This blog post as you may have guessed is revolving around the topic of alcohol and mostly scottish drink culture.
When I was working my way through highschool I didn’t touch a drop of the stuff, I never understood the appeal, in about 4th year, aged 15 I remember often saying “I don’t understand why people drink, and even then why on earth would you get drunk!?” I am fairly sure I vowed that I would never drink and certainly never get drunk.
Ahh, the naivety of youth. I miss such innocence.
I went to my first “proper” party in 6th year, it was a “house” party, which is when everybody comes together in a friend’s house (or a friend parent’s house as was the custom at the time). Everybody brings their own drink, people with ID act as some kind of courier service, taking money in exchange for alcohol. I didn’t prepare in advance, and turned up with no “drink” I was how ever, quickly given drinks by my school mates who where keen to see “a drunken Goudie”. I roamed from room to room in this semi-strangers house, drinking occasionally, and catching up on gossip. I avoided dancing.
My first experience of alcohol was brief, and I was completely unaware of the effect it had on me. In reflection I was probably quite tipsy, verging on drunk.
I had a few more alcoholic experiences when living in my student flat, before I turned 18 my flat mates would buy me beer and I would pay them back. We would play “drinking games”, which for those of you uneducated in student life are mostly played by young males in order to get drunk quickly. Somewhat complicated rules involve cards and communal cups, the pentalty for breaking a rule is normally a “drink” defined as a finger’s width of a standard glass, approximations are made for different containers.
The reasons why I was drinking differed to that of my flat mates. They where drinking before going to night clubs. Why drink before a night club? Well the negative aspects of a night club – the press of sweaty bodies, sticky floors from spilled beverages, rooms smelling faintly of vomit. You can understand why you might need to be drunk to enjoy such an environment. The general aim (from a lads point of view) of a night out, is to get drunk, “pull” ie, get off with a drunken stranger, have a good time, and forget most of it.
The last part appears to be centred around the next morning. In dressing gowns and wrapped in duvets my flat mates would appear from their rooms, and congregate around the door way of the most hungover, or occasionally in the main room. They would reminisce about the night before, piecing together fractured memories and vague recollections. It did seem quite good fun, but having once woken with poor memory of the previous night I decided that it is more fun to observe hungover people then it is to be one.
“It certainly has it’s place in society, it allows (when used correctly) difficult situations to be resolved and tensions relieved.” Myself in reference to alcohol while dissucssing this blog
That’s an example of how alcohol is used is modern student society. The manor in which it is used is similar to the manor in which I see it should be viewed. The difference is quantity, more on that later.
In Exodus 32 there is an example of misuse of alcohol. Moses has just gone up the mountain in order to get a hold of the 10 commandments. In old Testament times these where like the golden rules in a primary school. 10 rules that you didn’t break under any circumstances. There where plenty other rules, but we’re talking about the difference between borrowing your friends xbox game and not giving it back, and punching him in the face.
One gets you in a lot of trouble and a huge amount of trouble, the other one results in a short term fall out with your friend until you sort things out.
So these golden rules where coming down the mountain, and while Moses was away the people got scared and confused… Moses had been gone awhile now, and maybe he wasn’t coming back.
So they made this idol a darn stupid plan to start with. They end up getting told off big time. As bad as that is, they then start feasting and drinking, cross referencing the word used for “drinking” implies beverages of an alcoholic natures.
We can presume they get drunk, because they then have a series of orgies. Which goes to show what excess alcohol can do.
There are a lots of examples of the negative aspects of alcohol in the bible, and there are countless more in our modern society.
We’ve heard about the bad, but alcohol isn’t all bad, after all Jesus drank wine right?
Well there are lots of mentions of Jesus and alcohol. Before he began his ministry he was at a wedding, big party. The host had run out of wine – which is a huge social no no. Having lots of food and wine for your guests showed how wealthy you are.
So when Jesus’ mum Mary, comes to him and says “The groom has run out of wine” We’re talking social suicide. Major embarrassment. Jesus says what do you want me to do about it. Mary tells him to fix it. Jesus says (basically) since you’re my mother and I love you, ok. So he fixes it, and turns water into wine.
Other examples are the last super, where Jesus and his disciples drank wine and ate bread, Christians remember this in “Communion” or in “Mass”
Personally though I get the impression that Jesus’ last meal with his pals wasn’t a ceremonial affair, but a get together, they where celebrating a festival… it was a party!
So, why does this have reference to us? Well, Jesus is held as living the perfect life. He lived life right up to every one of God’s standards, and didn’t make any mistakes. So when it comes to how we should behave in any situation we should take Jesus as a role model.
I think Jesus was very careful with alcohol, and that he was aware of the negatives of alcohol and the negatives that drinking alcohol.
I view alcohol as a social lubricant. Every reaction and motion in life has some kind of friction right? Some reactions are low friction – I’m thinking curling, ice-skating and water on a hotplate. Some reactions are high friction – breaks in cars, sand paper in manufacture and the bane of my childhood – friction burns. Falling over on carpet or lino or off my bike results in scrapes and cuts caused by friction.
Imagine if all those high friction environments had a bit of oil added? If you add oil to a brake pad then it doesn’t work. It squeezes the wheel arch or the disk, but doesn’t grip.
Alcohol does the same thing to humans, in a lot of ways it turns our brakes off. It’s a social lubricant. Enjoying relaxing with your friends, and somebody says something awkward, it happens. Sometimes the conversation grinds to an uncomfortable silence. With the correct application of alcoholic beverages, such a silence could well be rode over with a joke, some laughter and smiles all around.
Of course, alcohol isn’t required for this. In no way is that what I’m trying to say. I’m just saying that for some people alcohol makes life easier, they feel less awkward, less out of place.
As beautifully summed up by a very good friend “Alcohol is good, but it can be bad. You have to remember to treat it with respect while drinking it and respect yourself while you drink it.”
Simply put, but it gives you a lot to process. Alcohol can easily be abused, and it often is. The decision to drink or not is personal from about the age of 18. It is important to remember that alcohol affects your judgement, and by the time you notice your judgement is impaired, it must be by a fair bit.
So, think before you drink, and where ever possible, don’t be the family member/s who gets inappropriately drunk at low key family events – save that for the sit coms.
Thanks for reading!