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The Malady of Alcoholism

The high tempo of life, family conflicts and differences, solitude and other problems are often "restrained" by vodka, wine or an injection of a perfidious potion. Alcohol becomes a narcotic that relieves a person of irritation, anger, hurt. These circumstances provoke many people to engage in drinking. However, sooner or later problems arise, which grow into serious life-threatening calamities.

Abuse of alcohol has disastrous consequences for an individual's health. Most sensitive to alcohol is the central nervous system. Alcoholism leads at first to an impairment in the coordinated functioning of the cerebrum, and several years later—to irreversible changes in the psyche, to degradation. Internal organs suffer severely. Cirrhosis of the liver, gastritis, myocarditis, alcoholic psychosis and dementia, atrophy of the sex glands—all of this awaits the alcoholic. In the presence of alcoholism, all other illnesses are experienced considerably more severely, and their end result is not always favorable.

Psychologists have defined several traits that are characteristic of "alcoholic" personalities. Thus, some of them are easily wounded, poorly adapted to practical life, weak-willed; others are excessively self-assured, vain, react painfully to the slightest misfortune in life, insistently seek recognition. If a psychological trauma is superimposed upon these character traits, then the probability of a nervous breakdown and bouts of heavy drinking is very great.

Alcoholism is an illness. But it is primarily a spiritual illness. At the root of alcoholism and use of drugs lies spiritual desolation, dissatisfaction with life, loss of the meaning of existence. The holy Orthodox Church considers alcoholism to be a great sin. One can thus understand that it is impossible to help the sufferer solely through medical means (meaning classical medicine and not the occult practice which nowadays has attached itself to narcology, and which, in view of its grave danger and spiritual destruction, should be categorically avoided). Persuasion and medications are not omnipotent. In order to overcome the illness, one needs to repent sincerely before God in the sacrament of penitence, and earnestly pray to the Holy Mother of God and the saints.

Severe alcoholism can also be the result of the influence of evil spirits over a person. In coming down to earth our Saviour did not completely destroy the power of the devil, but only weakened his influence over people and gave us the means to repel demonic attacks. These soul-saving means are faith, pronouncement of the name of Christ the Saviour, prayer, fasting and, naturally, the holy sacraments of confession and communion. "Stand fast against the devil and he will run away from you,"—says Apostle James. By the way, while being in a state of alcoholic delirium, people see horrifying images (vivid visual hallucinations, as psychiatry terms these manifestations). Moreover, everyone sees the same thing—demons.

If in a drunkard's heart there is place for faith in Christ, he should be reminded that he is bound by the fetters of sin. He should be introduced to the beginnings of the Orthodox faith, given examples of miraculous healings which the Lord grants to repentant sinners. While speaking of all these things, the Orthodox physician should humbly appeal to the Lord for help in healing the sufferer.

If the sick person's relatives are religious people, they should earnestly pray for him both at home and in church, and make sure to have his domicile blessed. The deluded person should be persuaded to wear a cross, to read prayers, to drink holy water in the morning. Only through faith and patience, only through repentance and God's mercy can one truly be healed. There is no other way.

And remember: brainwashing and other similar influences on a person's soul and body are diabolical manifestations. Stay away from such "healings" and try to prevent others from applying to it. In the final analysis, the enemy of our salvation does not really care whether a person drinks or not (this partially explains the various instances of "recovery"). The important thing for him is: to whom does the person appeal for help—to God or to Satan?

And how do these brainwashed people suffer? Their sins remain unrepen-tant in their hearts. These sins only change their shape. This accounts for the frequent depressions, terrible irritation and anxiety that affect such people. Quite frequently they become the victims of severe somatic illnesses.

By God's mercy many people recover from the malady of alcoholism. There are known cases of miraculous cures. A certain person, being aware that he was on the brink of destruction, fervently appealed to the Queen of Heaven. He entreated Her from the bottom of his heart, and he received instantaneous deliverance from alcoholism. He then began to organize his life in a Christian manner, became a churchgoer. It was as if he were reborn.

Not far from Moscow, in the city of Serpukhovo, stands the Vysotsky monastery. One of its major treasures is the miraculous icon of the Mother of God "The Unquenchable Chalice." What a multitude of people have found inner peace here and have parted ways with the perfidious potion! Fervent prayers to the Lord and His Most-holy Mother do not remain unheeded.

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