Not an Alcohol Free Zone

I received a message from a follower that she was disturbed that I sometimes wrote about drinking when I was young. Since this blog is about my experiences in life, the drinking comes with it. Some of it is funny, some of it is a shame, but all of it helped make me who I am today. I regret many instances of drunkenness, but that’s what the culture was when I was younger in Wisconsin…we drank and did other things we maybe shouldn’t have.

While I was in the army, I drank less (if you can believe that) and eventually my drinking dwindled as I grew up and older. Whenever I was with my kids, it was an occasional beer or two if at all. I always had a fear that an emergency would arise with someone in my family and if I had been drinking, I wouldn’t react appropriately. I couldn’t live with that. My priority was always my family and I always remained sound and sober when I was responsible for them. Even now that the kids are all grown up and leading their own lives, I very seldom drink. I just don’t need it.

Sometimes I am confused about the condemnation from certain people about even an occasional drink. The condemnation seems louder if its beer or hard liquor. Wine seems to get a reprieve from some. Why is that? Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer that certain people keep their condemnation and judgment to themselves, but if you’re going to condemn all use of alcohol, why is wine an exception? I recall a conversation I had once with a woman…someone who used the bible to back their condemnation.

WOMAN: You really shouldn’t be drinking that beer.

ME: I just opened it…it’s my first one.

WOMAN: But one will lead to another and it leads to sinful behavior.

ME: Um, you don’t even know me.

WOMAN: No, but I understand alcoholism.

At this point, I found myself offended to be labeled an alcoholic when I just cracked open the single beer. There was an incredibly good chance it would be my only beer. This led me to observe her glass of wine and the half-empty bottle next to her.

ME: Ah! So you’re an alcoholic… (She looked offended. Funny how she could dish it out but…)

WOMAN: Me? Oh, no, this is just wine.

ME: So you’re not aware it contains alcohol?

WOMAN: It’s not the same thing. Jesus turned water into wine.

ME: So you can polish off that bottle of wine, but I can’t crack a single beer?

WOMAN (taking a big swig): That’s right. This wine won’t make me (hic) drunk. That beer will lead to all kinds of evil things. Just look at my ex-husband! He could never get up for church on Sunday morning because he was always too drunk the night before and guess what he drank?

ME: I’m guessing beer?

WOMAN: That’s right! Then he would mess around on me! All because of the beer!

ME: I see. So when he didn’t get up for church, did you go by yourself?

WOMAN: What? No, of course not. All his drinking and behavior gave me such a headache in the morning I couldn’t go.

ME: No chance maybe you drank some wine when he went out?

WOMAN: Of course I drank wine! I’ve always drank wine! It’s never made me act like he did though! I think I’m getting a little tired of your judgment!

ME: I apologize, I never meant to judge you and your bottle of wine. I’ll just take my evil beer and leave you alone so you can order another bottle of wine and avoid all of us alcoholics.

WOMAN: Humph, you’re just like my ex-husband!

I wanted to say, “Why? Because I’m leaving you?” but didn’t because I have no idea why they broke up or if he really was an evil man. I just know when it’s a lost cause to argue with certain people.

Isn’t it funny how people can twist the bible to suit their individual taste? I remember when my wife asked a biblically knowledgeable friend a question about something some people consider sinful behavior and others don’t. He responded with an answer that I embraced and will always remember.

“I get so tired of how people can torture the text.”

He’s right. We all interpret things differently. If there was only one way to interpret the bible, we wouldn’t have hundreds of different sects of Christianity whom all disagree with each other on one biblical point or another. Cults have grown around specific interpretations. Entire civilizations have been wiped out because of specific interpretations. Some groups think it’s acceptable to kill in the name of God while others say it’s only acceptable to be passive in the name of God. Who’s right?

Well, I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong, I have my own beliefs, but I do know from simple observation and reading that the bible doesn’t single out wine as the only acceptable alcohol. Alcohol is not a sin…it’s a liquid. It occurs naturally. It’s drunkenness that’s considered a sin. I have witnessed plenty of drunkenness from wine.

Now as far as my some of my stories including moments of drinking, I can’t help that. I embellish my stories, but all of them have some truth to them. If alcohol contributed to the situation, it only makes sense to me that I should inform you of that. It’s a part of the story. It’s called experience. That’s how lessons are learned.

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