October 21, 2017

Former Drinkers Reflect on Alcohol

Don Johnson

I recently ran across this article: “20 Common Things People Realize When They Quit Drinking Alcohol

The author of the article is summarizing the things that people report after having given up on alcohol. The worldviews are, as far as I can see, those of unbelievers. I would guess they are not the comments of “social drinkers” who have decided to quit, they are the comments of moderate to heavy drinkers who quit.

However, I think that makes their observations all the more poignant and powerful.

At the end of the article is a reference list of a number of sites as sources. I will be citing directly from some of them throughout this piece as well. (Note: I have to warn about language if you go to these sites. We certainly don’t endorse vulgar language.)

Some selections:

1.) The first major thing people see is a dramatic improvement in overall physical health. This commonly includes significant weight loss, improved digestion, greater energy and less fatigue, clearer skin, and they no wake up with even mild hangovers, headaches or nausea.

7.) They realize that they don’t actually need to drink to have fun and enjoy themselves at parties and social gatherings, thus exposing the great cultural lie that alcohol equals a good time. For many, they discover that alcohol actually strains social relationships rather than strengthening them.

9.) They realize that alcohol tends to make personal problems worse.

14.) They realize that booze fueled conversations are actually boring, ego-driven and quite superficial, as well as highly prone to aggressiveness, bickering, fighting and ill sentiments.

The zeitgeist of alcohol is that it makes life more fun, but the reality is that it is a massive industry pushed onto the public which has created a culture of self-destructive behavior.

From the sources cited:

When actively drinking, my life was a hot mess and I was comfortable that way. I fought through the scary first days and months of not drinking and now, being sober is my normal. I’m so glad it is. Bad things would happen in the past and I always felt like it was the end of the world and drinking was the answer to everything. Now, I feel more prepared; if something bad were to happen, I am able to handle it in a healthy way. Additionally, less bad things have happened since I stopped drinking alcohol, which was the cause of many problems in the past. I am now present and thankful for each day.[1]

And from another piece:

I realized that when I was drinking, I didn’t have control. I didn’t make the decisions I would otherwise make. I occasionally put myself in compromised situations when I drank, and considered doing things I would never have done otherwise. …

Alcohol had allowed me to never learn how to cope with life and as the pressure of adulthood increased without me knowing these skills, I had a hard time keeping up – until Monday, December 7, 2015, when I became painfully aware that alcohol was in more control of me than I was. ((https://www.annawickham.com/stop-drinking/))

Another:

Drinking can ease insecurity and boost a kind of false confidence that starts unnecessary fires and leaves a trail of meanness that burrows a not-so-charming perma-link in your brain. And this kind of damage is not easily undone. If instead, in the clear light of day, you confront whatever monster is living in your head or your heart and telling you, "You aren’t good enough," you’ll be happier and have a more meaningful relationship with yourself and others. ((https://greatist.com/live/lessons-learned-when-i-stopped-drinking-for-a-year))

The people who wrote these words do not have a Biblical worldview, as far as I can tell. They tend to think that they can look within, become a better person, overcome their drinking problem simply by will power and rationalism. Well, certainly many people who don’t know the Lord have stopped drinking by human means. But they haven’t solved the underlying spiritual problems that led them to drink in the first place. They may think they have, because they feel so much better physically, emotionally, and psychologically. But they are still estranged from God.

My point, however, is not to write this piece to them. I am writing this piece to Christians. In the Christian world, the determination to live without alcohol is increasingly a minority point of view. Many young people raised in Christian homes want to “try it” to “see what it feels like.” As long as they drink moderately, they reason, they’ll have no problems, right?

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

These Biblical warnings are familiar to all of us, aren’t they? Don’t let familiarity rob you of their weight and impact. Consider the observations of the secular former drinkers from the quotations above. Is alcohol really worth ignoring these Scriptural warnings?

Just. Don’t. Do. It.


Don Johnson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-fitzgerald/7-things-i-learned-during-my-year-without-alcohol_b_5291015.html))

    For a while I had no idea how to celebrate good things in my life other with a drink. Got a raise at work? Let’s drink! It’s my birthday? Let’s drink! I just won a fight!? I have to drink.. Alcohol also prevented me from truly feeling the joyous things in my life. ((http://edlatimore.com/10-observations-from-2-years-of-not-drinking/))

    I’ve had friends who’ve stopped hanging out with me because I don’t drink anymore. I’ve had relationships end (or not even start) because of it. I have been sent screen shots of people I know talking smack about me to other people because I choose to not do a thing. It’s weird. But it makes you realize the bad relationship with booze that other folks must be having. And for that, I have empathy. And I hope they figure it out. ((http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-sober-alcohol-drunk-booze-perspec-1231-20151230-story.html))

    The next one is from someone who quit drinking for four months, then tried drinking again a couple of times. He says he is not going to be a teetotaler, but he will drink much less going forward. His article expresses his observations of the effect of drinking:

    For one thing, I learned that an alcohol buzz makes me instantly bored with almost everything. This is something I didn’t realize, but it must have always been true. As soon as the beer buzz settles in, I am done for the day with creative work, organizing or planning, physical activity, domestic duties, reading, and most of the things I fill my time with. Left over was only a small range of reptile-brain desires: food, affection, approval, novelty, more drinks. More subtle experiences are lost on me. I remain interested in socializing though, as long as it’s with people who are also present to socialize—I definitely didn’t want to interact with, say, store clerks, bystanders, authority figures, relatives, or children.

    This is another way of saying that the effects tend to undermine my favorite human qualities. Alcohol stimulates a certain narrow range of appetites, but diminishes my ability to be articulate, curious, thoughtful, helpful, creative, responsible and, frankly, interesting. (Almost nobody gets more interesting as they drink more, I’ve learned.) Worst of all, I lose the ability to find contentment in small and subtle things, like the play of light, ambient sound, and the subtle emotional signature conveyed by any given room or space—and that kind of contentment is a big part of my life. Alcohol seems to intensify a certain few pleasures, but leaves no room for genuine peace. ((http://www.raptitude.com/2017/05/five-things-i-learned-from-not-drinking-for-four-months/ []

Comments

  1. Amen! Consider me among the booze battlers for life!


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