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  • David A. Case

Just One


The downfall of the addict is generally “just one drink.” For sake of argument, let’s give the addict the benefit of the doubt for having good intentions. He truly only plans on having one drink.

All things work by spiritual authority. For an addict to take one drink is like lighting a very short fuse on firecracker while holding it in your hand. Chances are good that it will blow before you can get it out of your hand. You might get away with it once, or twice, but it is only a matter of time.

What is going on at a heart level drives life outcomes. For the addict, there are a number of short fuses waiting to be lit. We often call those short fuses triggers. Those fuses may be cut short by unforgiveness or abuse. Maybe there is an inner child that didn’t receive the love it needed to develop self-control. Simply put, there is a flaw in the programming. There is a virus waiting to be set off when the conditions of the programming are met.

Invisible stuff on the inside is powerful. It is hard to identify the deeper levels of programming. It is even harder to fix programming flaws. Programming fixes generally take time and consistency of response. Our programming is laid down line upon line over a period of years. To think we can come in and give an addict a few new ideas and fix him is foolishness.

One of the easiest fixes for an addict is when the negative driver of his addiction is unforgiveness. With a simple letting go of a place of woundedness, and then a consistent reinforcing of that letting go, a person can make an unbelievable turn in many areas of his life. If there is a single major driver of a person’s addiction, change can come much more easily.

When a person’s addiction is intertwined with his core personality, overcoming that addiction is going to be a long, hard fight. God has created some people to be leaders. Leaders generally are attentive to the responses of the people around them and care about those responses in a way that is egoistic. The Bible calls those egoistic responses pride. A proud person struggles with any form of correction. He hates being wrong. He hates being “exposed.” He doesn’t like being accountable to others, but wants to be in charge.

All things work by spiritual authority. The last paragraph listed six obstacles the proud person faces if he is to change—to grow. When a proud person is struggling with addiction, he has all kinds of “forces” within him that are fighting against positive change. The proud person will instinctively believe that he “deserves” to have one more drink. Of course. Just one. Everyone else can. Why can’t he?

All things work by spiritual authority. If the fuse has been cut off, it is not a good idea to light the firecracker while it is still in your hand. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair—especially to the proud person. But here is fair—all things work by spiritual authority. The addict must recognize what is going on inside of him and live according to real forces at work and not according to what seems comparatively “fair.”

Oh, by the way, that is not just true for the addict. That is all of us. For the addict, the firecracker just blows up a little faster and more often. The outcomes of what has been identified as addictive behavior tend to be more destructive, but all of us have destructive behaviors that need to be changed. All of us indulge ourselves with “just one more time.” The non-addict gets by with more stuff more times because all things work by spiritual authority and the triggers are a little less volatile for the non-addict.

Even for non-addicts, if you are lighting fireworks as you hold them in your hand, the chances of getting burned are very high. Plus your example is likely setting someone else up for failure. The myth of “just one” is truly a myth. All of the programming that is laid down at heart levels will matter when the conditions are right. Do you really want to take those chances with your future? Do you want to take those chances with the futures of those you love? If you are having to excuse a behavior as “just this one time,” chances are that it much smarter to say “not ever.”


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