Church cultures: help or hinder alcohol spiral for women

“… Sherry Hoppen was a mom of three, a ministry leader in her church, and a volunteer at her local pregnancy center when her younger brother was killed in a drunk driving accident. The tragedy triggered her own slow spiral into alcoholism—one that nearly destroyed her marriage and her life.”

“Neither culture nor the church is well-equipped to work with women facing addiction … as alcohol is normalized and even considered missional, there is often little consideration that someone might struggle with substance abuse.”

“When I was drinking, I would go out with my church small group on the weekends and drink with them. A mission team I joined had trip-planning meetings at a bar, where people would sip whiskey and wine while brainstorming outreach events. At a church retreat, my cabinmates suggested we ‘sneak’ some wine in—while I was trying to escape alcohol’s call by being at the retreat.”

“Because churches often have close connections with AA and social services, they should be the perfect place to ask for help. But meetups with titles like ‘Pastors and Pints,’ ‘Wined Down Wednesday,’ and ‘Beer and Hymns’ or other alcohol-infused gatherings are confusing and unhelpful while implying that the church is not the place to seek help.”

“But if alcohol is a part of the church culture, officially or not, that role may not be clearly visible. A few jokes from church members about ‘needing wine’ after wrangling kids into the service, and someone may permanently give up on sharing their struggles—or falsely believe that everyone drinks to calm down.”

(Ericka Andersen, 22 April 2024, “The Secret Sin of ‘Mommy Juice’ Alcoholism among women is rising. Can the church help?” Christianity Today.)

Also, church cultures help or hinder the alcohol spiral for men too: Churches know boozy events exclude real men.

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