Alcoholic and Other Kinds of Drug Abuse

A State police officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol spoke briefly over the NBC affliliate station in Nashville, Tennessee. He said in substance, “If someone drives a car down the street with an automatic firing weapon, shooting wildly at anyone in sight, there would be a public outcry to get him off the street and into prison. When a crazed person walked onto an elementary school playground in Stockton, California, killing five innocent young children, the Californians immediately cried out to ban such automatic weapons. But every day a drunk person drives on the streets of your cities, indiscriminately killing or maiming innocent victims. Where is the public outcry to ban alcoholic beverages?”

The officer went on to relate several instances in which he had witnessed the broken hearts of innocent victim’s relatives. They lost their loved one to a person driving under the influence of alcohol. He gave one startling statistic. “On any given weekend, in any given city, one out of every ten drivers is too drunk to drive safely.” That is a frightening thought for one who drives the interstate highways regularly. It is a frightening thought to any sober thinking individual.

The police officer’s point, mentioned at the beginning of this article, is valid. Why is there no national outcry to ban alcoholic beverages? There are two factors that come to mind.

1. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is socially accepted. We cannot go back to the old days of prohibition some say. That would be regressive, negative, and limiting of freedoms, many people feel. In our modern society we could not think that those of the early 1900s were smarter than our enlightened world! Critics of the prohibitionists cite many mistakes made by such organizations as the Anti-Saloon Society, the Prohibition Party, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. No doubt mistakes were made, but has the permissive and wide-spread freedom to distribute distilled spirits improved our society?

2. We live in a world where social drinking is accepted by over two-thirds of our entire population. That segment also accepts just about any other kind of drinking. But social drinking has been elevated a few steps above ordinary honkey-tonk or bar room boozing. No matter by what name it is known, drinking ethyl alcoholic beverages is a potential danger. When it is given the prestigious moniker “social” drinking it becomes more acceptable and as it becomes more acceptable it becomes more dangerous.

But just what is social drinking? Social Drinking is described by researcher Charles R. Carroll as follows:

“By definition, drinking is the consumption of beverages containing ethyl alcohol. From a sociological viewpoint, drinking is described as a particular group’s customary way of using beverage alcohol. Such a custom is learned by other members of that group and is continued by the group because drinking serves to promote interpersonal relations and to enhance feelings of camaraderie and solidarity. The pleasure derived from drinking is primarily reciprocal, that is, drinking by one of the group brings satisfaction to the other drinkers. Alcohol is seen as the ‘social lubricant’ in which the conscience is dissolved and rigid inhibitions are lowered. For Americans, this social drinking is the common way of using alcoholic beverages.” Carroll, Charles R., Drugs in Modern Society, 2nd Edition, William C. Brown Publisher, Dubuque, Iowa, 1989, page 106.”

There are enough factors involved in the use and abuse of alcoholic consumption to warrant intelligent people to strongly favor complete prohibition again.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 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” (Gal. 5:19-21)

The words here should register deeply in the heart of those who fear God -- for those who do not fear God, may God give you more time to reflect on where you are headed. The expression “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” means primarily the loss of one’s immortal soul in an eternal hell. The expression may also very well mean that blessings awarded to those in Christ can never be enjoyed by one whose life is filled with the works of the flesh. In other words, there is no place for the individual who engages in these works of the flesh either in the church now or heaven hereafter.

But someone is probably going to think, “That condemns drunkeness -- not drinking.” But read with me again. Peter wrote, “For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:” (1 Pet. 4:3). Look carefully at the wording.

First, note the expression “excess of wine.” That means very clearly that a danger exists in the very act of drinking wine. But it is not only the excess of wine that is condemned, notice also “revellings.” Revellings are boisterous parties in which drinking of alcoholic beverages, or other mind altering substances are ingested, causing drunkenness. Then there is the word “banquetings.” Another word for it is drinking parties. The late G.W. Blenkin, a “Fellow” of Trinity College in England, wrote on the term potois, “carousings, drinking-parties,” and noted that this is the single instance of the use of this word in the entire New Testament. When people get together to do what is called “partying” few are interested unless either drugs or alcohol is available. This is clearly and forthrightly condemned in this passage.

But again, let me give a very simply test relative to any consumption of alcohol at all. Is there any doubt that those who engage in drunkenness, wine swillings, drug abuse, and the other works of the flesh are endangering their immortal souls? Since that is a very real and serious danger, what is the single best way to avoid ever being drunk or inebriated? The answer I have is very simple -- never drink intoxicating beverages, never use drugs of any kind for recreational purposes, and never encourage others to do so. That is the best and surefire way to avoid any disasterous fall out from a sinful life.

If this sounds like someone wanting to return to the “Prohibition Era,” that cannot be helped. One of the strangest inconsistencies any society has ever generated is the one where we legalize the sale and consumption of ethly alcohol but make other drugs illegal. Prohibition is a bad word in society, for it harks back to a so-called “Puritanical Past.” But have we improved things? Consider some rather startling facts.

Alcoholic Consumption in America Supports a Huge Financial Industry. Americans, today, spend an average of 31 billion dollars annually on alcoholic beverages. That brings in around 13 billion dollars in revenue and taxes. This makes it possible for our nation allegedly to have better schools, roads, and public facilities -- among other things. But the facts show clearly that this is the worst kind of business procedure. The very same statistics show that between 117 and 120 billion dollars are required because of problems directly related to alcohol consumption. These problems include deaths, loss of work productivity, rehabilitation programs, the bureaucracy required to regulate it, the cost in property damage (including a huge amount of automotive insurance costs in both premium increases, repair and/or replacement of wrecked automobiles), law enforcement administration, and prisons (already well over crowded). No business could remain in operation with such figures on their books.

Look at those figures again. We have a homeless problem that is escalating rapidly. If you subtract 13 billion dollars from 117 billion (the conservative cost figure alcohol related problems cause) you come up with 104 billion dollars. That might be appreciated by some homeless people. And if alcoholic beverages were completely eliminated, banned, prohibitted, and made unavailable would that not reduce some of the homeless problem by eliminating at least some of the “winos” and street drunks?

It is argued that if liquor is made illegal and unavailable someone will find a way to illegally produce it. In some instances there may be some merit to that argument. But, in the case of alcoholic consumption, with its related problems and expense, will someone just show how legalizing it, making it available, and taxing it has helped our nation as a whole? That would be interesting.

Prov. 20:1 – “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; And whosoever erreth thereby is not wise.”

Prov. 23:29-30 – “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? Who hath complaining? who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; They that go to seek out mixed wine.”

Eph. 5:18 – “And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit.”

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