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Opinions of Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Columnist: Isaac Poku

Before you join the dance

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Before you could spend 30 minutes behind your TV set, you would have seen alcoholic beverages advertised many times within that short span. During the adverts, beautiful ladies and handsome men are seen dancing as they hold beer bottles. Obviously, they communicate that the great taste of alcohol and its energizing ingredients are behind their joyful display. The viewers are inherently informed that they would enjoy the same glee if they could buy one for themselves.

The notable spirited dance in almost all alcohol adverts is intriguing. "Why do all the advertizers dance?" I wondered, "Would one really dance when he also drinks?" As I pondered over this, a drunkard I met one time answered my question. Lo and behold, I saw him dancing too. However, his style of dancing was different from the one I saw on TV. Instead of moving rhythmically, his was helter-skelter. Moreover, he didn't appear neatly arrayed like the role players; rather, he was messily dressed with visibly dusted feet.

Why is there so much disparity between the two? Is it that the man I met refused to drink responsibly as they cautioned? Or could it be that most of the nice looking performers don't drink themselves? I suppose they are in the best position to answer that to their own conscience. Nevertheless, one thing is evident; the adverts are full of lies and deception. The manufacturers are only interested in how they can entice the public to buy their products. They incorporate false alcoholic effects; hence, one drinks but do not get the satisfaction he is promised. Sadly, after he comes to acknowledge how his life is being destroyed, he struggles almost fruitlessly to break the chain of addiction.

This reminds me of the words of the wise man in Proverbs 23:29-35,

"29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! 32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”

In essence, the Bible reveals that alcohol is addictive and a deceiver. Although it has a frizzante appearance, its effect on the body is demeaning. It distorts one's thought processes and makes him perceive nonexistent objects and situations. This biblical insight is coherent with research findings in psychology. Study shows that alcohol intake is related to a host of familiar cognitive changes, such as loss of inhibitions, confused or abnormal thinking, and poor decision-making. It is important to note that these implications are evident in occasional drinkers too even though it is more pronounced in chronic drinkers (Short and Long Term Mental Effects of Alcohol, 2020). Therefore, never risk your life to try it for fun, not even once!

Despite alcohol's precarious effects on drinkers, even so God is wise and he has a reason for creating it. In the field of medicine, it is used to prepare drugs that are dispensed at prescribed dosages. Moreover, the outbreak of coronavirus has underscored the disinfectant property of alcohol. In light of these, it appears alcohol was made for medicinal use instead of merrymaking. Before the advent of modern medicine, the Apostle Paul knew this and recommended it to Timothy who had a stomach ailment (1 Timothy 5:23).

Apart from that, whenever alcohol intake is mentioned in the Bible, it is usually connected to unconsciousness (Genesis 19:33), defilement (Leviticus 10:9), folly (1 Samuel 25:36), insecurity (2 Samuel 13:28, 29), deception (Proverbs 20:1), poverty (Proverbs 21:17), riot (Proverbs 23:20), hallucination (Proverbs 23:35), misjudgement (Proverbs 31:5), vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:3), death (Proverbs 31:6) and sin (1 Corinthians 6:10). No wonder King Lemuel's mother advised him never to drink alcohol so he can keep his senses awake all the time for his kingly duties (Proverbs 31:4, 5).

As Christians, we too are heirs of God's kingdom and a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Ain't we also supposed to refrain from drinking alcohol like King Lemuel? How would we effectively judge the world and reconcile them to God if we gave ourselves to drunkenness? Alcohol is deceptive and so are its adverts we see on our TV screens. The advertizers dance attractively because they are sober. Take in alcohol and you would dance haphazardly. Therefore, think twice before you are tempted to join their delusory dance. However, if you are already dancing bitterly to alcohol's fanged tune, contact a Christian counsellor immediately for help.

Thank you.
Enjoy the Grace of God!