Summary: Three actions to take in order to wise up about alcohol and other kinds of drugs.
I always feel a little strange on Memorial Day weekend. You see, when I was as sophomore in high school, my parents went away for Memorial day and left me at home alone. Big mistake! I threw the party to end all parties. There were people there I’d never seen before, a band, people drinking beer in every room of our house. Half way through the weekend, our house was a disaster. What I didn’t count on was my parents coming home a day early.
It seemed like ever since then, I had a tendency to get in trouble on Memorial Day weekend. But then that was back when I was involved in drug and alcohol abuse.
I was twelve years old when I took my first drink. My mom and adopted father were hosting a Christmas party for several of their friends. They had an open bar, and the more the booze flowed, the less people noticed that I was helping myself to the orange juice and vodka drinks they called screwdrivers. I don’t remember exactly how many screwdrivers I drank, but I do remember spending the night throwing up in the bathroom. I also remember feeling absolutely awful the next day. In fact, I couldn’t drink orange juice without feeling like I was going to throw up for months after that.
Any normal person would’ve learned from that experience, but for me that night was just beginning. However, I wasn’t a normal person. Within a week I was regularly sneaking into my parents’ liquor cabinet. I didn’t care what I drank--bourbon, vodka, brandy--it didn’t matter. The drink was just the delivery system; what I was really interested in was the effect. Alcohol provided a numbness from the pain and confusion I was going through as a twelve year old.
And I didn’t stop with drinking. Soon I was experimenting with drugs as well, and by the time I was 13 years old I was a daily drug abuser. I tried everything I could get my hands on: marijuana, pills, meth, angel dust, LSD. The only thing I never tried was heroin. I figured if I avoided heroin, I wasn’t a drug addict.
For six years I drank and abused drugs on a regular basis. In fact, I can’t remember one sober day from the time I was twelve until the time I quit when I was 18 years old. My grades went from being A’s and B’s to F’s. My last year of junior high school I was suspended three times for getting into trouble. In fact, I failed all but one of my classes my last semester, but the school graduated me anyway, just to move me on to the high school.
That summer between junior high and high school I moved here to Upland. I didn’t get into as much trouble here in Upland, but it’s not because I didn’t deserve it. I continued to abuse drugs and alcohol on a daily basis, as I coasted through high school in a continual mental haze.
It was only through my involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous when I was 18 years old that I was able to finally break free from my addiction. It’s easy to imagine my drug and alcohol problem wasn’t really that bad; after all, I only used drugs and drank for six years. Yet during those six years my life spun out of control, I was unable to sustain healthy relationships, and I consistently turned to drugs and alcohol to numb my pain and cope with life. I was young, but I truly was an alcoholic and a drug addict.
Alcohol abuse and drug abuse are a major problem in our culture. An article in Wednesday’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin revealed that the year 2001 saw a dramatic increase in binge drinking among Americans (May 22, 2002). Every twenty minutes in our country, one person is killed in an alcohol related automobile crash. I’m sure that number goes up during holiday weekends like this one. According to National Geographic, alcohol abuse costs American society $136 billion and 65,000 lives each year.
And for all our efforts to fight a war on drugs, drug abuse continues to climb as well. Last year approximately 14 million Americans abused an illegal drug. And that doesn’t count people who abuse prescription drugs given to them by their doctor.
Today we’re going to talk about Wising Up About Alcohol. We’ve been in a series through the Old Testament book of Proverbs called Wise Up About Life. In this series we’ve been looking at different topics and how to live with the grain of God’s wisdom in each of these topics. Today we’re going to look at how to wise up about alcohol, and what we say will also apply to drugs as well. Today we’re going to discover three actions we need to take to wise up about alcohol.