Having a Sober Summer

It is summer! No school, no homework, just free time to relax, kick back with some friends, and …have a beer? Smoke a joint? It will help pass the time, right? Or will doing those things just make you lose your sense of time? I mean, who wants to remember their summer anyway? There is nothing better to do…or is there?

Many people have heard the phrase “beer goggles.” That phrase means that while someone was drunk, they thought something looked better than what it really did. Isn’t that the same reason people give for trying beer in the first place? They say, “It will take the edge off; it will help you to be yourself.” They tell you how all of your worries and your problems with whatever is wrong in your life will just disappear. Plus, you will instantly be part of this new group of people who are way more mature than any of the non-drinkers. You know that guy you like? Drink a beer with him—you will both relax, and he might even ask you out.

I know all the excuses. I have heard all the lines. I have seen that crowd of people and wanted nothing more than to fit in with them. I learned that, just as other people realize that they were deceived by their so-called “beer goggles,” after drinking, you realize that you, too, were deceived.

Isaiah 28:7 states, “…they are swallowed up with wine, they are out of the way through strong drink, they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” Alcohol removes the body’s sense of judgment. It slows the reflexes, blurs the vision, and fogs the mind. Someone who is drunk mumbles their words, stumbles in their steps, and loses their sense of self control. Drinking can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and passing out only to wake up still sick.

Drinking can also lead people into a rage. Their emotions become heightened, and they are not able to make sense of regular, everyday situations. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Drinking leads people to break the law. Underage drinking, public intoxication, contributing to the delinquency of a minor (for whoever buys the alcohol), and driving under the influence are just a few of the laws that pertain to the actual act of drinking. The behavior that is then brought on by drinking can lead to other charges, such as vandalism, trespassing, assault, and sometimes even rape. When you drink, you open yourself up to irreparable harm brought on by others. In these situations, others may or may not be under the influence. But either way, you leave yourself open to be taken advantage of. “Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:5).

While being drunk may make you forget your problems, it does not mean that they are not there. If anything, it will make them worse. When you make the decision to drink, you are still responsible for anything you do or say while in a drunken stupor. When you make a bad decision, such as driving while intoxicated, you are responsible for any injuries you cause due to your drunken state. I guarantee that any decision you make while drunk you will in some way regret the next morning. If you even make it to the next morning. Many people make the decision while drunk to drive or to ride with someone who has been drinking. Some people never make it to the next day. I don’t say that to scare you. It is a fact.

This is the part where addiction becomes an issue. When you awaken with a “hangover,” your body aching and unsure of what did or didn’t happen the night before, you regret getting drunk. Then that whole idea that drinking can make you forget pops back into your mind. So, you drink to forget that you drank. And, so, the vicious cycle begins. You soon have a taste for the alcohol and will do whatever it takes to stay in the state of mind where you don’t care about anything. Not yourself, not your family, but most importantly, not God. As young Christian women, we should do as we are told in Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the spirit.”

While the Bible does not specifically mention drugs by name as it does wine, rational judgment tells us that they fall into the same category. Isn’t alcohol a drug? It is addicting, it causes physical, mental, and emotional issues. They take lives, ruin families, hurt feelings, and take people away from the Lord. Being under the influence of drugs can affect your judgment as much as alcohol can. Just as alcohol ruins your stomach lining and causes sclerosis of the liver, drugs can do numerous things to your body. While the results can vary greatly, ranging from lung cancer to heart disease, the list in between is long. Is it ok to take something, knowing it can hurt you? First Corinthians 6:19 tells us, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” We belong to God, and our decisions need to be an example of that commitment to Him.

There are actually several verses in the Bible that tell us to be sober. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, we are told, “Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Making the decision to quit drinking or doing drugs is usually easy, but following through is not. It involves removing something you have become dependent upon from your life. Sometimes this involves an inpatient treatment center, counseling, and even moving to remove yourself from situations that could cause you to backslide. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol and would like help, there are many places out there to turn to. ChristianCrisisHotline.org is a great place to start. They are a biblically-based organization set up to help give people more information about overcoming drug and alcohol use and to do so by looking to God for guidance. Their toll-free number is 1-866-642-9271. They are available 24-7 and are completely anonymous, so you do not have to worry about others knowing you called. Christian Crisis Hotline will try to find solutions that work best for different situations. If you need more information about ways to help yourself or someone else, they can help you get started on the right track.

I know that not everyone is perfect. As humans, none of us are. But, this summer, as we try to fill up our free time, let’s all say a prayer and take a vow to have a sober summer.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

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  1. Wow this page really spoke to me!

  2. Mattie,

    You had asked a question, which I submitted to our advice columnist, Rachel. She has responded, and we would like to e-mail the response to you, but I am unable to get through using the e-mail address you provided. If you contact us and let us know your correct e-mail address (just click on my name to get to the contact page), I will reply with the response. Her answer to your question is scheduled to appear in our Ask A Girl column in February 2009 to hopefully help other girls dealing with similar issues, but we would like you to receive an answer before then. I hope to hear from you soon!

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