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
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
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