Lifestyle Changes in College:
Drinking: Drinking was strictly prohibited growing up. My mother used to tell me of her many family alcoholics. I later investigated this and found that only one family member was actually an alcoholic. But the fact remained, as a child alcohol was absolutely wrong. I had my first drinks (confession alert!) on the flight home from my first missions trip at the age of 16. The beer tasted like urine so I mixed it with coke but I liked the wine. After two drinks I thought I might be drunk and at an entire pack of gum to hide it on my breath. Quite a funny story looking back.
However, in college when I began researching the idea of drinking, I could find little Biblical justification for the stance that alcohol was wrong. My final conclusion was this: in no way does the Bible ever say the drinking is a sin. However, drunkenness is unwise (and debatably sinful).
I remember once challenging my parents with my brother over their stance on drinking. I confronted the fact that there was no clear Biblical reason to condemn drinking at all. Rather than using Scripture to support a view, the response I got was “God placed you in a family with the values that they had because He wanted you to adopt those values for your life”. I was convinced and haven’t touched alcohol since (ok maybe a little).
But it begs the questions: if my family values had included incest and abuse should I accept those too? If I was born Amish, does that mean God wants me to ride a buggy for the rest of my life? This type of fallacious thinking was prevalent in a lot of the rules and regulations of my childhood. And it wasn’t just my family, it was the whole circle of Christian families that I grew up with. A vast array of extra-Biblical Victorian era moral suppression that had little Biblical support or logical reasoning behind it.
I never became drunk until 21. However, even then it was rare and I quickly realized that while not impervious to addiction (no one is), I did not have an addictive personality. I also realized that being drunk is such a fine arbitrary line, that it seemed most logical that intent behind not getting drunk was to not lose control of your morals because of intoxication.
Growing up I was taught that there were demonic strongholds in families such as alcoholism that could pass from one generation to the next. This was later modified by the more scientific approach that I needed to be extra careful because alcoholism does run in families. I do not disagree with this, but am blessed to be able to control my drinking despite never being taught moderation as a kid (either abstain or you’ll be an alcoholic).