Friday, September 11, 2009

Alcohol, Drugs and Happiness

I am sure that quite a few people have been impacted by alcohol or drug use in their own life or with someone close to them. Nineteen percent of alcoholics are married. One out of thirteen deaths in the U.S. are alcohol related. Since many alcoholics and drug users resort to drinking or doing drugs to escape from the real world or to elevate their mood, this blog will look at the summit and source of real happiness.

Alcohol/Drug Use

Simply stated: drugs and alcohol, if abused, ruin lives and can destroy marriages. Most people who use drugs or abuse alcohol have had trauma in their past and are wounded spirits. They are depressed and are seeking something else to fill void.

As Father John Corapi brilliantly described in his talk on Humility, if we are wounded physically, lets say we get shot with a bullet in our arm, we bleed. But eventually the wound heals up. Yes, sometimes an infection can set in. We have antibiotics for that.

But when our spirit is wounded, Satan is an opportunist and loves to enter these wounds and inflict more damage.

What is our antibiotic spiritually? Jesus Christ.

Instead of using alcohol to fill the void, fill yourself with the third person of the Blessed Trinity--The Holy Spirit.

  • Ephesians 5:18: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Since most people who use or abuse alcohol or marijuana suffer from depression, how much sense does it make to put something into your body that is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant? That is the equivalent of throwing gasoline onto a fire.

Alcohol doesn't make you a rational thinker, more peaceful or wise.

  • Proverbs 20:1: Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

And being around those who have had problems with alcohol, do not do anything that could cause them to stumble.

  • Romans 14:21: It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.


  • "Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible." -- Saint Augustine

Happiness in today's fallen world can be traced to human psychology and the desire to have everything we want in life now--I called it our Drive-Thru Happiness mentality. There have been studies on humans (and lab mice too) that show we tend to opt for immediate gratification without regard to future consequences. That is, we place more emphasis on current happiness than what is really best for us in the long run.

Blend this with all the wounds that our society receives in early life and what are the outcomes? Drug and alcohol problems, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, materialism, high divorce rates, spending problems, etc.

This desire for instant happiness is an example of emotional immaturity of lost souls and relates to what Dr. Jerome Murray calls stimulation hunger:

Stimulation Hunger- This includes demanding immediate attention or gratification and being unable to wait for anything. Stimulation hungry people are incapable of deferred gratification, which means to put off present desires in order to gain a future reward. Stimulation hungry people are superficial and live thoughtlessly and impulsively. Their personal loyalty lasts only as long as the usefulness of the relationship. They have superficial values and are too concerned with trivia (their appearance, etc.). Their social and financial lives are chaotic.

It is important to remember that patience and self-control are fruits of the spirit that identifies us as Christians without wearing a crucifix around our neck.

  • Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Ultimate Happy Meal

If you feel empty inside, how about the ultimate Happy Meal? His name is Jesus Christ.

  • John 6:35: Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

  • John 6:53: Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

And don't overrate happiness of earthly things or think the purpose of marriage is to bring happiness. Happiness comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--through His Love, His Forgiveness and the promise of heaven and eternal life. The purpose of marriage is to make us more Holy. The purpose of hardships in our life is to test us and draw us closer to Christ and to make us stronger Christians.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:10: That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

French philosopher Joseph Joubert once said: "Happy is the man who can do one thing: in doing it, he fulfills his destiny."

True, but let me expand on that:

Happiest is the man who lives a life for Christ. His destiny is the greatest reward: heaven and eternal life.

  • Matthew 13:44: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

Get high on the Holy Spirit and eternal life, not on drugs or alcohol.

And always remember:

"The only real failure in life is the failure to get to heaven at the end of it." -- Father John Corapi

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox


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