Monday, November 14, 2011

A Letter to Albert Alco . . .

“Dear Albert,
            My dad has been drinking a lot lately. Until the last two months, he only drank a little, and usually none at all. However, ever since we moved to China for his new job, he’s been invited out to drink a lot. Sometimes, he comes home barely able to walk, and wakes up with a hangover the next morning. He says that he’ll look rude if he refused, as it is rude to them to refuse the drink without a good reason. I’m worried for my dad’s health. Do you have any advice?”

Dear Reader,
            I understand that alcohol is a major health issue in the modern age. It is now attributed to various medical conditions occurring in nearly all of the body’s vital organs. It can cause severe damage to your liver, which processes all nutrition the body requires except vitamins and water. The liver is also in charge of glucose conversion and storage. In serious cases, your liver may completely cease to function due to several alcohol-induced conditions. As such, alcohol can cause serious damage to several different parts of your body.
            High levels of alcohol consumption can also damage the kidneys. They cause fat deposits to accumulate in the kidneys. This slowly causes the kidneys’ functions to degrade. They begin to filter out less of the toxins in the blood, while accidentally filtering out more actual nutrients. This can cause great damage to your body’s nutritional balance as well, and may result in increased risk of food poisoning and other such symptoms.
Believe it or not, alcohol can actually damage your bones. High levels of alcohol in your blood can interfere with bone formation. This causes a severe decrease in bone mass and density, which may lead to the skeletal structure to weaken and become brittle, easily fracturing or breaking.
The most affected organ of all, however, is the brain. Alcohol causes certain chemical reactions in the blood stream that can cause the blood to thicken, triggering an increase of blood pressure, and potentially cause the thin blood vessels in the brain to break, exposing the nerve cells in the brain to the blood, causing a stroke. Alcohol itself also causes some brain cells to die with each consumption, so even after you’re no longer drunk, your mind will never function at full capacity again if the drinking continues.
            However, alcohol-related issues often only become truly serious after an extended period of excessive drinking. If your dad refrains from drinking too much too often, he should generally be safe. Paul and many other biblical writers state that excessive drinking will only lead to failure in life. However, Paul once said in 1 Timothy 5 that small doses of wine can actually have healing properties. Modern alcohol may have far more devastating effects, but this shows that alcohol is mostly safe in small dosages. If your father still has issues with the social connotations of refusing the drink, he can try to claim medical complications if he truly has to. I hope I’ve provided you with helpful insight in this issue.
Albert Alco

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