Conflict between thoughts and feelings on alcohol

I am seventeen years old and therefore at the age where there’s a lot of pressure to drink alcohol with family on special occasions or with friends at school proms etc. (though I don’t tend to go to parties as I’m quite introverted). I like wine and cider and, on an intellectual level, I see nothing wrong with drinking alcohol in moderation, where it’s legal and otherwise permitted. However, for some reason I have deep feelings that I shouldn’t drink any alcohol and feel very guilty when I do. I don’t think this comes from scrupulosity or anything like that - it’s not as if I doubt in my mind that it’s ok and then my conscience develops an aversion to it; it’s the other way around. I have resolved for the moment not to drink alcohol, and when in tempting situations I often succeed, but I also sometimes fail.

Why is there a conflict between my feelings and my intellect? Could God be calling me to a teetotal life? The only other option would be that I have a faulty conscience, and I suppose I can be prone to scrupulosity, but again, that’s when I’m actually doubting whether an action is intrinsically right or wrong, which I’m not in this case. And, for what it’s worth, I think I generally have a pretty well-developed conscience.

Thanks in advance for your advice and prayers,
Jonathan

I’ve had a few friends who have been alcoholics, gone to AA. One lost everything. One told me the best way would have been had he never started to drink, never touched the stuff! He said that would have been the very few things that would have actually worked with him!

I said I’m in no danger, since I don’t even like the taste. He assured me many an alcoholic doesn’t like the taste, but that never stopped them. He said some people figure out they have an addiction to alcohol only after it’s too late.

So, going back to my friend, you’re really not missing much. I, too, avoid alcohol. Well, I also have had to go to a nutritionist. When I found out how many calories were in a drink, I thought if I were going to consume all those calories to use them up on something like cake, instead!

If you don’t want to drink, you shouldn’t be forced to. If people won’t take “no” for an answer, they probably aren’t your friends, anyway, because a friend would understand.

If you are not happy drinking alcohol, then don’t. More harm than good seems to come of it, as well. I’ve known people who have been arrested because of it. It ruins peoples’ lives, entire families.

So no, if you would rather forego this for ANY reason, you really shouldn’t even have to explain yourself. We know alcohol IS a drug, legal or not. It’s left an unbelievable amount of harm on society, is considered a “gateway drug”.

A “gateway drug” is a theory that people generally begin with something smaller, milder, gradually work up to other drugs with time. Well, most people begin with alcohol…cigarettes…then if they move up…then go to marijuana…etc., in a progression. I don’t think as many people jump from not using anything, typically, to hard-core drugs. It’s a theory, and I think it has merit.

So, I’d encourage you to “stick to your guns”. If your heart is telling you NOT to drink alcohol, then don’t. In the Bible, we have a number of cases where mothers were warned not to drink alcohol for the babies they were carrying or let them drink alcohol. It was for people of a special calling. You’d be in good company, then! :wink:

I would advise a seventeen year old to stay away from alcohol. What is the legal age where you live? If you drink while underage, you are breaking the law. If you have been to parties where there is underage and illegal drinking, you have witnessed that many get drunk, some intentionally and some because they have no idea of how little alcohol it takes to impair judgment and inhibition. You see so much on the internet about how alcohol figures in automobile accidents or where kids pressured drinking die of alcohol poisoning. Just don’t do it, especially if you head and/or body is telling you not to. I can understand that you feel pressured by peers, but just tell them you don’t want to throw up in the back seat of their car or something. That should stop them from pressuring you. As for your family celebrating with alcohol, tell your mother you don’t like how you feel after drinking. I can’t imagine any mother whose son has said that drinking makes him feel ill, would allow anyone in the family to press him to have a drink under any circumstance.

There’s nothing immoral about drinking if you are able to do so without engaging in sinful behaviors and it’s legal for you to do so. There’s also nothing wrong with having a distaste for it, especially if you’ve been a witness to people who abuse it and make fools of themselves in public. I don’t drink more than one glass and that’s on a very rare occasion. If you don’t want to drink, then by all means, order a coke.

In the UK the legal age is 18 but if you are under 18 it is legal to drink alcohol in private, and if you are 16 you can have a beer, wine or cider with a meal in a restaurant if you are accompanied by an adult. At the prom in the summer and the recent winter ball we were allowed two alcoholic drinks with our parents permission (though in practice, some get hold of more and there’s always one or two who get drunk) and I trust that that’s within the law. I know there’s always illegally acquired alcohol and drunkenness at informal parties and I don’t go to those anyway.

Drinking doesn’t make me feel ill; as I said, I just feel guilty about doing it, even though I don’t think it’s wrong to drink in moderation. Especially if you like alcoholic drinks, there’s a lot of pressure at an event where everyone else is drinking, even if no-one directly suggests having a drink. I’m also worried as I’m staying with my grandparents over Christmas, and then some other relatives over New Year, and I’m fairly sure there will be direct offers. It’s also confusing for other people when I refuse a drink, as sometimes they know I’ve drunk before and enjoyed it (and not felt ill). I hope I have enough self-control that I would never get drunk, though I suppose it’s easier to get drunk than one would think.

The alcohol consumption laws in the U.K. are more liberal than here in the U.S. where the legal drinking age is 18 or in some states like mine, 21. I’m not aware of a state where the age is lower than 18. Parents aren’t allowed to purchase or share alcoholic drinks with a minor child in a restaurant, nor may they give permission for their minor child to drink at a party. Parents who allow underage drinking at their home would be liable to prosecution and might be sued. Since it isn’t illegal for you to drink under the law in the U.K., it comes down to a personal decision. I hope you will be able to withstand any pressure from others. God bless you.

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