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Against drunkenness


Drunkenness is sin in and of itself… "nor drunkards... shall not inherit the Kingdom of God," according to the teaching of the Apostle (1 Cor. 6:10). And Christ says, And "take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness" (Lk. 21:34). This is the cause of so many and serious sins. It brings about the quarrels, fights, and bloodshed, and murders that follow upon it. It is rough talk, blasphemy, and cursing. It causes disappointment and offence to neighbor. It teaches lying, flattery, seizure of the things of others so as to somehow satisfy the passion. It ignites anger and wrath. It makes people cast themselves into impurity as swine into the mire.

In a word, it makes a man a beast, and the rational irrational, so that not only the inward condition but also the outward appearance of a man often changes. Wherefore St. John Chrysostom says, "The devil loves nothing like luxury and drunkenness" (Homily 58 on St. Matthew), because nothing fulfils his evil will as does a drunkard.

Drunkenness is the cause not only of ills of the soul but also of bodily and temporal ills:

1. It weakens the body and brings it to infirmity, whence it written, "Shew not thy valiantness in wine; for wine hath destroyed many" (Sirach 31:25).

2. It leads to wretchedness and poverty. "A labouring man that is given to drunkenness shall not be rich" (Sirach 19:1).

3. It takes away one's glory and good name. On the contrary it leads to ignominy, contempt and loathing. For people loathe nothing so much as they do a drunkard.

4. It brings grief and sorrow to the household, relatives, and friends, and merriment to enemies.

5. It makes its devotees useless for any calling, and in whatever calling a drunkard may be, it brings about calamity and misfortune rather than benefit to society. St. John Chrysostom, describing the misfortune and destruction of drunkenness, says, "Drunkenness is self-imposed possession, the emptying of thought, a calamity of derision, a disease worthy of ridicule, a voluntary demon" (Homily on the Resurrection), and much more. In order to guard oneself against drunkenness it is useful to apply the following:

1. Do not allow young people to drink alcoholic beverages since young people easily become accustomed to it, and whatever they learn in youth they hold to throughout their entire life.

2. Do not allow them to keep company with drunkards and the depraved.

3. Adults and those who have come to manhood should not drink wine without need.

4. Keep away from evil company and festivities.

5. Remind them that it is extremely difficult to hold back from this passion, and many perish in soul and body in and through that very passion.

6. Those that have become accustomed to this passion should powerfully arm themselves against its torments; stand, and not give in, and pray and call upon the all-powerful help of God.

7. Remember the misfortunes caused by drunkenness, and compare the condition of a sober life with the condition of a drunken life. These people should think about the fact that many drunkards die in their sleep and go from this life to the next without any consciousness, and therefore without repentance. 

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