Alcohol: the scary facts

Take time to consider the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual impact drunkenness can have on your life

Whether you consider drinking alcoholic beverages as a social thing, something that helps drown out all the troubles in life or simply an addiction you can't seem to shake, it is important to know the facts that could save your life in more ways than one.

According to the World Health Organization excessive alcohol consumption is extremely dangerous, causing 3.3 million deaths worldwide every year and is a factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions.

A relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and a range of mental and behavioural disorders has been established, including alcohol dependence, major diseases such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions.

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Incidences of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the course of HIV/AIDS have also been on the rise due to harmful drinking.

Excessive alcohol not only takes its toll on the brain and the rest of the body but also on social relationships.

Have you ever in your drunkenness said something you regret or acted with irrational anger or violence toward a loved one?

Perhaps all your money, time and attention goes towards drinking yourself into a stupor, impacting the relationships around you in more ways than one?

Adding to the physical and social risks associated with drinking too much alcohol are the spiritual risks.

The Bible speaks of drunkenness and its consequences many times.

The wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, had this to say about alcohol: "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise" (see Proverbs 20:1).

The Apostle Paul bluntly explains that drunkenness is a sin that separates us from eternal life with God in heaven.

He writes: "The acts of the flesh (sin) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures); idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord (conflict and bad blood), jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition ... drunkenness ... and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God" (see Galatians 5:19-21).

Despite the many terrible consequences of drunkenness, there is hope and good news!

Even if you think the temptation to get drunk is too great to endure, know that Jesus Christ has made a way for you to resist and to restore your physical, mental, social and spiritual life.

Jesus lived a sinless life. In Luke chapter 4 He publically announced that He came to "proclaim freedom for the prisoners...and to set the oppressed free".

Rather than remain a prisoner and slave to alcohol – enduring its abuse disguised as pleasure – find freedom in coming before Jesus and surrendering it all to Him.

He is the only One who can break the cycle of sin and addiction and restore broken relationships.

He is the only One who can free you to live a life of purpose, hope and joy beyond the bottle.

Rather than be filled with alcoholic spirits, be filled with the Holy Spirit who will guide and help you to make wise decisions and resist temptations.

As 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13 says: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

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