BARBARA R. THOMPSONBarbara R. Thompson is a free-lance writer who is a farm worker with His Farm Fellowship in Berne, New York. She is coauthor with F. Kefa Sempangi of A Distant Grief (Regal, 1979).

A medical expert gives straight answers about a growing problem.

Heavy drinking has become almost as American as Super Bowl Sunday. The latest Gallup Poll on American drinking habits only confirms the suspicion that something is radically amiss: 81 percent of adults said they considered alcoholism to be a major national problem, and one out of three families reported that alcohol had caused trouble in their families.

Concurrent with this seeming “epidemic” of alcohol-related problems, more and more evangelical Christians find themselves relaxing their opposition to social drinking and adopting drinking habits that closely resemble those of American society as a whole. The long-range consequences of this trend are unclear; what is certain is that members of the evangelical community are not immune from either the problems of alcohol abuse or the ravages of alcoholism.

In the following interview, Anderson Spickard, Jr., speaks candidly to the problems of alcohol abuse and alcoholism within the church and offers some practical insights for Christians concerned with developing a healthy perspective on alcohol consumption.

Spickard is the director of general internal medicine and a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as well as a practicing physician. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a frequent speaker on the subject of alcoholism at medical schools and churches. Spickard is currently working on a book to assist the Christian community in its understanding and treatment of alcoholism.

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