Substance abuse has made victims of so many people. News reports of people killed in DUI car accidents, teens dying from alcohol poisoning during prom after parties, and large scale drug industry busts are of no surprise to us anymore. It is part of the disturbing culture of death that is seeking dominance over good.
The abuse of alcohol tears up families all over the world. This is a fact that I’m sure many people have been witness too through their own families, friends, or just watching the news. Part of ‘student life’ that i’m sure many of you are aware of is excessive drinking at parties that goes on. Friends get together with their kegs and as much alcohol as each can afford and kick back for a night of good times. Then they wake up to a trashed up house, food in their hair, puke on their back porches and wonder what went wrong.
Alcohol is abused, and those that drink it excessively abuse themselves and might even hurt other people. So to have a beer or a Margarita isn’t a bad thing in itself. However, when you start pushing the boundaries and aim for the state of tipsy or drunkenness, well then you’re abusing the alcohol and you’re also abusing your body. Most importantly, you’re putting your soul at risk.
Drunkenness is also a near occasion for other sins. The influence of alcohol on our bodies makes us more susceptible to doing things that we wouldn’t normally do. Driving under the influence and sexual sins are just examples of things that can happen when we let ourselves get out of control.
Responsibly, Alcohol is not a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing. During the Wedding of Cana (John 2:1-12) Jesus produced wine from water. Wine was a popular drink, granted it was made in a different way and watered down because of its concentration. If He had a problem with alcohol, I don’t think He would have produced it so a whole bunch of people could enjoy it at a celebration. Even the Saints enjoyed beer. Saint Arnold of Soissons brewed his own, and even preached about it. After he had been exhumed, the citizens carried his body so he could be buried in a church. it was a pretty long hike, so they decided that while passing through Champignuelles they would stop for a beer. Sadly there was only one mug left. But, to their surprise, they were able to share that mug and it never went dry. I’m not a huge beer drinker myself, but I thought this was pretty cool.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.
With the increase in drug trafficking, people are able to gain access to drugs on the street easily. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, the list goes on. People will do just about anything to get that high or have some fun. Drugs, like alcohol, can put us in situations we would want to avoid. They inhibit how we think, and can inhibit how we make choices.
Many would argue that drugs such as marijuana don’t affect a person in ways that say perhaps ecstasy would. First of all, there are harmful effects from marijuana use, not to mention its tendency to act as a gateway drug, leading to more harmful substances. But it’s also important to note that aside from the health risks, the abuse of marijuana in order to alter the mind and remove inhibitions is a clear example of excess (check CCC above), and an offense against the dignity of the human person.
The medicinal uses of drugs are different than ‘recreational’ uses. Cancer patients, for example, will be given medicinal marijuana drug, rather it allows for them to cope with the pain caused by the disease and its treatment. In no way is this abusing the drug, as it is being used with the intention to help someone endure intense pain that perhaps other medicines could not.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a definite contributor to the culture of death our society faces. The CCC states 2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships. The dependence on this cult of the body is to satisfy the body versus to value and uphold the value of the human person ( body and soul).
Drugs and alcohol attempt to fill in an empty space, help us ‘deal with’ hard situations, provide empty promises of happiness and good times, and some kind of release from this world or perhaps even enhance the experience. So often, though, does it give us things were never wanted. Physical health problems, loss of friendships, broken families, and a broken relationship with Jesus. People often rely in substances to give them a sense of peace and escapism that allows them to feel free from pains of the world.
The addictions can cause people to place more trust in the temporal, momentary bliss than in the eternal Love and joy Jesus has to offer. Those substances cannot fill the emptiness in us, nor rid us of pain in our hearts and souls. He is the only person that can satisfy you. He will bring healing, peace, and love. There is no substitute for God’s Love. Why take a moment of bliss when you could have Him and obtain eternal joy? If you are struggling with an addiction, Seek Christ, and do not be afraid to seek help from professionals. Team Orthodoxy is here for those that need help and we will help you get the help you need the best we can. Christ will be with you along the way, and with Him, you will succeed.