I remember shopping at an upscale grocery store when I was 21. I noticed all the wine and the elaborate packaging. Some of the bottles looked rustic and crafty, others were more elegant. I felt like the wine was marketed just for me. At that moment drinking wine seemed like it could be classy and cool. I can remember thinking to myself, ‘Hey, I could buy this. I’m 21!”I was smart enough to realize that at that moment, I was being tempted. I stood there next to the purposefully displayed wine and and tried to figure out why the temptation was so strong: my boyfriend did not drink, my family did not drink, my closest friends did not drink. Why did I suddenly have this strong desire to try it?
Short story, shorter; I did not buy any. That moment did make a huge impact on me though. I realized how easy it can be for young college-age Christians to dabble with alcohol.
We are constantly surrounded by advertisements on social media about alcohol. All the marketing shows the fun and positive side to drinking. Pinterest is full of pins about wine. Many of them specifically are marketed towards women.
The reality is – there are two sides to alcohol. One side is really ugly.
There is so much surrounding alcohol that involves heartache and pain.
- 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use
- Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
- Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death
- Alcohol consumption by college students is linked to at least 1,400 student deaths and 500,000 unintentional injuries each year.(The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, Alcohol Alert, 58:1-4, 2002.
- Broken & Unhealthy Relationships
- More than three-quarters of female victims of nonfatal domestic violence reported that their assailant had been drinking or using drugs.(National Crime Victimization Survey, as reported in U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Alcohol and Crime, 1998.)
- Disease & Sickness
- Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption. (https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol)
- The odds of women experiencing sexual aggression were nine times higher on heavy days of alcohol consumption compared with days of no alcohol consumption.(Parks, K., et al. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 4/2004.)
Seeing these statistics and health risks makes me want to take no part in drinking.
I have experienced a little of the the ugly side of drinking:
When my mother was young, she dabbled with drugs and alcohol. God got a hold of her and He turned her life around. She and my father raised me and my siblings in a Christian home. Growing up, alcohol never had a part in our home. When I was in college I watched my Mom battle depression and turn her back on God. For a little while, she got out of church and one of the first thing she did was turn to drinking. As confusing as it was for me at the time, I knew what was going on. I knew that the path she was on was only going to lead to more heartache and pain. It was a tough decision for me to make, but twice I dumped out bottles of wine she kept in the fridge.
I started to see how drinking could possibly become ugly. I started to see how drinking could possibly ruin relationships. I started to see how drinking could possibly become an idol in someones life. I started to see how someone could turn to drinking instead of turning to God.
The Bible, our ultimate authority, shares wisdom when it comes to drinking.
- Ephesians 5:18 – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
- Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
- Galatians 5:21 – Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Romans 14:21 – It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
- 1 Timothy 3:8 – Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
- Habakkuk 2:15 – Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
- Proverbs 21:17 – He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
- 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Although we live in a time when many people pick and choose only what they want to believe in the Bible, I think it’s pretty clear.
I am a Christian, but that is not the only reason why I choose not to drink. My choice roots itself deeper and more personal. I don’t want to take part in the pain it brings so many people. I want to be a good example for others and encourage others from abstaining, so that they never experience the ugly side of drinking.