A Slave to Alcohol No More
The moderate use of alcohol can complement a meal or contribute to the happiness of a celebration. For some people, however, the use of alcohol leads to serious problems. Consider the following story of a man who was able to break free from the chains of alcohol abuse.
EVEN now, the tense atmosphere that reigned in our home is painful for me to relate. Dad and Mom would start drinking. Then Dad would beat Mom. Often, I became the target of his flying fists. When they decided to separate, I was only four years old. I remember being taken to Grandma’s house to live.
I felt so unwanted. When I was seven, I would quietly sneak down to the cellar to drink homemade wine, which seemed to relieve my sadness. At age 12, my mother and grandmother got into a heated argument over me. Mom became so furious that she threw a pitchfork at me. I managed to jump out of harm’s way! This was not the only time my life was in danger. The scars on my body, however, were not as deep as the emotional scars buried deep within me.
By the age of 14, I was drinking constantly. Finally, at 17, I ran away from home. Drinking gave me a feeling of independence, and I became very aggressive, causing problems in the local cafés. Drinking was my only pleasure in life. In just one day, I would drink up to five quarts [5 L] of wine, a few beers, and hard liquor as well.
When I married, my drinking caused big problems for my wife. Resentment and bitterness grew, and I beat her and the children, re-creating the destructive atmosphere I had grown up in. Almost all the money I earned was spent on alcohol. We had no furniture, so my wife and I slept on the floor. I had no reason to live and made no effort to improve our situation.
One day I spoke with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I questioned why there was so much suffering, and the Witness showed me from the Bible God’s promise of a world free from problems. That convinced me to start studying the Bible with the Witnesses. As I applied Bible teachings and cut down on my drinking, our family life improved a great deal. Still, I realized that if I wanted to serve Jehovah God in an acceptable way, I would have to overcome my alcohol problem. After three months of struggle, I was alcohol-free. Six months later I dedicated my life to God and symbolized this by getting baptized.
By ending my slavery to alcohol, I was able to pay off my financial debts. I eventually bought a house and also a car, which we use to attend Christian meetings and to take part in the door-to-door ministry. Finally, I have gained self-respect.
Sometimes at a social gathering, I am invited to have a drink. Many don’t know the tremendous fight I have and that just one drink is all it would take to lead me back to my old ways. The desire for alcohol still lingers within me. It requires intense prayer and determination to have the strength to say no. When I’m thirsty, I drink as much as I can of anything that doesn’t contain alcohol. I have not had a single alcoholic drink for ten years now.
Jehovah can do what man cannot. He has helped me to enjoy a freedom I never believed possible! I still suffer from the emotional scars of my childhood, and I have a continual fight against negative thinking. On the positive side, I am blessed with a good relationship with God, a congregation of genuine friends, and a wonderful family who share my faith. My wife and children support me wholeheartedly in my battle against alcohol. My wife says: “Before, my life was an inferno. Today, I am so grateful to Jehovah that I am able to enjoy a happy family life with my husband and two children.”—Contributed.
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By the age of 14, I was drinking constantly
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Jehovah can do what man cannot
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THE BIBLE AND ALCOHOL
▪ The Bible does not condemn the use of alcohol. It describes “wine that makes the heart of mortal man rejoice” as a gift from God to mankind. (Psalm 104:14, 15) The Bible also refers to the vine as a symbol of prosperity and security. (Micah 4:4) In fact, the first miracle performed by Jesus Christ was turning water into wine at a wedding feast. (John 2:7-9) And when the apostle Paul heard of Timothy’s “frequent cases of sickness,” he recommended that he drink “a little wine.”—1 Timothy 5:23.
▪ What the Bible does condemn is the immoderate use of alcohol:
“Drunkards . . . will never inherit the kingdom of God.”—1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “The Jerusalem Bible.”
“Do not be getting drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery.”—Ephesians 5:18.
“Who has woe? Who has uneasiness? Who has contentions? Who has concern? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has dullness of eyes? Those staying a long time with the wine, those coming in to search out mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it exhibits a red color, when it gives off its sparkle in the cup, when it goes with a slickness. At its end it bites just like a serpent, and it secretes poison just like a viper. Your own eyes will see strange things, and your own heart will speak perverse things.”—Proverbs 23:29-33.
As shown in the accompanying article, some who have had problems with alcohol have wisely chosen to abstain from it altogether.—Matthew 5:29.