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Max Lucado Reveals Secret Battle with Alcohol in New Book: ‘I Confessed my Hypocrisy’

Written by on September 14, 2023

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Minister and author Max Lucado is opening up about his past use of alcohol, saying he once drank beer to “manage” stress instead of asking the elders for help with his jam-packed schedule.

Lucado, the teaching minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and a prolific author, writes in his new book, God Never Gives Up on You (Thomas Nelson), that he would sneak to the other side of town and purchase beer in secret. Fox News published an excerpt.

He did it, he said, because he felt overwhelmed. He began drinking some two decades ago, during the height of his popularity.

“The staff needed me. The pulpit required me. The publisher was counting on me. The entire world was looking to me. 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,” he wrote. “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.”

Lucado first discussed his struggles with alcohol in interviews in the early and mid-2000s, saying he came from a family of alcoholics.

In his new book, he says he sensed God telling him, “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?”

Like Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32, Lucado was wrestling with God in that parking lot, he wrote.

“I confessed my hypocrisy to our elders, and they did what good pastors do. They covered me with prayer and designed a plan to help me cope with demands. I admitted my struggle to the congregation and in doing so activated a dozen or so conversations with members who battled the same temptation. … God met me there that day. He gave me a new name as well. Not Israel [as Jacob was given]. That one was already taken. But ‘forgiven.’ And I’m happy to wear it.”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rick Diamond/Staff


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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