“The first few months we dated, I never knew he binge drank. I would have never guessed it because, after all, he went to mass every Sunday. One time, he invited me to go out with his friends. He kissed me when he was drunk. I felt so dirty after. No girl grows up dreaming one of her first kisses would be in a dive bar with a wasted boyfriend.
I justified it, saying he only drank that much once or twice a month. But, his actions while under the influence were unchaste—flirting with other girls, grinding on the dance floor, and trying to go too far when kissing me. Also, I noticed binge drinking became as important as our relationship—date night Friday, binge drinking Saturday night, and church Sunday.
I stopped going out with his friends because I started binging myself. So, I would sometimes sit home alone on a Friday night, knowing my boyfriend was out binge drinking with his friends. I felt so abandoned. I felt so alone. I knew this wasn’t what love was supposed to be.”
This is a true story, retold with permission. She eventually got out of that relationship destroyed by binge drinking.
What is binge drinking? Binge drinking is defined as a man consuming five drinks or a woman consuming four drinks in a two hour period.1 This raises the blood alcohol level to .08 and is scientifically proven to physically and mentally impair every person. Regardless if someone says he/she is “in control” after that much to drink, science speaks for itself.
What’s the big deal with binge drinking?
It is unchaste. Binge drinking is easy to excuse away as something young people do. But, it is unchaste because it violates the virtue of temperance.3 Chastity moderates food, drink, and sex because they are the “greatest forms of pleasure” and how the human race is preserved. 4 “Abstinence and sobriety” are essential to living a chaste life—they regulate the nutritive appetite in food/drink and the procreative appetite in sex.4
It leads to hook-ups. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to casual sexual encounters—whether it is grinding, kissing, making out, or going all the way.5 Hook-ups most commonly occur while drunk because it lowers inhibitions and masks shame that would normally occur after hooking up.6
Like porn, it removes intimacy and love from sexuality. Hooking up, which most commonly occurs while drunk, reduces sexual actions to a purely mechanical and physical action, in the same way that porn does. Even if it’s “just a kiss,” hooking up removes the love and relationship element from sexuality.
It ruins your relationship with God. Galatians 5:21 compares binge drinking to sexual promiscuity when it says “drinking bouts, orgies… those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Living a chaste lifestyle is necessary to our relationship with God and staying on the narrow road to heaven.
It can’t be justified with excuses. “I only do it to spend time with my friends” is not a valid excuse. If almost every activity with friends involves binge drinking, the friendships are hollow.7 “I don’t do it all the time” is not a valid excuse because the very nature of binge drinking is that it isn’t done all the time —binging includes periods of abstaining.
It ruins relationships. Binge drinking affects relationships “as a drug, as cultural ritual, and psychologically.”7 Relationships involving binge drinking experience problems, including:
· flirting or cheating under the influence;
· abandoning his/her significant other to binge or expecting he/she to join or tolerate it;
· being too exhausted to spend time with his/her significant other the day after a night of binging;
· resenting his/her significant other when he/she wants to do something instead of binge;
· saying hurtful comments to his/her significant other under the influence;
· delaying commitment so he/she is “free” to binge whenever he/she wants.
Seek to live a chaste life—say no to binge drinking. While there is nothing wrong with alcohol, it must be used with temperance. Confess your binging habits in Confession. Pray to God for strength to turn away from it. It will lead to healthy and holy relationships.
1. Drinking Levels Defined (Drinking Levels Defined) http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
2. Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
3. Catechism 2290 “The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine;” “Knowingly to take too much drink to the point of being drunk, is a mortal sin (St. Augustine).
4. “Chastity” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03637d.htm
5. “Hooking-Up” Can Unhinge You”https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201307/hooking-can-unhinge-you
6. “In Hookups, Alcohol Is College Students’ Best Friend”https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/strictly-casual/201401/in-hookups-alcohol-is-college-students-best-friend
7. “Is Alcohol Spoiling Your Romance?” (Psych Central.com)http://psychcentral.com/lib/is-alcohol-spoiling-your-romance/0001792?all=1