Your Opinion: Alcohol

Do you agree or disagree with this statement (and why?):
The wisest thing to do regarding alcohol is to completely avoid consuming it (regardless of religious beliefs).

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19 Responses to Your Opinion: Alcohol

  1. Josh says:

    I would probably avoid it in general anyway (ie, without a faith conviction on it). I’ve experienced alcohol misused and would not want to risk going there myself. i also just don’t like the taste of it, nor the expense.

  2. Scott says:

    I would agree that the safest thing to do regarding alcohol is to avoid it.
    I haven’t worked through all of the implications of stating that it’s the wisest.

  3. sarah says:

    There is only one reason to drink alcohol – for enjoyment.
    (If a glass of wine a day is healthy, and that is the ONLY reason a person is drinking, then that’s fine too. BUT – I suspect that for most people it’s only an excuse.)

    People drink for enjoyment. To varying degrees, of course.
    No one can know when they take their first sip whether or not they will become alcoholic. The only way to guarantee that you won’t be – is to never take the first sip (similar to the best birth control…)
    Alcohol problems lead to BAD things. And even people w/o alcohol “problems” have mostly likely at one point in their life done something that they regret.
    Domestic violence, drunk driving, troubled relationships, financial problems, health problems, suffered work performance…..
    Now, for a person to take the chance that one or more of these things will happen, for a few hours of ENJOYMENT, is quite short sighted, I think. And it’s selfish if you have a family.

    Again, I agree that not everyone will have a problem, or become alcoholic, and they might not even ever do a dumb thing as a result of drinking. I consider it a gamble. There’s just no way to know whether you’ll have control over it or not.
    I don’t think there’s an alcoholic in the world that thought they would be one when they started drinking.

    I have such strong feelings about this, for a few reasons.
    One is, I started out drinking “in control”, with no “problems”….but, after a few years, found my weight WAY up, my health suffering, my work performance suffering, my relationships being broken, my finances draining and — I often found myself in embarrassing and often regrettable situations. There was no indicator when I first started that someday, there would be no such thing as “just one beer” for me. That there would be no hangover free saturday and sunday mornings (and often many weekdays).
    The second reason is the environment I work in. I see EVERYDAY the effects that drug and alcohol have on children and families. I have a lot of angry angry children, who will probably wind up in the same boat. It’s very sad and even frustrating. The decision by someone to choose the enjoyment of alcohol has affected many lives negatively.

    Well, I’ve rambled on enough.
    I just get pretty irritated when people try to defend drinking. There’s not a single positive result, besides selfish enjoyment. And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Oh – for anyone who is worried, I stopped drinking nearly three years ago.

  4. Scott says:

    I’m still struggling with the answer to the question, but I think it’s because if I agree, then I must agree with several similar statements in order to be consistent. These include:
    The wisest thing to do regarding TV is to completely avoid it
    The wisest thing to do regarding movies is to completely avoid watching them
    The wisest thing to do regarding fast food is to completely avoid consuming it
    The list could be longer, but I think the point is evident. The question of wisdom is important, but is it the only measure for any activity? I would agree with Sarah’s assertion that people drink for enjoyment and no other reason. People also dance for enjoyment and no other reason. Is dancing wise?
    Sorry, still no good answer

  5. Derek Lidbom says:

    Two things:
    What’s the difference between the wisest and the safest?
    I have to disagree with equating (in this discussion) alcohol to tv and movies. Alcohol has many more proven negatives than tv and movies, and (I think) tv and movies have many more positives than alcohol. I would agree though that the wisest thing to do regarding fast food is to completely avoid consuming it.
    Once we start talking about “the wisest thing to do”, it is tougher than I realized to avoid bringing worldviews (and therefore religion to some of us) into it.

  6. Sarah Lidbom says:

    No one ever got cirrhosis of the liver when their dancing addiction got out of control.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I think the TV analogy is a good one. Mindless TV has rotted the brains of the last several generations of American children. ADD anyone? I can’t handle TV. I watch it compulsively. So, I don’t get TV in my house.

    What about deserts? Should we never eat them because we could become addicted to them? Should I judge everyone I see eating a desert because I think they’re going to get fat and die of diabetese? There’s no reason to EVER eat candy or chocolate other than for enjoyment. And obviously many people can’t handle it. How many more people die from complications related to obesity than from alcohol abuse? Should we pass a law that no one can eat deserts until they’re 21?

    Pasta. I gained 30 lbs. after college because pasta was my staple. There was no need to eat it. I only ate it because I enjoyed it. Now I don’t eat pasta.

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things, as long as you can handle them. If you can’t handle them, don’t do them. If you don’t have the kind of close relationships where someone can say, “you can’t handle it” then you’ve got bigger problems and you need to take care of those.

    I think alcohol abuse is mainly a cultural problem. It’s as much or more a product of our culture’s isolationism and it’s need for excess than it is a problem with the “thing.” Another part of our problem is that we’re afraid of alcohol. We think it’s an either/or thing. Either I abstain completely or I’m an alcoholic. That’s stupid. If the same laws and attitudes were applied to caffeine that are applied to alcohol people would binge drink coffee.

    What about personal responsibility? It’s too easy to blame a “thing” when really it’s your ability to handle that thing that’s the problem. Millions of people all over the world drink in moderation and it’s a normal part of their lives. Some people can’t handle it. They shouldn’t drink. But it’s not alcohol that has the problem; they have a problem. And I think with many of those people (not including those who have a chemical intolerance for alcohol) they’re using the alcohol to act out on deeper problems. Go to an AA meeting or talk to someone who’s gone before. Notice the INSANE use of nicotene and caffeine.

    I don’t think that any of us can say what’s “wise” for everyone in this matter. You can certainly decide what’s wise for yourself, but everyone has different weaknesses. Don’t assume that mine are yours. And I won’t shoot you dirty looks for eating pasta.

  8. Scott says:

    In response to the wisest vs safest question, Derek, I’ll give another analogy. Every morning that I wake up, it is safer for me to stay home than it is to get on I-40 and travel at 75 mph for 30 minutes while tired. It is not wise, however, to stay home because I’d get fired and have no money.
    Nice example Ben – I’m sure it happens from time to time. I actually blogged a page of statistics of random injuries people sustain each year. Apparently more people hurt themselves each year with their own pants than with chainsaws.

  9. Jeremy says:

    You could, however, arrange your life so that you could walk everywhere. You might have to work at the BK or something, but people do it and get by. Is that the wisest thing to do? Do we insist upon having cars and driving on dangerous highways for purely selfish reasons? (I’m not to serious about that, BTW.)

  10. Scott says:

    Walking is dangerous too, maybe moreso. I might have to cross busy streets and parking lots on foot. If I were struck by a car, I would be more likely to be killed than if I were in a car. Staying at home is much safer.

  11. Derek Lidbom says:

    While we’re following the road of logic, I don’t see how it’s that much easier to describe something as “safer” or “safest” compared to “wiser” or “wisest”. Obviously (from this post) they are both very subjective.

  12. Jeremy says:

    True. But you’re not likely to kill someone else. Unless you *accidentaly* run in to them – over, and over, and over.

  13. Scott says:

    They might both be subjective, but I think it’s clear that they are not the same thing. The safest is not always the wisest and vice versa.

  14. sarah says:

    choosing to drink alcohol is a gamble. and if you win, you can successfully have a moderate amount of alcohol and not have it result in a single negative repurcusion.
    there are many ways to LOSE. you can develop an addiction – and once that happens, it’s a LONG ROAD back. it’s not as easy as “deciding not to do it”. that’s not quite how addictions work. ONE mistake can cost you also. one night of indiscretion can lead to very negative results. if that’s just “acting out” what you would normally do, some deeply rooted problems, then fine, you do have other things to address, but alcohol should be among them.
    i agree that many people can drink in moderation and handle it. but the only way to find that out is to take the gamble. maybe i just hate gambling, but i feel it’s just not wise to even start.

    comparing alcohol to food is impossible. food is NECESSARY to survive. comparing gluttony/obesity to alcohol abuse is difficult. obesity is a giant health problem, as alcohol abuse is, but i haven’t heard of a lot of instances where it tore a family apart, or caused an accident, or lowered a college student’s inhibitions to the point where they slept with someone on one random night (in fact, i suspect obesity would PREVENT such incidents 🙂 )
    comparing alcohol to TV is also tough. same things. TV addictions could be bad. and buying into the garbage on TV is probably worse. but, again, i don’t think it will lead to the types of things that alcohol abuse does.

    you can compare anything and i think it will break down at some point.

    alcohol is a gamble. avoiding the negative at the expense of the ONE positive (occassional enjoyment in moderation) is WISER.

  15. Jon says:

    Wow, this is getting almost as long as the President Bush discussion&

    I am forced to concur with Jeremys rationale for a few reasons:

    The moderation issue: As Americans we seem to have this inbred mentality of bigger and better when it comes to everything, the American way if you will. G.K. Chesterton (viz. Orthodoxy) once said in a rather lengthy discussion concerning the problem of pleasure (in interesting contrast to the problem of pain/evil/suffering”) that we show our appreciation to God for his creation by moderation in those things; in eating, by refraining from gluttony, and for gin and beer by refraining from drunkenness. (*not an exact quote as I do not have the text readily available at this time*) As with all things, if it is done, it must be done in moderation. Moderation in all things is wiser.

    The consistency issue: I find it wholly inconsistent to push the wise nature of abstaining from alcohol use and not also focus on the other elements of society which may be construed as unwise. There has been discussion concerning a dichotomy between wise and safe, a short mention of that which is necessary versus that which is unnecessary, and even a referral to the scales of justice in weighing the positives with the negatives. While seeing the basis and credence of all three approaches, none are fully objective. One may state that the bifurcation between wise and safe is splitting hairs too much, another may say that only that which is necessary can be used for reasoning, while yet another may say, and rightly so, that there is much more negative to be found in the issue than there is positive, but until we do address each particular issue in a holistic sense, objectivity will be missed. I do think there is a necessity for the caveat of the wise and safe distinctions; I also think that the arguments from that which is necessary and unnecessary should be made; and the points of judgment are also valid. (however, I do feel that the necessary and unnecessary argument holds the least weight simply due to the fact of all that we have that is unnecessary, which, in the future, the glories of modern science [sense the satire] may reveal that these things are killing us.[such as the microwave oven???]{sense the satire again}. Unless all avenues in life are approached with the same scrutiny as this current one being discussed, we will remain to be inconsistent and therefore will remain handicapped in our objectivity. Consistency is wiser.

    The personal issue: There are a few hot buttons (especially here in the BBB (Buckle of the Bible Belt) that are always approached with a priori laden rationale. I am such a believer in objective truth that if you were to call me a relativist I would assume that you were speaking to my cat, but I do feel that there are certain issues in life that do tend to be shaped by societal values that are not necessarily a matter that an objective standard can be obtained. For instance, our American culture says regiment and plan, the typical South American culture says live for today, because tomorrow the government might take everything away from you and you will have nothing. When we see this mindset in our culture it tends to make us uneasy simply because we are constantly on the go and our big corporate machine of America runs on the wall street clock. This isnt so everywhere, so for us to impose our set of cultural ideals on a society that has none of the elements within it that made us to tick the way that we do, I feel is unfair and presumptive. I think the alcohol issue falls into the same genre. Its fine to have personal opinions about alcohol, but is it fair for me to place my subjective standard on someone else who may not have the same opinion on the issue? Im not sure that it is. Is it fine for me to express my opinion on alcohol? Of course! Being objective is wiser.

    With all that said, I dont drink. Never have, never plan to. (unless you count a sickly nights use of Nyquil drinking, which brings up another point about whether or not alcohol, historically or presently, is only used for enjoyment) I have my opinions, but I do recognize them as such and will do my best to objectively discuss them with anyone who is willing to be as objective with me as I am with them. (i.e.- I don’t think that any of us can say what’s “wise” for everyone in this matter. You can certainly decide what’s wise for yourself, but everyone has different weaknesses. Don’t assume that mine are yours. And I won’t shoot you dirty looks for eating pasta.)

  16. sarah says:

    what is WISER than abstaining regarding alcohol consumption??

    moderation? if moderation is controlling the amount of consumption, which varies per person, and isn’t clear and defined…. then wouldn’t total abstinence be one step better and WISER?

    we aren’t talking about what’s “right” or where the actual problem is (the person drinking or the drink itself) or TV or food or anything else. there is nothing more wise REGARDING ALCOHOL than not starting to drink.
    perhaps the second most wise thing to do is to drink moderately.
    we all choose what’s acceptable for our own person. having weighed all options, i choose the wisest path – steering 100% clear (i chose this even before becoming a Christian at 25, so this isn’t a “southern baptist typical abstain or be an alcoholic” viewpoint). in other areas of my life, i’m willing to sacrifice the most WISE alternative. i drive to work because i want the job that’s 25 miles away. i could work from home (wisest), but at least i don’t commute to charlotte (not as wise). i eat a single, fattening, borderline gluttonous “binge” meal once a week. it’s wiser than eating poorly every meal, not as wise as eating healthy every meal. i don’t watch garbage on tv. perhaps that’s not as wise as never watching tv, but it’s wiser than parking my remote on mtv all day long.
    in closing, the question was never what’s right or what works for you?…. it’s what’s the WISEST to do regarding alcohol?

  17. Kyle says:

    This is a really tough question, Derek. It seems like there is no advice that applies to everybody. I love wine and I drink about three glasses of it a week (with dinner on nights that I doubt I’ll go to the gym). I simply love the taste and the relaxed feeling I get after a glass. I find that I sleep beautifully if I have had a glass with dinner. It really knocks me out. But, other people might not be able to stop at one glass or might increase their intake to a glass during dinner every night, or maybe two, or three. Those people should just forget it – no drinking whatsoever. Same old story: everything in moderation. Except music, art, and smooches.

  18. your wife says:

    but what if you get addicted to smooches? it’s perhaps the deadliest of all of these topics!!!!!!

  19. Ben says:

    Yeah, but you can break your leg. One of my firiends also once split her head open while swing dancing (got lifted right into a girder). 🙂

    OK i’ll shut up now and let those with something meaningful to say speak (I dont have any of that) 🙂

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