Warren E. Berkley
Are preachers and old fashioned folk the only people who are against social drinking?
Just recently I read an article in the McAllen Monitor (by Chelse Benham, May 23, 2004, page 1G), under the title: Cocktails & Contacts: Do They Mix? The author said in the lead paragraph: Social drinking is the number one acceptable drug of choice among Americans and it is the most commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in the country, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She also pointed out (quoting Health magazine): Americans have a long history of ambivalence about the role of alcohol in their society. Then this: the business environment all but pours it (alcohol, web) down the throats of professionals in social settings.
Next, citing a CNN report: many professionals use alcohol to ease into business conversations and transaction. One CEO said: There is tremendous pressure to indulge in alcohol on business-social occasions It is a factor in building business relationships, or bonding.
Michael Judge, reporter for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ.com) Web site: Drinkers mind if one among them is not drinking. Like death, drink is a great leveler. Sobriety immediately introduces a hierarchy. So that your attitude may be adjusted to fall in line with theirs, sometimes other people all but require you to drink. (Notice, sobriety introduces a hierarchy. Indeed, a hierarchy of character!)
Miguel Lopez, program coordinator for the University of Texas-Pam American s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program said: Alcohol helps create a sense of belonging in a group, but this can also create a false sense of security. People lean on alcohol when they have less confidence in their social skills. They turn to liquid power to be the type of person they may want to be, but don’t feel they are. He calls this an artificial sense of empowerment. Further: By saying no to drinking alcohol in a social setting you re not participating, so you re an individual and not part of the crowd. This can make the people around you self-conscious and they may apply pressure on you to drink. It takes someone who is well centered with themselves to say no against social pressures! Mr. Lopez is not a gospel preacher just repeating the traditional line. He has experience as a witness of what social drinking is about in reality, in the business world and on the college campus.
Long before Mr. Lopez made these observations, Solomon directed us to the wise course: Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise, (Prov. 20:1). And Habakkuk saw what Mr. Lopez saw: Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, who mix in your venom even to make them drunk so as to look on their nakedness! (Hab. 2:15). Peter showed no interests in preaching what is popular when he said: 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. 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. They will given an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead, (1 Pet. 4:3-5). Are you an individual, or a part of the crowd? God knows.