Home > Unlikely Teachers of Spirituality > Unlikely Teachers of Spirituality: Beers

Unlikely Teachers of Spirituality: Beers

For a good chunk of my life, I’ve considered myself a relatively socially uninhibited person in the right circumstances. I doubt that I came across that way because I’m an introvert, have a dull personality, and have never been given to extended monologues. However, I’ve done a lot of things that many people would be scared to do because of social hesitations. For most of my early adult life (17-21), I was unaware of any normal social fears I had.

I started consuming alcohol at age 21. At first, I didn’t notice anything. After a few times hanging out with friends and having a couple of drinks I noticed a slight shift in my personality. I felt a lot more free to be playful and I had a stronger desire to talk about myself with others. I really liked me a little loosened up. I liked being more constantly playful in most circumstances. I liked the idea of being more deliberate about sharing things about me and my life with others. I liked being free of the fears I didn’t know I had.

I think my fear came from a pursuit of something I had been seeking since I was 15: respect. Before I followed Jesus in high school, I was pretty demanding of respect. When I was a freshman and seniors cut in the lunch line in front of me, I used to grab people’s backpacks and pull them behind me. I used to bump into people who expected me to move out of their way in the hallway, stare them down, and carry on. If someone made a joke at my expense, I would make a joke at theirs. I had an expectation of respect and I refused to be disrespected. This attitude carried over into my life when I started following Jesus.

I really did do a lot better job being generally kind to people when I started following Jesus, and in school I was a lot less concerned about others respecting me. However, I think this lack of concern for respect in school was because I found a new place where it was very easy to acquire respect for being good and becoming the man I wanted to be. Church community filled my felt need for respect in my life. I believe my social reluctances to be sillily playful and open about myself were me trying to make sure that my respectability was maintained among my brethren.

When I realized alcohol helped loosen me up and be more like the man I wanted to be, I started naturally becoming more like that man. God used alcohol, in conjunction with other life circumstances, to bring transformation into my life. I almost completely ceased caring about whether or not people respect me. It still is nice to be respected for who I am, but it no longer felt like an emotional need I was trying to fill by concealing aspects of me which seemed disrespectable. Having no felt need to be respected by others is now one of my favorite things about the new man I am putting on. And it all started because of a few drinks with friends.

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