Media Comment: Is there a spiritual basis for “happy hours” without the alcohol?

According to Guardian columnist Mary Kenny “I once thought that life couldn’t be fully experienced without alcohol: but the truth is the opposite – life can be more fully experienced without alcohol.”   She shared her journey from earlier indulgence to her present abstinence in a recent column “The joys of sobriety.”

Sometimes I get asked why I don’t choose to drink alcohol, the assumption often being that as a Christian Scientist it must be a Church prohibition which prevents me from indulging.  It’s true that the teachings of Christian Science are really helpful in steering thought and action towards better lifestyle choices – and in providing the spiritual tools to follow through with implementing such choices.  But I belong to a Church that isn’t designed to do collective “prohibitions”.  Every individual member is “working out their own salvation” – as the Bible puts it – striving to progress spiritually and morally according to their best understanding, each step of the way.

As blues supremo BB King once put it, “If I attend church all day Sunday, And cabaret all day Monday, It ain’t nobody’s business what I do”.  To which I say “amen…er, with a proviso?”…!  Going to the cabaret “all day Monday” might become somebody’s business if it means not going to work and/or neglecting family responsibilities!

In disengaging from drinking myself, the tipping point was that imbibing ideas in the Bible and in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures helped me see things differently.  I learned that I didn’t need alcohol to have fun, to feel good about myself, to fit in, or even (occasionally) to break out in an uncontrollable fit of laughter about some trivial thing that just seemed kind of funny at the time.  I can do all these things – at home and at work, as well as when socialising – on the basis of the qualities of joy, humour, and happiness which a spiritual walk with God brings out.

Equally, the wisdom and integrity these teachings help bring to light have helped me to steer away from many bad decisions which would have had the capacity to hurt others unintentionally or to open myself up to being hurt.  (Mary Kenny gives the poignant example of having to be physically restrained by a friend once, when she was about to drive when badly “under the influence”.)

Mary Kenny’s basis for abstaining from alcohol might be different from that expressed here.  She doesn’t go into details about how she gave up drinking. But I share her conviction – and, I would say, experience – that it brings a fuller sense of life to loose oneself from the desire to indulge in that way.

I don’t stand in judgment of those who do use alcohol, except to wholeheartedly wish for the liberation of anyone addicted to it.  But I am grateful that Christian Science has offered me the spiritual resources by which to achieve the freedom of having all the fun while staying “stone-cold sober”.

Or – thinking of this delightful description by Jesus of the goodness of God, “what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” – maybe that should be “fresh-bread-warm sober”?!

Here’s a powerful example of a woman being fully freed from a deep dependency on alcohol by accepting a new model for her identity.

And here’s a powerful example of just how good BB King is at playing that guitar – more in the “cabaret all day Monday” style than the “church all day Sunday” style…! (You have to click through to YouTube to watch it, but it’s worth it.)


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Categories: Media

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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  1. Blogs » Blog Archive » Is there a spiritual basis for “happy hours” without the alcohol? | TMC Youth - October 28, 2010

    […] there a spiritual basis for “happy hours” without the alcohol? From Posted on October 6, 2010 by […]

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