Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. It acts like a sedative or tranquilizer, slowing your motor coordination and reaction time. It also harms judgment, memory, reasoning, and self control. Even though alcohol is a sedative, it disturbs sleep as its effects wear off, and is a major cause of insomnia.
Processing alcohol. The size of your body, whether or not you have eaten recently, and the rate at which you drink all affect how your body processes alcohol. A large person has more blood circulating in his or her body than a smaller person, so alcohol concentration in larger people rises more slowly than in a smaller person, even if they drink identical amounts of alcohol.
Food slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream. It is ideal to have food in your stomach when you drink, or to drink only during meals. Drinking slowly is another way to reduce the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by your body. Having several nonalcoholic drinks between drinks of alcohol can also slow the effects of alcohol on your system.
Effect on women. Drink for drink, women accumulate more alcohol in their bloodstreams than men do. This is because women’s bodies process alcohol differently than men’s bodies do. Women have lower levels of the stomach enzyme that neutralizes alcohol before it moves into the bloodstream.
Women tend to have a higher proportion of body fat, which does not absorb alcohol; this increases alcohol levels in the blood. Women also tend to weigh less than men, so drink for drink, there is more alcohol in a woman’s bloodstream.
Driving. There is no safe way to combine drinking and driving. As little as one drink can affect your ability to drive. To avoid driving after consuming alcohol, it’s helpful to designate a nondrinking driver, or to use public transportation. No one should ever ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
Pregnancy. There is no question that drinking a lot of alcohol during pregnancy can harm an unborn baby. It can lead to a group of problems collectively known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Symptoms include:
- behavior and attention problems
- heart defects
- changes in the shape of the face
- poor growth before and after birth
- poor muscle tone and problems with movement and balance
- problems with thinking and speech
- learning problems
But what about having a drink now and then? According to the experts, there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy. Women who are trying to get pregnant or who already are pregnant should not drink.
Teen drinking. Each year, more than 4 million teens in the United States have trouble at school, with their parents, and sometimes with the law because of the effects of drinking alcohol. Drinking harms concentration, learning, and performance at school and at home.
It also has a dramatic impact on personality and can bring on irritability, hostility, and aggression. A young person who drinks alcohol is also more likely to experiment with other drugs, and to run the risk of becoming addicted to them.
Teens who drink are also more likely to die by falling or drowning, and are more likely to drink and drive. Teach your children never to get into a car driven by a person who has been drinking; assure them that you will pick them up no matter what the hour.
Parents should also discuss with their teens the dangers of binge drinking— consuming more than five drinks in a row. This is a serious problem among the 21 million college students in the United States, and has led to deaths from alcohol overdose.
Young men and women in this age group are also at risk of drinking-related injury, property damage, date rape, and unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Psalm 1:1-6 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; …
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Luke 6:43-49 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:
Matthew 5:3-10 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. …
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
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