be very debilitating. They too, are hurting and need help.
  • Where does help come from?
    Those who have found victory from their own struggle with their own addiction are in the best position to help those who are currently struggling. This is true for both the individual afflicted with an addiction as well as their loved ones who are otherwise affected. Family Outreach Ontario simply tries to help make this connection happen. Treatment centres and support groups – both Christian and secular – are readily available for those who seek help.
  • If I stop drinking, wouldn't everything be okay?
    A person needs to realize that no longer indulging in the drug of choice is not necessarily the solution to their problems. However, it is an important step. Giving “clean and sober” some time, a clear mind can be instrumental in dealing with other problems.