Why does a “happy pill” work better than faith for a lot of people? What about alcohol?

What a strange title for a blog! First, let me say that I don’t take “happy pills” on a regular basis. I think we all know the danger of addiction to prescription drugs. By that I mean, any kind of anti-depressant or anxiety pill. I have taken a few at some times of extreme stress, and I don’t think that is any worse than using other drugs that we use. God put everything on earth for man to use and enjoy if he does so wisely and in moderation. But I hope I have the wisdom to realize when I am coming to rely on any drug.

What about alcohol? I understand the dangers of alcohol. The Bible warns us that “wine is a mocker”, and condemns drunkenness. But most of us admit that the Bible doesn’t condemn drinking alcohol in moderation. I think Jesus turned water into fermented alcoholic wine at the feast. How else could he man say that they had saved the best wine for last? Elders were to “not be given to much wine” (1 Timothy 3). There is simply no other way to interpret that than it means they could drink some wine but in moderation. Timothy seemed to stay away from alcohol for some unknown reason, but Paul told him to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Many studies have shown the value of a little red wine each day for the heart, so how could we argue if someone chose to drink a little wine each day for his health.

On the other hand, if this is a liberty issue, then I can also choose not to drink alcohol in any form. It might hurt my influence with the students I am trying to teach. It might. It might be that my family tends to have major problems with alcoholism and I am afraid that I could be predisposed to become addicted to alcohol. It might be that I chose carefully when and where to drink alcohol. I might choose to have a glass of wine at home with my wife, but refuse to drink with a bunch of people getting drunk at some party.

Thus, this article deals more with why I choose to take any kind of drug or not. The sad truth is that many times someone will drink or pop pills or smoke marijuana for the wrong reasons. They do so to drown out their worries, to relieve their stress, to mix with a certain social group, to deal with depression and fear, etc. If so, then those are not good reasons. That’s where our faith should be what we rely on, not drugs or alcohol. But the truth is, taking a pill or a drink is what we do in bad times. Read the Psalms as David fled from Saul for 10 years in the wilderness. A very difficult, stressful time for him, constantly on the edge of being killed by Saul., surrounded by Philistine enemies trying to mix with them, surrounded by those who would turn him in to Saul, trying to provide for 400 loyal men who are on the run with him, pretending to be mad so he would not be killed by the Philistines, dealing with guilt when he felt that he caused the death of 85 priests because Ahimelech had given him bread, etc. He would have spent 10 years without a permanent home, on the run like the old movie The Fugitive. Again, read the psalms and see how David finds the strength and peace of mind to make it through all that. For example, Psalm 63

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You [b]earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh [c]yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with [d]marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings [e]to You;
Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my [f]life to destroy it,
Will go into the [g]depths of the earth.
10 [h]They will be [i]delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a [j]prey for foxes.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.

I should mention that there are a lot of things, in addition to faith, that will help someone deal with trouble, pain, and stress. Exercise, yoga, diet, etc. So don’t forget to use those non-drug things. But above, turn it over to God and trust that He will do what’s best. If he doesn’t remove the problem, He will give you the strength to handle the problem. Remember how much he cares for you.

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