Equal parts practicality and nervous energy caused us to drive directly home from our vacation in Big Bend National Park. We spent Thursday morning and afternoon, December 31 hiking, and then drove straight through, leaving the Park at about 5:00 P.M. and arriving in Liberty at about 6:00 AM Friday, January 1. While driving, we heard and saw repeated cautions that reinforce the traditional Christian view that alcohol is to be drunk sparingly, if at all.
Driving straight from there to here, my inner miser repeatedly rebelled against the thought of spending (miser...spending...get it?) another night in a motel. I also rebelled against unloading and reloading our car again, and against another night tossing in a bed other than our own. The nervous energy came from old habits and from fresh caffeine. Once our last hike was over, my "What's Next?" alarm rang and I began thinking of things I needed to do. My eyes remained wide open because West Texas towns are spaced exactly one Coke Zero apart.
While getting home safely was on my mind, something else dominated road signs and radio programs.
Annoyingly bright and blinking, huge portable signs met us in every town of any size from Marathon to Houston. It seems that the Texas Department of Transportation wanted us to know that,
BUZZED DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING,
DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER.
What is "Buzzed Driving?" Alcoholics Anonymous has long warned about the dangers of being "one drink drunk." TXDOT seems to agree. Buzzed driving is driving after drinking "just a little." Not yet acting like full-fledged drunks, buzzed drivers have had their reflexes and decision-making impaired with relatively little liquor. This same warning was repeated on San Antonio and Houston radio stations, reminding drivers throughout the night that law enforcement would be out in force to enforce this law.
My caffeine-laced eyes were constantly searching for something to read. This sign was present in every restaurant and in every highway-side convenience store.
HEALTH RISK WARNING SIGN
- Drinking any type of alcohol while pregnant can hurt your baby’s brain, heart, kidneys and other organs and can cause birth defects.
- The safest choice is not to drink at all when you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
The mission of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is to serve the people of Texas and protect the public health and safety. Their thankless job is to identify at-risk drinking behavior. Contradicting the false sophistication of the (im)moderation in all things approach to drinking, TABC warns that a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm.
New Year's Resolutions
New Year's radio programs are typically prerecorded and replayed. Other than sports channels that report fresh scores, late December 31st programs are usually stale. For hundreds of miles we heard the same types of stories about New Year's Resolutions over and over. What resolutions were in every top ten? Included with "Get out of Debt," "Loose Weight," and "Quit Smoking" was "Quit Drinking." In the popular mind, less is certainly more when it comes to alcohol.
In a previous series of articles on alcohol, the four views about drinking were presented. They are as follows:
|(1) Drink as much as you want.||(2) Drink as much as you want and call it "moderation."||(3) Approach alcohol with temperance and use alcohol sparingly, if at all.||(4) Avoid alcohol completely.|
This article does not consider biblical teaching, but only considers the best advice the world gives on the subject of alcohol. The cautions of New Year's Resolutions, TABC, and TXDOT are remarkable similar and all lead to the same conclusion. "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise" (Prov. 20:1).