Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Television, movies, cinemas and billboard advertisements show alcohol as necessary for success. Everyone important is using it, they say. At least, that is what these media show. Parents, friends, peers may use alcohol. Even young children are introduced to its use in the home. Many think they can find happiness through its use. But many do not show the other side of the picture.

Health-promoting grains or fruits are allowed to ferment to produce alcohol (jard). Many of these products are further processed to increase the alcoholic content (raksi). The original product gives the drink its flavor; the alcohol from the fermentation process gives it the 'bite.'

Physical Effects:

No matter the drink, alcohol in all its forms is poisonous. Every drink destroys thousands of brain cells. It fogs the brain, lowers the inhibitions (the ability to do things that would not be done if alcohol was not in the system). Often a person becomes talkative, but memory and reason are affected. Permanent brain damage can occur. With large quantities of alcohol in the blood, hallucinations, loss of brain function and then death may occur.

Alcohol damages other parts of the body as well. The liver is the primary organ that detoxifies alcohol. It takes more than 1 hour for the liver to break down the alcohol from 1 drink. Vomiting, bathing, drinking tea or coffee, exercising or eating food will not get rid of alcohol in the blood any faster. Eating will slow down the rate of absorption but will not slow down the rate of breakdown. It takes time for the liver to process the alcohol. But the alcohol also damages the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver, an irreparable disease, may occur with repeated use. The liver isn't the only organ damaged. Alcohol raises the blood pressure, causes stomach ulcers and bleeding, causes inflammation of all parts of the digestive tract, increases cancers of the mouth, larynx and esophagus and many other diseases.

Social Effects:

But the damage to the body is only one part of the problem. Social, psychological, and financial problems can be even greater. While a drinker may feel he is happier, more free and friendly, yet often alcohol can lead him to arguments, violence and aggression. The home is often the scene of quarrels, fights and abuse. Children and spouses may be neglected or harmed. The place that should be the happiest place in the world becomes a place of disappointment, misery and fear. How much better if alcohol did not enter the home.

Alcohol breaks down the inhibitions, leading to behavior that would not be considered if sober. Unwanted pregnancies, risky sex, rape and murder are committed more frequently by those under the influence of liquor.

Prenatal Effects:

Alcohol also affects adversely (badly) the unborn baby. Whatever the mother eats or drinks is eaten and drunk by the baby. The problem is, the alcohol must be removed by the liver from the mother's blood before it can be removed from the baby's blood. The baby's liver is not sufficiently developed to remove the alcohol from its own system, so it must depend on its mother's liver to break down the alcohol. Her liver breaks down the alcohol from her blood first. Then the alcohol from the baby passes back through the placenta to the mother's blood where it is processed. Thus the baby remains drunk longer than the mother. All the time the alcohol is in the baby's blood it is doing damage. It is damaging the brain, organs and body.

Many times a woman drinks alcohol before she realizes she is pregnant. It is during the first three months of pregnancy that the baby's development is most affected. It can cause bone deformation, facial changes, mental damage, and smaller birth weight and smaller brain size. Often the child is mentally retarded all the rest of its life. Also, he will find it much easier to use alcohol as he grows up. The damage done to the child is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is a totally preventable disease. No woman of child-bearing age should drink alcohol.

Also, the father can pass on his thirst for alcohol to his children through his genes. A man who wants the very best for his children should never drink alcoholic beverages. His addiction to alcohol may be passed on to his children and grandchildren. Because of his influence and heredity, he may make it very hard for his children to not have a thirst for alcohol.

Mental Effects:

Drinking impairs the judgment. A person may think he is very much in control of himself, but with every drink his ability to do 2 things at one time is greatly lessened. Especially the ability to drive a vehicle is greatly impaired. Driving requires many skills and lots of good judgment, where many decisions need to be made. Even one drink affects the mind and the ability to think, drive and make good decisions. Never should alcohol be used by anyone going to drive a vehicle or run equipment. There are many other lives besides his own that he is responsible for. Many highway accidents are caused by drinking drivers.

Alcohol is an addictive drug. Once the habit is formed, it is difficult, but not impossible, to overcome. Often it requires strong determination, assistance from family and friends, and sometimes professional help to master this addiction. Divine help from God is often the major key to breaking this health, body and soul-destroying poison.

Because of the emotional effects on children and family members as they see, hear and feel the affects of alcohol abuse, a strong appeal is made to every victim of alcohol to give up this poison and join those who are educating children, youth and adults to be alcohol-free.

"In relation to tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcoholic drinks, the only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not. The tendency of tea, coffee, and similar drinks is in the same direction as that of alcoholic liquor and tobacco, and in some cases the habit is as difficuolt to break as it is for the drunkard to give up intoxicants. Those who attempt to leave off these stimulants will for a time feel a loss and will suffer without them. But by persistence they will overcome the craving and cease to feel the lack. Nature may require a little time to recover from the abuse she has suffered; but give her a chance, and she will again rally and perform her work nobly and well." E.G. White, Health and Happiness, p. 139.

Written by Terri Horner

Lifestyle Education Center

Mungpoo, India

No comments: