Guest / Limited Access /
Why I Gave Up Alcohol
Image: Brian Macdonald

I am 30, I am an evangelical Christian, and I don't drink. Not because I have a problem with alcohol abuse, although I enjoy a good sobriety story as much as the next person. My narrative is a bit more jarring, coming across to fellow liberated evangelicals as a throwback to our not-too-distant conservative past. In a culture that encourages us to celebrate the good things of life—Instagramming an artfully arranged salad, tweeting about Pinot Noir, posting Facebook albums full of vacations—choosing not to drink carries a stigma of pietism, a whiff of refusing to party with Jesus. A faith built on meaningless acts of righteousness, of disdaining the world and its evil values.

In the pastor's home I grew up in, alcohol was a nonissue: not a drop in our house, only grape juice in the Communion cups. Save for my mother's relatives—who served as a warning, since most of them abused substances at some point—nobody I knew drank alcohol. I believed we were teetotalers, just like all other Christians. Then, when I was 17, I discovered a stash of wine coolers in a broken dryer in our garage. As it turns out, my parents liked to indulge now and then, but had kept it a secret from my siblings and me. I suddenly had to mentally rearrange everything I believed about alcohol. Wasn't it inherently evil? Didn't it lead to only bad things—sour breath, ruined relationships, cars full of teenagers careening out of control on the way to prom?

After I found them out, my parents began keeping a bottle of wine in the cupboard and some coconut rum on top of the fridge. And I began to see that having an occasional drink was a grown-up way of enjoying yourself. It became a signpost of the wider ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhy Can't Men Be Friends?
Subscriber Access Only Why Can't Men Be Friends?
Men and women alike increasingly say they are lonely. It doesn't have to be this way.
TrendingJames MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
James MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
Megachurch pastor confesses board slandered three elders as 'false messengers' last year.
Editor's PickA Sobering Mercy
A Sobering Mercy
The second time I surrendered to Christ, I was on a dirt road with no memory of how I had arrived there.
Comments
Christianity Today
Why I Gave Up Alcohol
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.