Alcohol is one of the oldest and most commonly consumed recreational drinks in the world. From time immemorial, mankind has consumed alcohol for a number of reasons implying that alcohol is beneficial to mankind. But what is alcohol? It is a type of chemical called ethanol which is a by-product of fermented grains, fruits and vegetables. And yet alcohol is classified among psychoactive substances; a psychoactive substance is any substance or drug which when consumed affects or changes the way our brain functions and subsequently our thoughts, feelings and behavior.
Our first encounter with alcohol is found in the bible; Right from the beginning of creation we read about the story of Noah, a man who was found righteous before God and was used by God to perpetuate humankind after its destruction through floods due to its sinful nature in the Old Testament. Once the flood subsided and things went back to normal, Noah planted a vineyard from which he brewed alcohol, got too drunk and sinned ,his youngest son, Ham saw his father’s nakedness (this was and is an abomination),and Noah cursed him.(Genesis9 verse 20) .
The story of Lot and his two daughters is another interesting bit about alcohol and its impacts, (Genesis 19, verses 30-37), after God had destroyed their homeland; Sodom and Gomorrah, due to immorality this time gayism. Only Lot was saved with his two daughters. In order to preserve their families, the two daughters conspired and made their father dead drunk with wine and had sex with him. Whether this was right or wrong is debatable. Fast foot forward, in the new testmament, we learn that the very first miracle or sign which Jesus performed during his ministry was when he turned water into wine during a wedding cerebration at Cana of Galilee. This reflects Jesus as a source of our joy. Even up to the present wine is part and parcel of the Eucharist celebrations in most of our churches.
Coming closer home in our African set –up, alcohol had and still has a very special place during social occasions such as marriage cerebrations and negotiations. Alcohol is considered a holy substance used by the elders to bless their children and solemnize relationships either among the families. It is interesting to note that in our traditional environment, alcohol was taken in social set-ups and never in privacy. It was socializing agent per se. from the above history, alcohol does seem to have a number of benefits to mankind;
- You can easily rest since it relaxes your mind and body
- Helps people socialize easily since it lows social inhibitions.
- During marriage negotiations it is used as a sign of mutual agreement between the two families of the bride and the bridegroom, sealing the marriage covenant and an indication of blessings and acceptance.
- In our churches,during Eucharist celebrations, it symbolizes the holy blood of our lord Jesus which was shed for our sins
- Nutrition wise, consuming some alcohol is good for assisting in smooth digestion after meals and even relaxing the heart muscles.
If alcohol has all these benefits why then are we facing a crisis alcohol addiction in Kenya especially among the youth? What has gone wrong with this health drink whose use spans hundreds of year’s right from our creation? Read our next edition to find out much more about alcohol.