Why I Don't Drink

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BY AJ CHURCH, a college senior 

i lie on my back staring at the darkened ceiling. The spaces around my closed bedroom door are glowing with light from the living room, and I smell cigarette smoke. Mom and Dad have been yelling at each other for almost an hour. It’s going to go on all night. I’m 8 years old, and I promise God that I will never, ever drink like Mom and Dad when I get older.

I remembered that promise one day when I was 20, begging a judge to release me from a weeklong stay in jail. OK, God, I’m done doing stupid stuff. Hey, at least I don’t drink and drive. I remembered that one, too, the one morning I didn’t remember driving home the night before. Wow, God, thanks for not letting me die, or go to jail again. I promise I will never drink again! That promise was my customary prayer on the nights I curled over the toilet, certain I was going to lose some vital organs.

I started drinking because I was bored and it seemed fun. But even when I drank in moderation, the environment and the drug’s effect blinded me from understanding the true scope and nature of the evil in my life. Thankfully, through many hard lessons and battles with Satan on so many levels, God healed me of alcoholism.

As a new Christian and freshman at an Adventist university, I was surprised that a few Christian students drank alcohol and were not ashamed of it. It was easy to befriend them because we had more in common than most of the other students. However, I distanced myself from them when I remembered the sorrow, lies, and broken promises that came with drinking. I also distanced myself from old friends--the only chemistry that kept our relationships alive through the years came from a bottle.

Today, Jesus has given me new, loyal friendships that I know will last as He teaches me what it is like to really love human beings, including myself.

Doors I never dreamed of walking through have been opened, such as working as a literature evangelist, developing a career, and graduating from college with a high GPA. God has blessed many of my decisions, putting some of life’s steering wheel back into my hands. Also, I now know what it feels like to have a clean body; alcohol has done its damage, but fortunately, I quit before I lost an organ.

When I see alcohol use, I see pain. Behind the joy and energy of a young person holding a bottle, standing free in the electric night air, or enjoying the wildest party of their life, I see sadness. I know how damaging, addicting, and blinding alcohol is. But since I have seen warfare and experienced awesome victory, I know what true happiness is for the first time in my life.

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