Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible

By COGwriter

Heavy Drinking

At university campuses and other locations around the world, 'binge drinking' alcohol is wildly popular. But this activity is both physically and spiritually dangerous. Millions are killed because of it each year.

Notice the results of a study by the World Health Organization:

May 12, 2014

GENEVA — The World Health Organization is urging nations to take action to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol, which it says is killing 3.3 million people each year.

The WHO reports the harmful use of alcohol is responsible for six percent of all deaths around the world – that is one death every 10 seconds.

Besides being addictive, the report says alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing more than 200 diseases, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.  For the first time, the WHO says the harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and HIV.

WHO Mental Health and Substance Abuse Director Shekhar Saxena says the organization is concerned about drinking among young adults between ages 15 and 19, and particularly by heavy episodic drinking or “binge-drinking. ”

“The report concludes that worldwide 16 percent of drinkers over the age of 15 engage in binge-drinking, which is much more harmful than other kind of drinking … which causes the most harm in terms of accidents, self-harm and harm to others …  High income countries have the highest alcohol per capita consumption and also the highest prevalence of binge-drinking,”  said Saxena.

The report notes on average every person aged 15 or older drinks 6.2 liters of alcohol per year, but since less than 50 percent of the population drinks alcohol, those who do, consume on average 17 liters of pure alcohol a year.

The report warns drinking is increasing among women and this is of concern as they are more vulnerable to some alcohol-related health conditions than men.  The highest rates of mortality are found in Europe, followed by the West Pacific and then the Americas region.

Globally, the report finds Europe is the region with the highest alcohol consumption, particularly in Central and Eastern parts, followed by the Americas and Africa.  It says Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and some neighboring countries have very high levels of consumption and binge drinking.

Although less alcohol is consumed in Africa than in Europe, WHO Management of Substance Abuse Coordinator Vladimir Poznyak says the health impacts are worse in Africa than in Europe.

“The difference is that in African region as well as in other countries with less resources, the consumption of alcohol brings more harm to health and to social relationship because of the absence of buffering factors, which are often like social support, like access to health care services.  This what is lacking,”  said Poznyak. http://www.voanews.com/content/who-binge-drinking-most-harmful-to-health/1912970.html

A study of university students in the USA found that binge drinking alcohol to excess is supposedly sign of increased social success, despite the fact that many do not like it:

“Binge-drinking college students are happier than their non-binge-drinking peers,” reports a study presented this week at a meeting of the American Sociological Assn. in Denver.

And the reason? “It may be because, at these schools, binge drinking is associated with high status and binge drinkers are happier with their college social experience than their non-binge-drinking peers,” the authors go out on a limb in explaining…

Here are some facts from the study, conducted at a northeastern liberal arts college and based on surveys from 1,595 students:

– Fully 64% of students at this college indulged in binge drinking — defined as consuming four drinks for women and five drinks for men — in a single session at least once within a two-week period. http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-kids-who-binge-drink-in-college-have-more-fun-20120820,0,4728141.story

“One thing that was a recurrent comment were students who said, ‘Everyone drinks here. … I don’t want to get drunk, but I feel like I don’t belong here if I don’t.’ … Then the next person would write, ‘I don’t really want to drink, but this is what everyone else does.’ And the next person would write, ‘You know, I don’t mind drinking a little, but I don’t want to get smashed, but everyone does that,’” Hsu said.

“I look at this and I think, ‘Why don’t you guys just have a party without drinking? None of you want to be doing this!’” Hsu added…

At the university studied, “this behavior is so associated with being higher status that if you don’t do it, you don’t have as high levels of social satisfaction,” she said.

One glimmer of hope, Hsu said, was that students in religious organizations who did not binge drink were more socially satisfied than other low-status non-bingers.

“If you’re in a community that’s big enough that creates its own social life, you might actually get to not care what the mainstream campus message is,” she said. She added that she hopes the findings encourage students to back away from the booze. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/20/study-college-binge-drinkers-report-being-happier-than-non-binge-drinkers/#ixzz24Be3i0wz

It is interesting to note that students that attempt to have a greater religious connection do not feel the need to drink heavily for happiness, satisfaction, etc.

Notice also the following:

June 28, 2014

Binge drinking, excessive weekly consumption of alcohol and drinking while underage or pregnant — claimed 88,000 lives per year from 2006 to 2010.

One in 10 deaths of people between the ages of 20 and 64 years can be attributed to excessive alcohol intake, according to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease found that binge drinking, excessive weekly consumption of alcohol and drinking while underage or pregnant — claimed 88,000 lives per year from 2006 to 2010. A person who died under these circumstances lost an average of 30 years from their lifespan.

According to epidemiologist Mandy Stahre, one of the authors of the study, the implications of this can be a serious matter when concerned about the economy.

“We’re talking about a large economic impact, people who are contributing to society,” Stahre said, according to USA Today. “They’re in the prime of their lives, whether they’re building up careers or midcareer. A lot of attention we tend to focus on is maybe college drinking or just drunk driving.” http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/excessive-drinking-linked-to-88000-annual-u-s-deaths-cdc-says/#ixzz35wTg3a53

Here is another report:

November 3, 2016

Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a pattern of drinking that increases blood alcohol level to 0.08 percent in just a matter of a couple hours. According to the NIAAA, this is usually four drinks for women and five drinks for men over the span of two to three hours.

“Binge drinking is something that, unfortunately, seems to go along with the culture of college,” Sara Swenson, psychology professor said. “Drinking large amounts of alcohol can be very detrimental to your health. Alcohol poisoning can happen very easily.”

Freshman Nelson Dittman said that he often sees Doane students partaking in heavy binge drinking.

“I think that kids often find themselves drinking in large amounts because college is the first time to be able to drink for them,” Dittman said. “College is the first opportunity to drink so they don’t know their limits.”

Sophomore Haileigh Arthur agreed with Dittman.

“College students drink because they come from a structured households,” Arthur said. “When you get to college it’s like a free for all, and for some kids that means going crazy.”

This is a problem for college students since heavy drinking can increase blood pressure and affect the functions of your heart and liver, Swenson said.

“Alcohol also affects the way the brain communicates with itself and the rest of the body,” Swenson said. “There can be mood changes, the inability to think clearly, impaired decision making and problems with muscle coordination.”

With binge drinking comes more risk-taking behaviors such as driving while under the influence and having unprotected sex, she said. http://doaneline.com/news/article_e7d04a06-a14f-11e6-a7a0-17baacf855c8.html

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Fact Sheet on Binge Drinking states:

According to national surveys

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including—

While light alcohol consumption (no more than one drink in a day for most people) has health benefits, excessive consumption of alcohol is dangerous--and binge drinking can kill.

The CDC also reports the following for its Fact Sheet on Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health:

Injuries and deaths as a result of excessive alcohol use

Reproductive Health and Sexual Function

Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.16, 17

Excessive alcohol use is commonly involved in sexual assault. Impaired judgment caused by alcohol may worsen the tendency of some men to mistake a women’s friendly behavior for sexual interest and misjudge their use of force. Also, alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.4

Cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men. http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mens-health.htm

The CDC also reports the following for its Fact Sheet on Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health:

Reproductive Health

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Other Health Concerns

Who Binge Drinks?

What type of person tends to be involved with binge-drinking?

October 31, 2016

Valerie Reyna, professor of human development, and Evan Wilhelms, Ph.D. ... have debuted a new questionnaire that significantly outperforms 14 other gold-standard measures frequently used in economics and psychology. The measure’s 12 simple questions ask in various ways whether one agrees with the principle “sacrifice now, enjoy later.” Their study, “Gist of Delay of Gratification: Understanding and Predicting Problem Behaviors,” appeared Aug. 10 in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

“People who get drunk frequently, party with drugs, borrow money needlessly or have unprotected sex disagreed more with the concept ‘sacrifice now, enjoy later’ than people who didn’t do these things,” Reyna said. “Instead, they leaned more toward ‘have fun today and don’t worry about tomorrow.’”

Having fun is generally good, she said. “But not being able to delay gratification can interfere with education, health and financial well-being, and the impact is greater for young people,” she added. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2016/10/simple-questionnaire-predicts-unprotected-sex-binge-drinking

So, people who do not wish to be concerned about their futures tend to binge-drink.

The Bible warns:

11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35 "They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?" (Proverbs 23:31-35)

Many people do not have the proper priorities.

The Bible and Alcohol

The Bible itself condemns, not alcohol (cf. 1 Timothy 5:23; John 2:1-10), but drunkenness. And it does not limit its condemnations to those of the USA.

Notice the following:

1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1)

20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot; (Isaiah 28:1-3)

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)

The partying drunkard is also specifically condemned as part of those that will not inherit the kingdom of God:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The fact that the average college binge drinker is defined as one who gets drunk doing this at least twice per month shows the lack of concern for biblical morality.

The Bible also condemns those who encourage others to drink excessively, and also hints of possible sexual violation when one does drink excessively:

5 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor,
Pressing him to your bottle,
Even to make him drunk,
That you may look on his nakedness!
16 You are filled with shame instead of glory.
You also — drink!
And be exposed as uncircumcised!
The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you,
And utter shame will be on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)

The Bible teaches that those who turn from such behavior can face societal criticisms, yet avoiding what the world encourages along these lines is what Christians are supposed to do:

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:3-4)

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Romans 13:13)

If you, or a loved one, has a problem with binge drinking or anything else to do with alcohol, pray about it and seek counsel.

In addition to contacting the ministry, secular sources can also be of assistance. A list of sources from the CDC can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/resources.htm Furthermore, there are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous in many other nations. People with alcohol problems can be helped. And the Bible encourages people to leave the “binge drinking” lifestyle.

Notice also the following from someone in the Continuing Church of God:

I have an unusual aspect of faith that I went through. I am a recovering alcoholic and smoker. When I first became a member of WCG in 1982 (I think), I smoked and drank. I knew I couldn't continue in the Church without repentance and therefore quitting. I prayed to God regarding smoking (drinking wasn't that bad in those days) and through His Word, I quit. After falling away (sometime in the late 90's, I think), I started smoking again and drinking became quite severe. I longed for the days when God was in my life (I know I was the one that left) when a friend of mine with similar feelings found the CCOG. We both immediately felt God said, "OK, here you go. Seek and ye shall find".

The problem was I was back smoking and drinking and knowing I couldn't continue with those habits. I was actually afraid to pray to God to quit smoking and drinking because I KNEW HE WOULD DO IT! I was scared to death to go without tobacco. The thought of having to deal with the irritability associated with quitting until my body was functioning normally was more than I wanted to deal with. The thought of night sweats and raw nerves until my body readjusted to no alcohol was really scarey. These feelings were real and they kept me from turning to God. I tried to quit smoking on my own, every minute was an ordeal. I tried to quit drinking on my own, I was wringing wet with sweat at night and my legs screamed with "restlessness". I lasted a couple of days at most each time I tried. It always reinforced my fear of praying to God for help because I knew He would help and I would have to go through the ordeal just described. I just kept putting off quitting because of fear.

I was so bothered by my behavior and knew I couldn't continue with the way I was going that I finally asked God to make me quit. He did, just like I knew He would. I threw my burden on Christ and said "here it's yours". Now I waited for the irritability of no cigarettes and the dreaded night sweats. They never came.

In my fear I forgot how merciful God is. I thank Him hour by hour for stopping me from smoking and drinking. I use this experience to try to let go of my fears in other areas and let the gift of God increase my faith.

Christians can ask God to help them stop abusing alcohol. Christians need to have faith in God (see also the free pdf booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

Excessive binging on alcohol is serious problem in many societies. And is one that needs to be repented of.

Thiel B. Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible. http://www.cogwriter.com/binge-drinking.htm COGwriter (c) 2014 2016 1104

An article of possibly related interest could be:

Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.

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