By Irven Lee
The cost in dollars for the drinks for a life time for an alcoholic is a very great figure. Let the young man or woman think of the cost per drink and use a little simple mathematics to see what the total would be for a life time. Please do not forget that it takes more and more alcohol as time passes and liquor becomes king. Make another estimate (Please!) as you consider the natural progression as the body demands more.
Not only is there a large amount of money to be given to the liquor dealer, but as King Alcohol becomes more demanding one is less able to earn. There are days when the drinker cannot go to work. Many lose their jobs and take one for a smaller salary if they can find it. This is demonstrated by a few million people each generation so there is no excuse for a failure to realize this.
There are many other prices that must be paid for the habit. Repairing or replacing the wrecked cars is very expensive. Court fines and hospital bills may reach to heights not expected early in life. Funeral costs are high for the drunkard who kills himself or others in wrecks or drunken brawls.
The cost in dollars of the drink habit only touches the hem of the garment. There are costs for which no monetary value can even seem sensible. The lives of children may be scarred seriously, and no price tag can state the amount of damage done in this realm. The children did not ask to have you for a father or a mother. They have an inherent right to sober, kind, and loving parents who do not allow alcohol or anything else to wreck the home and to bring on divorce. All understand that many divorces are related to alcohol, but the divorce is only part of the story as far as the injury to the children and the marriage companions is concerned.
Some who drink become irritable, others go to sleep, and others become funny or silly according to one’s point of view. Alcohol works on the brain of man which is a very important part, of his fearfully and wonderfully made body. Temporary impairment of mental ability is the result of each drink at first. There may be permanent and miserable damage before the end of life (See Prov. 23:29-35). The liver and other parts of the digestive system may be permanently and seriously damaged. The heart may be affected. How much is your health worth? Have you considered the possibility of being shot or stabbed with a knife at some drinking party? You have heard of such, have you not? Is there any possibility that you, in some period of intoxication, might shoot or stab a friend?
One’s soul is worth more than the world about us, and the Bible is very plain in telling us the eternal destiny of the drunkard (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21). Do you believe the Bible? Oh, but you are not a drunkard since you drink only small amounts! All drunkards began that way. None ever intended to be a slave to the habit. Are you sure how much it takes to displease the Christ who died for you and the God who gave you your wonderful body that should not be defiled? “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
The alcohol habit puts one in company with others who drink, and that same habit gradually cuts one off from the close ties of friendship with sober people. Evil companionships add to the evil effect of alcohol. Sin tends to grow in clusters. Stealing, fornication, enslavement to other drugs, disrespect for law, and other evil things tend to follow as night the day. Drinking cuts one off from prayer, Bible study, and the hope of a Christian, and it leaves man alone in a dark world when the reaping of corruption sets in as promised (Gal. 6:7, 8). To be without hope and without God in the world is not the good life (Eph. 2:12).
Every man has an influence, and that influence goes the way he goes. His children are likely to follow in his steps, but if he is a Christian he may bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It has never been easy for me to understand why children of alcoholics drink, but it seems to be their usual course of life.
The Bible speaks of drunkenness, and it does not speak well of the habit. People tell us that an alcoholic is a sick man. If we see him while he is vomiting, or going through delirium tremors, we can easily see that he is sick. When reason has been dethroned and we hear him talk, we can easily see that he is deranged. If he had never taken the first drink he would never have- known that he was an alcoholic. His sickness can be healed by giving up the habit by means of a strong will. Doctors of the right kind can often help in his fight to conquer the habit. Tens of thousands of drunkards have thrown off the yoke of bondage and are free men, so it is evidently a possibility: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
There are two ways that one may travel in this life. There is the narrow way that leads to eternal life, and there is the broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13, 14). There is no reason for starting down the wrong road. Surely none plans to go onto destruction! The farther one goes down hill the harder: it is to get back to the high plane. God knows and has, recommended that which is best for man. He loves the world enough that He gave His Son to pay the price for our salvation and to speak the wonderful words of life. Christ left us an example that we should follow in His steps.
Young people, you cannot afford the cost of alcoholism, so stay completely away from the danger. Do not take the first step in the wrong direction. To older people who are slaves of the habit, we say in all humility that the Lord would call you to repentance. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). You have already paid a dear price for an unfortunate habit, but there is more to pay beyond the river of death. Repent and help rescue those you are carrying with you on the low road. Many need the help of the man who has had enough of sin so that he has returned to his Father. Think of the prodigal son of Luke 15. All that he spent in riotous living was wasted. It was a great day when he decided to go home. Your friends may have forsaken you, but your Father has not.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 16, pp. 265-266
April 19, 1979