Max Lucado opens up about past struggles with alcohol

Max Lucado

Max Lucado has given a frank account of a period in his life when he depended on alcohol.

In his new book, God Never Gives Up on You, the bestselling pastor and author reflects on a time when drinking became a way to help him cope with the stress of ministry. 

In an excerpt published by Fox News, he describes the lengths he went to to keep his drinking a secret from others, including driving over to the other side of town to buy booze and drink it in his car.

It was a double life of secretly drinking while outwardly continuing in ministry. 

"The staff needed me. The pulpit required me. The publisher was counting on me. The entire world was looking to me," he said.

"So, I did what came naturally. I began to drink. Not publicly. I was the guy you see at the convenience store who buys the big can of beer, hides it in a sack, and presses it against his thigh so no one will see as he hurries out the door. My store of choice was on the other side of the city lest I be seen.

"I'd sit in the car, pull the can out of the sack, and guzzle the liquid until it took the edge off the sharp demands of the day. That's how 'America's Pastor' was coping with his world gone crazy." 

A turning point was reached when he heard God speak to his heart while sitting in his car drinking one day.

"Really, Max? If you have everything together, if you have a lock on this issue, then why are you hiding in a parking lot, sipping a beer that you've concealed in a brown paper bag?" he recalled God saying. 

It was at this point that he went to the elders and confessed his "hypocrisy". Instead of shunning him, "they did what good pastors do" and stepped in to help him.

"They covered me with prayer and designed a plan to help me cope with demands," he said.

He was also shocked to discover that he was not alone in his battle with alcohol.

"I admitted my struggle to the congregation and in doing so activated a dozen or so conversations with members who battled the same temptation," he added.

"God met me there that day. He gave me a new name as well. Not Israel. That one was already taken. But 'forgiven.' And I'm happy to wear it."