Texans are going to bars and drinking deep of alcoholic beverages, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman.
Beer, wine, and mixed drink sales reached almost $6 billion in Texas last year, an increase of 6 percent over 2014.
This figure saddens me. Some of it accounts for just basic refreshment. Some people drink a beer in the same way I drink a Dr. Pepper. Some people drink a glass of wine for health benefits. Some people just like the taste. But, I suspect, most of the alcohol is consumed to alter one’s mood — to help unwind at the end of a day, to become more loose at a party, or to hide from life’s pains.
That last reason is actually why I gave up a steady diet of alcohol years ago — I tried to hide some pain and just created more pain.
As someone who takes medicine daily to combat depression, I can understand how important mood stabilizers can be. But alcohol is not a mood stabilizer; it is mood altering. It is often used as a means of self-medicating when it would be better and cheaper to see a doctor and get real help.
Alcohol is a great destroyer of human life. Taken in moderation, it is not a problem; but alcohol and moderation have a hard time with one another because, by its nature, alcohol dulls the senses that promote moderation.
Alcohol abuse often leads to sexual assault, vehicular manslaughter, other forms of violence, broken relationships, lost jobs, and other stains upon human life.
I stress “abuse.” People who can have one drink and walk away do not have a problem, either biblically or societally. But the industry doesn’t sell almost $6 billion in Texas with people only taking one drink. Despite their pronouncements of moderation, they benefit when people drink heavily and often.
Think how much better Texas families would be if they just spent half as much on alcohol. That would be $3 billion more available for the necessities and even the non-necessities of life. Less debt, more nutritious food, more help for the hurting, more vacations, more, more, more of everything except drunkenness and all of the evils that come with it.
Alcohol is not evil in itself, but we should all beware of the evil that follows in the wake of its abuse.
(This post originally appeared on the Texas Baptists web site.)