Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Testimony Tuesday: The Alcohol Debate

Lately, it continues to come up. In random conversation...in my thoughts…in my time on my knees. Perhaps it is my upcoming birthday into adulthood or maybe it’s just time to tackle it. Either way, it is frustrating beyond belief—and not something I ever thought would become such a burden.

Growing up, there was always alcohol around me. Both of my parents have battled alcoholism much of my life—and it is very much still a battle today. When I think about what alcohol has represented to me, nothing good ever comes to mind. In fact, some of the most painful memories of my childhood stem from consequences of this ugly addiction.

Anger. Fighting. Abuse. Neglect. Drunkenness. Partying. Sleeping around. Pornography. Fear. Forgetfulness. Numbness. Risk. Depression. Addiction. Pain. So much pain. These are what alcohol has always (and partially continues to) represent to me. I have seen the misery in both of my parents eyes—the wild eyes, the blank stare, the hopeless gaze. It is all too real, even today. I refuse to be enslaved to it—my children will not suffer the consequences of such an addiction in my life—ever.

I see this two ways. Coming from generations of alcoholics on both sides of my family, it would only make sense that it could easily consume my life as well. I know how sin works. I am surrendered to Christ—I know alcoholism is not the life I am pursuing—for that reason, is it airing on the side of legalism for me to abstain from alcohol all together? Would it cause non-believers to stumble if I stood firm in my pledge thus far to not drink at all?

There is another part of me that fears if I started, I couldn’t (or wouldn’t want) to stop. There is this thought in my head that like so many other addictions I have struggled with, my ‘all or nothing’ mindset could hinder the fruit of self-control in my life when it comes to alcohol. While this is legitimate, I don’t want to live enslaved to fear—or enslaved to the generational curse of alcoholism or the consequences of it which have already and may continue to rear their ugly head in my life, as a result of others’ decisions.  

I do not ever want my life to represent any of those words I associate with alcohol. But does that mean the curse is broken through Christ in me by abstaining from it all together or does that mean the curse is broken by the display of self-control while drinking? Do I take a firm stance in drinking nothing at all—or do I drink while refusing to go all the way to drunkenness? Am I being legalistic—or just straight up foolish? Is one worse then the other--or can I avoid both all together?

The battle wars on in my heart and mind, as I approach the day where the pain of my childhood clashes with the decisions of adulthood—oh, glorious day.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
-1 Corinthians 10:31  

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