Common Myths of Parental Estrangement

Today, two friends of mine shared a blog post from a woman dealing with parental estrangement; at least one of her children had ceased communicating with her. She complains in the blog post that her friends telling her to apologize is hurtful, because she’s done so, and her kid rejected it.

That, however, is not the full story, as you’ll see when I pick it apart.

… I was … battling my own self-flagellation where I blamed myself for being inadequate.  I examined every word every action under the microscope of hindsight seeking for the mistakes that I made. ([Y]es I made my list of things [for which] I needed to apologize … and wrote the letters as advised.)

Her initial response to her kid cutting her off is a pity party.  Is there a chance it went something like this, “I’m so sorry for anything I did to upset you! I tried my best as a parent, but we all make mistakes, and I just tried to do what was best for you! I love you! Please talk to me! We were so close; what changed? Why don’t you love me any more?”

This is not an effective analysis or response. It’s not a genuine apology. We’ll come back to the part about her writing a letter of things for which she needed to apologize in a moment, but first:

What is a genuine apology?

A genuine apology consists of an acknowledgement that a specific action, reaction, and/or pattern of behavior was wrong and hurt the person to whom the apology is directed. It does not include any justification or defense of the individual apologizing. It is given without conditions or expectations. A genuine apology indicates the offender has given thought to the offense(s) committed, recognized them as wrong, and thus will be less likely to repeat the offense(s) in the future.

She continues to say:

First of all[,] most parents that have been estranged do “do the apology thing” first and think about it later.  In the early stages of estrangement[,] most parents … will blanket apologize for everything and anything they did wrong in hopes of begging their way back into good standing.

A “blanket apology” is not a real apology. If you haven’t thought about your apology, it’s probably not a genuine apology. A genuine apology isn’t about the victim hearing the words, “I’m sorry,” it’s about the victim knowing the offender is remorseful and will work to not repeat the offense(s).

If the offenses you committed against your children were so heinous that they cut you off, begging won’t help you get back in their good graces. Begging pleads, “Please come back and let me keep abusing you! I don’t know what to do without my punching bag!” It whines, “I shouldn’t have to change my actions, because guilt tripping you is easy and worked in the past!”

She follows up with:

I confess; I too did several apologies.  All of them were met with silence!

but unfortunately, reaches for the following conclusion:

Declining an apology is about control.  As long as they control the situation they are powerful.  Rejecting an apology [maintains their] control.

So close to taking responsibility for her own actions, and yet so far.

Her response also begs a question: Since we’re talking about adult offspring, don’t they have a right to associate or disassociate with whomever they please? Isn’t being an adult about gaining control over your own life? Why shouldn’t they exercise control over the relationships in which they engage?

Then she talks “demands.”

Then there are those [that] reply to an apology … with a list of “demands”.  They … say, “I am in control, do as I demand or I withhold myself from interacting with you.” Any attempt to reconcile without acquiescing to the demands is turned down flat.  This is not an act of communication and compromise, it clearly is about control.

FLASHING NEON SIGN AHEAD!

What are the demands her children made of her? We’ll never know, because she didn’t share them. Often, the demands look like this:

  1. When you cried because I didn’t allow you to co-sign the loan for my car or my apartment, I felt manipulated. I needed to take responsibility for my own life as an adult living on my own, but you were still trying to assert control over me. Please recognize that being an independent adult does not mean I hate you. Please do not interfere with my decisions as an adult. You may voice disapproval if asked for your opinion, but you may not use your emotions to manipulate me.
  2. When you sent e-mails to someone that offered me a job, her boss, and many of her coworkers, then used information a third party shared with you to e-mail the company’s clients urging them to sever their contracts with the company, knowing that would hurt my earnings, you decided that you knew me better than I knew myself. You sabotaged a job that would have given me a higher earning potential. You used your social power to exert control over your adult daughter’s life. I asked you for your opinion, and instead of giving your honest opinion, you expected me to read your thoughts and when I didn’t, resorted to sabotage.
    You will never do that again or threaten to do that again, or I will immediately cease communication. Forever.
  3. When you refused me birth control to mitigate menstrual cramps that left me unable to leave my bed for 48 hours, because you decided I wanted to be promiscuous, you treated me as an extension of you instead of an autonomous individual with my own set of ideals and morals.
    You will not ever give or receive input on my healthcare decisions.
  4. When I moved out on my own, and you told many people in our shared professional network that I moved out because I didn’t want to do laundry, and that all you wanted from me was “a little help around the house” you damaged the character our professional network believed I had through deception. That is an abuse of your power.
  5. When Dad suggested cutting my pay in a position where he had the power to influence that, mentioning that I could always “move back in” with you guys to the Executive Director, he destroyed my faith in his willingness to protect me, and demonstrated that he would damage my professional future to return me to your control.
  6. When you told my horse trainer that my ex-boyfriend hated horses, because he was allergic, and she believed you; when Dad declared that obedience to his rules was more important than being respectful of my wishes, when you insisted that emotional intimacy with a long term romantic partner was unhealthy, when you cried that the “devil invaded your family” when your kids asked you for specific, consistent relationship rules, when you meddled in arguments with my significant others, when you told me that my ex had “subverted your authority” and disrespected my wishes by asking to go hiking, because you wanted to go to the zoo, and many other awful experiences, you taught me that you would never respect my romantic partners.
    If you ever denigrate my romantic partner or my friends (all of whom are people above reproach), if you are in my house, you will be asked to leave. If we are in a public place, I will leave.
  7. When you told me at 16 that I would need to pay for gas, insurance, and a car if I got my drivers’ license, and I opted not to because you also wouldn’t let me ride to the mall with you for work, then later, told friends that I was too afraid of driving to get my license, you proved to me that you cared more about keeping up appearances than honesty.
  8. When you prohibited my brothers and I from talking with Dad independently while he was deployed, so that you could continue lying about my brothers, you told me that you really only cared about yourself, and that you would turn your kids’ father against them if it meant you would continue to look good and get the lion’s share of his attention.

Do not reply to this letter immediately. I don’t want to hear from you unless you can demonstrate that you read all the way through this and have thought about why the actions listed were wrong. This is far from an exhaustive list of grievances, and apologizing for these will not immediately jump-start our relationship. You need to attend actual therapy, with a license psychologist, for at least six months, to discuss your codependency and maladaptive ideas about love.

Again, she reaches the wrong conclusion. This sort of a demand letter is not about control. It’s about protection. I love my parents, but I’ve erected boundaries for my own protection. Her kids have probably done the same, based on her own descriptions of her actions.

So close, and yet so far.

In conclusion:
Apologies ARE accepted, but only if they’re heartfelt.
Demand letters CAN be healthy, if the demands made are simply demands for standard respect, and for emotional abuse to cease.
Co-dependency is BAD and will do terrible things to your relationships.

Go fix it!

 

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Terrorism Doesn’t Care About Your Safe Space

Dear American Liberals,

LGBTQ+ are Americans as much as I am an American. A terrorist attack at a nightclub with a predominantly LGBTQ+ clientele is not an “LGBTQ+ tragedy,” it is an American tragedy.

I will not give Orlando victims any more “special attention” than I gave the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the victims of the Paris Bataclan attacks, the victims of the San Bernardino Massacre, or the victims of 9/11, because each of these attacks was a hate crime, having been perpetrated by Islamic extremists against anyone following an ideology less puritanical than their chosen interpretation.

Therefore, in the wake of a terror attack, I will do whatever I can to help and comfort victims, but their suffering is not “worse” because they’re not cisgender and straight. Would you tell a cisgender heterosexual suffering PTSD flashbacks that their trauma is less real, because they weren’t specifically targeted? What about victims of the Orlando attack that are cisgender and/or heterosexual allies?

The LGBTQ community is always united in struggle, so instances of direct violence and harm affect even those displaced from the situation. Moments of mass violence are always threatening and scary, but they especially hit home when directly impacting “safe spaces” for a community that is constantly on guard for discrimination, harassment and harm.

Let’s discuss this bit from Mashable:

  1. Why does “being united in struggle” mean that a terror attack affects you more than it affects me?
    After Nidal Hasan, motivated by the same ideology, opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood, we didn’t hear that “the military community is always united in struggle,” so the attack would affect even those outside of Fort Hood. In fact, the terror attack was first classified as “workplace violence,” in spite of mounds of contrary evidence.
  2. Why was the night club considered a “safe space?”
    Were non-allies kicked out for being less than supportive? And if so, isn’t that even less tolerant than say… a flower shop refusing to decorate a gay couple’s wedding? (Arlene’s Flowers provided flowers for the plaintiffs on many occasions over the years, and only balked at servicing the wedding.)
  3. As a character in a recent episode of South Park complained, “Reality’s here! He’s trying to crash the party!”
    Reality here: You can make your home a safe space, provided no one in your family ever leaves, and provided you live remotely enough to prevent overhearing traffic and neighbors. A night club will never be a “safe space.” Public spaces cannot prevent you from experiencing harm. LGBTQ+ are not special snowflakes.

If you want equal rights, and to be treated equally, stop telling me you require special treatment. The #pride flag shouldn’t be flying at half staff over the Space Needle; the American flag should be there. Americans should be gathering to support and defend each other, regardless of sexual orientation. Don’t tell me you’re more victimized than someone else. Don’t tell me I’m “erasing you from your tragedy.” Don’t want to be othered? Don’t expect to be treated as a separate class of terrorism victim. We are all Americans, and we are all the targets of terrorists because we value freedom and liberty over convert or die. Fifty Americans were killed today, and another 50+ were injured. Thousands of Americans have today felt the sting of Islamic terrorism as it personally affected them, their families, and their friends.

Regardless of screed, race, or sexual orientation, terrorism is a horrific scourge, and must be fought by all Americans, standing united.

Speak Up & Speak Out! Caucus this Saturday!

Washington State has two parts to our presidential selection process:

  1. We caucus. This year, 49% of Washington State’s Republican delegates are assigned to a candidate based on caucus results.

    This year, that happens on Saturday, February 20th. There are five locations spread across Kitsap County, and you should caucus at the location that includes your precinct. (Registered to vote, but not sure what precinct you’re in? Click Here.) Registration opens at all Kitsap County caucus locations at 9:00am, and caucus procedure begins promptly at 10:30am.

  2. We hold an open primary election. Open primary means that no one is bound by party preference– Democrats can vote in a Republican primary, and Republicans can vote in a Democratic primary (though we really wish they wouldn’t– Trump is a scourge to all). As in any other election, you may only vote once.

    This year, Washington State’s primary presidential election will be held on May 24th, and 51% of Washington State’s Republican delegates will be assigned based on the results of that election.

Kitsap County Caucus Locations:

  1. Woodward Middle School (Precincts 301-345)
    9100 NE Sportsman Club Road
    Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
  2. Baymont Inn & Suites (Precincts 001-099)
    5640 Kitsap Way
    Bremerton, WA 98110
  3. Olympic High School (Precincts 101-175)
    7070 Stampede Blvd.
    Bremerton, WA 98311
  4. North Kitsap High School (Precincts 401-464)
    1780 NE Hostmark St.
    Poulsbo, WA 98370
  5. Marcus Whitman Junior High (Precincts 200-297)
    1887 Madrona Dr. SE
    Port Orchard, WA 98366

Make your voice heard! Generally, Washington State doesn’t matter for much, but this year, we have a chance to DUMP DONALD TRUMP and right the GOP’s ship.

I’ll be caucusing for Marco Rubio this Saturday, and as he is the GOP’s only hope of regaining the White House, I hope you will, too!

To Anonymous

To the individual that sent me a sweet card and letter anonymously:

First and foremost: Thank you. You brightened my week, and it’s only Monday. I read your note and started sobbing at work. Thank goodness for understanding coworkers.

Secondly: This is not quite like Noah’s sons leaving Noah uncovered. I tried the blanket for a lot of years. If you keep reading my blog, you’ll discover that my family spent years being counseled through the church: Mom and I together, my entire family together, my dad separately, my brothers and I separately from my parents, and my parents separately from me and my siblings. They’ve had every opportunity to make amends, to admit their wrongs, and to turn away from their sin. They’re still welcome to do that, for as long as they live. In fact, I hopefully look forward to a day I can trust my parents again.

That having been said, I’m done covering up their sin. I’m tired of lying every time someone asks me how great it was to grow up having such awesome parents. I’m tired of letting people think I moved out because I was a rebellious teenager that didn’t want to contribute to the household.

As you found, I’m not really advertising this blog. I actually forgot that I had the If This, Then That recipe hooked up via my iPhone. As it says in my bio– this is a space for me to be me. I felt I was burdening my friends– my epiphanies and reflections about my childhood and early adulthood are frequently long-winded, and I needed to air my thoughts in some form. I’m tired of being ashamed of my background, and finally have enough distance on the situation to analyze it more thoroughly and with more maturity. Inspired by blogs I discovered through Homeschoolers Anonymous, I decided the time was right to begin sharing my experiences.

You see, I’ve discovered, as I slowly built up the courage to share the truth with people when asked about my parents, that most of them have wisdom to share, and no one thinks that I am “less” for having struggled at home. They don’t ask what my brother said to provoke my mom to cause her to hit him– they acknowledge that my brother was a kid, and it doesn’t matter what he said or did– we expect adults (and parents) to react as adults, not like another eight year old. There can be no excuse for her behavior, and it reflects poorly on her, not on her kids.

As a result of many conversations, I decided blogging would be my first step of courage. I’m not advertising it. I’m not sharing it on Facebook. I’m not telling anyone about it. I’m writing for growth. I’m writing to reflect. When I write out my experiences, I write them with an audience of skeptical adults in mind. I question my own thoughts and turn back through memories, inquiring of myself how I could have better handled the situation, and imagining myself in my parents’ shoes, evaluating how I might handle a similar issue with my daughter in the future. Writing it out where someone else can see it helps me to evaluate everything more objectively. Journaling was a hindrance, pulling me back to those emotions without allowing me to resolve them. but blogging has been freeing and enlightening.

You’re right; it hurts, and it’s hard to share. But there is strength in having seen God’s hand in my affairs. There is joy in company, knowing that others have escaped as I did, with my faith, though marbled as wrought under extreme pressure and hardship, intact. There is anticipation in the thought that maybe there exists another like me, and maybe my writing will help them.

I probably won’t stop blogging about my experiences, but I’ll always treasure your kind letter and card. Whomever you are, I love you.

P.S. I found a therapist. I went once over the summer. My hours were just cut at work, so I’m currently prioritizing other things with my pay check, but I do intend to return in the not too distant future.

 

 

Top 20 Takeaways: Harry Potter Books 1-4

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’ve begun reading through Harry Potter. It’s taking me a little longer than I’d hoped, but alas, adult responsibilities like work, cooking, and cleaning leave me with scant time to read.

That having been said, I’ve made it through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and am part of the way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

10 Things I’ve Learned:

  1. Dobby is free!
  2. I missed a letter from Hogwarts at 11. Also, Hogwarts is not exclusive to England! There’s a French Hogwarts, an Irish Hogwarts, a South American Hogwarts, etc…
  3. Platform 9 3/4.
  4. Diagon Alley.
  5. Alohomora!
  6. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is named by Harry Potter.
  7. Muggles.
  8. Quidditch sounds awesome.
  9. I am Hermione.
  10. Death Eaters.

10 Things I Still Don’t Know:

  1. Are the Malfoys actually evil?
  2. Which character marries Hermione?
  3. Why does Harry’s scar hurt?
  4. What does the Ministry of Magic do with the poor park ranger?
  5. Why can’t someone use a spell to fix Harry’s eyesight?
  6. If consuming unicorn blood can keep one alive, why does no one breed unicorns?
  7. How old is Dumbledore?
  8. Why is fortune-telling considered junk science in a world where visions and ghosts are real?
  9. Are there elections in the wizarding world? And if so, why hasn’t Lucius Malfoy been voted off the boards he’s on, since most wizards hate him for having sided with Voldemort?
  10. After Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, everyone knows Harry snuck away from Hogwarts. Why doesn’t Harry tell Mr. Weasley about Lucius Malfoy’s “collection”? That would be awesome comeuppance!

Journey to Independence: II

When I left off, my parents marital discord was well under way, and discipline was not being handled in a prudent manner.

To continue:

At this point, I was 15 and terrified.
When Dad did come home, I couldn’t talk to him any more. He’d fall asleep in his recliner, and when awake, was either too inebriated or too tired to hold a coherent conversation. He’d pick fights with me (golden child of the three kids) late at night over nothing, and when I argued, would ground me. The next morning, he’d pretend nothing had happened the night before, and the grounding would not be mentioned or enforced.

To this day, I don’t know if he honestly didn’t remember grounding me, or if he wanted to pretend his drunk/tired stupors didn’t happen, but Dad frequently claimed to not remember our arguments (or his subsequent groundings) in the morning.

Around this time, I decided I’d done everything I could do to help my family. I recognized that I was close to starting community college, and was seriously worried for my brothers’ safety. Because my parents had gone to our church for such a long time, and because they were so well known and respected there (my dad had been on the elder board for several years), I didn’t think any long-time pastors would believe me.

However, our youth pastor was relatively new, and my parents didn’t know him or his wife very well. I had his wife’s number, and I was pretty close to her. I pinned my hopes on them helping me.

I texted my youth pastor’s wife and set up a time to meet with her. I didn’t tell her what I wanted to talk about, but I asked that she tell my mom she frequently met with girls in the youth group (true) to make it seem like a normal meeting for the new pastor’s wife to get to know the girls in her small group. Because I didn’t have my driver’s license, I asked that Mom drive me to their house. She didn’t agree until after calling the youth pastor’s wife and holding a private conversation.

All told, the conversation lasted nearly an hour. I later discovered that Mom told Paige (the youth pastor’s wife) I was challenging Mom and Dad’s their courtship rules, and that she and Dad were trying to put the kibosh on my burgeoning relationship. Mom assumed I wanted to talk to Paige about rules for courtship, and wanted to make sure that Paige and Youth Pastor were on the same page as Mom and Dad, because I told them Youth Pastor had uttered the phrase “Biblical Dating” in youth group, and called it essentially the same thing as courtship.

Several days later, I met with Paige, and she looked over everything I’d given her (she’d asked me to read and annotate 1 Peter before coming, plus I had a bunch of pages of notes where I’d recorded details of specific incidents with my parents). She said that it sounded like I had some valid concerns regarding my parents, but then asked me what my “real reason” for coming over had been.

At first I was just confused. “My real reason? This is the reason I came.”
“Well, I was talking with your mom, and she seemed to think you wanted to talk about your boyfriend…?”
“Well…. I am sort of having issues with how my parents have instituted courtship, I guess. But…. it’s my first relationship, and they don’t have any experience either…. so…. I’m not convinced there’s anything necessarily wrong with what they’re doing. I just don’t know, and I was still planning to talk with them about that stuff.”
“Are you sure? Let’s talk about it for a while.”

We then engaged in a long conversation about my relationship, and she promised me that we (her husband, she, my parents, and I) could have a discussion about it together, and straighten everything out.

Rebuttal by Reason: Christians & Alcohol

Last week, a friend of mine shared the blog post, “50 Reasons Why I Don’t Drink” on Facebook. I read through it, expecting a well-reasoned argument, but was sorely disappointed.

The author caveats the post by referencing her past as an alcoholic, and I will caveat mine with the note that these are perfectly good reasons for an alcoholic (or recovering alcoholic) to stay far away from drinking.

However, she also says that:

I stopped drinking when I became a Christian 26 years ago. … I just knew it would be contradictory and self-defeating to my relationship with Christ. I had given my life to follow Jesus and nothing was going to hinder my walk. For me, it was a no-brainer.

I was so flabbergasted by the list that I decided to write counterpoints for drinking after each reason Pastor Morgan shares for not drinking.

1. I can’t be sober-minded if I’m not sober.

There’s a massive chasm between being stone-cold sober and being drunk. Even with my lack of experience, I can drink a 13 ounce glass of hard cider or a enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and provided I’m properly hydrated and not drinking on an empty stomach, inebriation is so slight as to be unnoticeable.

2. Alcohol has an assignment: destruction.

According to whom? Since when? In Biblical times, since potable water was scarce, alcohol was a more common drink than water. Was it always destructive then?  Why would Jesus drink it, or turn potable water into wine at a wedding, if it was always destructive?

3. Alcohol is a depressant. Anything that depresses should be avoided at all costs.

Alcohol is a mild depressant. If you’re already depressed or sad, it might not be a good idea to drink. If you’re not depressed, and not prone to sudden mood swings, drinking in moderation will not noticeably depress you.

4. I don’t want to make my brother or sister stumble in the name of exercising my “Christian liberties.” My choice to drink could lead to someone’s demise.

So don’t drink around ex-alcoholics or others that struggle with addiction. That’s easy enough. I don’t avoid pork because I might meet a Messianic Jew.

5. Alcohol skews my judgment.

When enjoyed in moderation, judgement and perception are not skewed any more than they might be after taking Tylenol for a headache. You don’t avoid Tylenol like the plague because it skews your judgement slightly.

*Does not include Tylenol3.

See a theme?

6. Alcohol leaves me worse, not better.

I repeat: Moderation is key. I drink socially. The only time I’ve felt worse after drinking is after my 21st birthday, when a guest at my party convinced me to participate in shots. That exceeded moderation, and was a terrible idea. Said decision was made not because I’d already had a lot to drink, but because I felt I needed to try it at least once before I could decide whether or not it was something I’d want to participate in later.

Generally, alcohol leaves me feeling the same as I felt prior to alcohol, except now I have a flavorful drink to accompany great conversation.

7. What I do in moderation, my children will do in excess.

This could literally apply to anything. Should we avoid taking prescribed drugs, because our kids will abuse them? Stop shopping for anything, because our kids will spend too much money?

Self control is a thing that everyone is capable of exercising. If your kids choose to abuse alcohol, the weight of that decision is on their shoulders.

8. Even the unsaved know I shouldn’t drink. Bible in one hand, beer in the other—any lost person could point this out as a confusing contradiction.

I don’t know any non-Christians that think I shouldn’t drink. Contrarily, I know many non-Christians who laugh at Christians that claim drinking is verboten by the Bible.

9. Alcohol doesn’t bring others closer to the Lord when they see me drinking, but further away.

This greatly depends. With whom are you drinking? What are you talking about when drinking? I’ve had awesome conversations (a few with a rabbi!) over alcohol.

10. Alcohol doesn’t bring me closer to the Lord when I drink, but further away.

See previous. That is all.

11. I want to be fully awake and ready for the return of Christ, not drowsy, sluggish and fuzzy.

See numbers five and six. Everyone is capable of moderation!

12. Show me a family for whom alcohol has made a positive difference in their lives. You won’t be able to.

That sounds like a challenge. Enter my SO’s family. His brother is a wine connoisseur, and drinks for taste. For my boyfriend’s birthday, his brother and his mom took him to a distillery. They had a blast. Of course, alcohol didn’t make the difference, their attitudes toward each other and moderation did.

13. I have never heard anyone say, “Wow, that gin and tonic made me feel so Christlike!”

I’ve never heard anyone say “Wow, that *insert any food or drink item here* made me feel so Christlike!” Should I stop eating everything?

14. I want to avoid all appearances of evil.

Alcohol only causes the appearance of evil if you’re drinking to excess or doing evil things while drinking.

15. Alcohol makes it much harder for me to practice the fruit of self-control.

See five, six, and 11.

16. Alcohol causes me to lose my filter.

See five, six, 11, and 15. One glass of champagne, red wine, white wine, cider, etc… doesn’t cause me to lose even a semblance of my filter.

17. Alcohol is a legal mind-altering drug.

So are Tylenol, Claritin, and cough syrup. So is caffeine! Should I stop drinking soda, and eating chocolate?

18. Alcohol is addictive.

See 17b. CAFFEINE.

19. Alcohol is a numbing agent for pain and sorrow only Jesus can heal.

People use different substances for different purposes. If you’re not drinking to numb/ease pain and sorrow, there’s nothing wrong with drinking.

Some people ease pain and sorrow by watching chick flicks and crying into ice cream. This statement equally applies to that scenario. So why isolate alcohol?

20. Many regrets are associated with alcohol. (I can give you a whole bunch!)

See five, six, 11, 15, and 16. If you have regrets, you’re drinking too much.

21. No one has ever said, “If only I had taken a drink, things wouldn’t have gotten out of control.”

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, and 20. I can rephrase your sentence slightly to make it something many have said: “If I had taken only a drinkthings wouldn’t have gotten out of control.”

22. Alcohol causes me to act in ways I normally wouldn’t.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20, and 21. Tired of seeing the same thing repeated yet? EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.

23. Alcohol kills brain cells.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, and 20 – 22. MODERATION IS KEY.

24. Alcohol is a counterfeit and provides a false peace.

See 19.

25. The Bible says that no drunkards will enter the kingdom of God. Being drunk starts with one drink. I don’t want to see how far outside the lines I can color when eternity is at stake.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, and 20-23. Drunkard in this context refers to the perpetually drunk– a.k.a. alcoholics. You will never be a drunkard if you always drink in moderation.

26. Alcohol is a waster—money, gifts and talents, destinies and so on.

People choose to prioritize their time, gifts, and talents differently.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What is a waste to you may not be a waste to others.

27. Alcohol leads to really bad behavior. It is a factor in 50 percent of violent crimes.

I have no idea whether this is even an accurate statistic. Let’s say it is! It’s about as meaningless as “Speeding leads to really bad behavior. It is a factor in 50% of traffic fatalities.”

Correlation does not equal causation.

28. Alcohol distracts and derails you from living the victorious life for which Christ died.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, and 25. MODERATION IS KEY.

29. Wisdom is the principle thing that I need to pursue at all cost; alcohol makes me stupid.

A. *principal, any cost
B.  See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, 25, and 28. If you’re pursuing alcohol at any cost, you’re not drinking in moderation. Inebriation will not make you stupid if you drink in moderation.

30. Alcohol has ruined many, many marriages.

See 27. I’m certain that research would show you an addiction to alcohol ruins marriages. This is also true of addictions to other things, from prescription drugs to golfing & shopping. Addiction should be avoided; moderation is key.

31. The only influence I should be “under” is God’s.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, 25, 28, and 30. You will not be under the influence of anything at a harmful level by drinking in moderation. Should we avoid getting married lest we fall under the influence of our spouse?

32. The Bible tells me to be alert; alcohol delays my reaction time.

Didn’t you already list this complaint? See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, 25, 28, and 30-31. Drinking with proper moderation will not noticeably affect your reaction time.

33. If I don’t start drinking, I’ll never have to stop.

See seven. Should we not ever start shopping, so we’ll never have to stop, on the off chance we develop an addiction to spending or a habit of spending more than we should?

34. Alcohol severely tarnishes my testimony.

See eight-10, 13 and 14. Drinking in moderation will not tarnish your testimony except to people for whom drinking is a problem. Do not imbibe around them, and your testimony will remain unblemished.

35. Don’t want your teenagers to drink? Yep, same reasons apply to you.

See seven. Also, I’ll teach my kids to obey the law, regardless of whether they feel it is just or logical.

36. God is holy; alcohol is not.

See seven. If one is going to use this, recognize that it could be applied to anything.
God is holy; cars are not. Don’t drive cars.
God is holy; pork is not. Don’t eat pork!

37. Alcohol and prayer don’t mix.

Why not? See seven and 36.
Prayer mixes with everything. Prayer even mixes with addiction! Those caught up in active sin need prayer the most!

For the non-addict, prayer and coffee are frequently companions; why not prayer and alcohol? In Biblical times, alcohol was more common than water, because their water supply was frequently not potable. Why is this a problem for you?

38. Alcohol and Bible study don’t mix.

See seven, 36, and 37.
Good grief, there was wine and drinking aplenty at Passover celebrations, and Jesus himself blessed wine and passed it around to his disciples. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding! Why don’t alcohol and Bible study mix?

39. Alcohol lowers my resolve to resist temptation.

What lowers your resolve to resist temptation might not challenge others. Drinking in moderation does not change my resolve to resist temptation, in whatever form that might take.

40. Alcohol = Brokenness (broken lives, health, dreams and so on)

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, 25, 28, and 30-32. Imbibing in moderation should not cause brokenness. If consumption causes brokenness, you haven’t moderated enough.

41. When the world sees us drinking, it sends the message that Jesus isn’t enough.

According to whom? Does drinking sweet tea cause the same effect?

42. Moderate drinking? How about moderate pornography or moderate heroin use or moderate lying or moderate adultery?

Pornography is sexual immorality, which is a sin in its own right. Heroin use is against the law. Lying is a sin. Adultery is a sin.

Drinking is something Jesus did. Unless Jesus sinned, there is an amount of alcohol which can be consumed permissibly, well within the bounds of things that are right.

43. Christians are called to live a life of total surrender and separation from the world.

See seven and 36. Do we need to all be Amish and live off the grid? I think not!

44. Alcohol makes me forget. It can make me forget that I am married, that I am saved and so on.

See five, six, 11, 15, 16, 20-23, 25, 28, 30-32, and 40. Consuming alcohol in moderation does not cause forgetfulness. 

45. “I don’t get drunk. I only have one or two drinks.” If they didn’t affect you, you would drink soda.

The question is not whether indulging in alcohol affects you, but whether the volume and type negatively affects you. If there is no negative affect (which there won’t be, when consumed in moderation), feel free to enjoy.

46. I should never look to the glass or bottle for joy, which can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alcohol should definitely not take the place of joy found in Christ, but God doesn’t expect us to stop finding joy in other things. Why did Jesus change water into wine at a wedding, if not for people to find joy in celebrating with it?

47. Alcohol fills my mind with impure thoughts.

See 39. Things tempt some people more voraciously than other people. I am nearly impervious to peer pressure. I was encouraged to drink <21 by more people than I can count, at more parties than I can count, but never did. I have peers that struggle to obey the law with even one friend encouraging them to drink. You cannot project your temptations on other people.

48. If it could hinder my faith walk or love walk or dishonor the lordship of Jesus Christ, I need to forsake it.

See seven, 36, and 43. This can be applied to nearly anything. If it hinders your faith, and causes you to dishonor God, then you should avoid it. Other people may not have similar experiences, and should thus not be expected to avoid the same things as you.

49. Alcohol doesn’t help me run the race that Jesus has marked before me to finish with more accuracy. It does the polar opposite.

See seven, 36, 43, and 48. Your specific struggle cannot be projected on everyone else.

50. For any argument that tries to justify Christian drinking, there are at least 50 other reasons not to. The writing is on the wall. It’s not God’s best for Christians to drink.

This is flawed reasoning. “Because my previous assertions [50 reasons to avoid alcohol] are true, my previous assertion [not God’s best for Christians to drink] is true.”