Ladies, Who Needs a Drink?
Not to echo the warnings of teetotalers, but when we're not thinking about it, drinking can be a slippery slope.
Christian author Heather Kopp chronicles her rehab from alcoholism at 40 in the book Sober Mercies. "She'd simply let a nightly glass of wine turn into two, which turned into a bottle, which eventually led to additional mini bottles hidden and secretly chugged in the bathroom," wrote Laura Leonard, in her review of the book for CT. "Soon enough, every moment of her life revolved around her next chance to sneak away for a drink."
Laura and I have talked about the book and how easy it would be to end up in the author's situation. A nightly ritual, a little more each night, a growing dependence…I'll be the first to say that that's not a crazy possibility for myself, or for many other wonderful Christian women I know. Wine goes down easy, and when I'm stressed, it feels good. And that is where the danger lies.
So how do we drink "responsibly?" And even more importantly, how do we do so as Christians?
I like how Tony Kriz put it in his recent Leadership Journal article:
Alcohol can be used to medicate and to numb the soul. Too many hope for a pause, to forget their many pains: heart pains, soul pains, relational pains, hopelessness, and loss. Yet the Bible doesn't support these uses.
In the divisive church climate around alcohol, I don't know if you choose to drink or not. But either way, the best theology of wine is that it is a metaphor of joy and heaven. It was not created to be a tool of personal and interpersonal destruction. (Teetotalers and imbibers can certainly agree on that.)
Alcohol was created to help commemorate the significant moments of life. My theology is simple: God gave us wine to remember, not to forget.
I love the idea of wine being a sign of celebration. It's biblical, it's beautiful, and it rings true.
And I think drinking to celebrate, specifically, is the healthy way to go, because celebrations are temporary—they're marked with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But loss, pain, and stress are often long-term. You can't leave loss. You can't put an end to worry—or at least not in the same way we put an end to a celebration to return to our normal lives.
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