Evils of Intemperance
Intemperance is a vice that ruins the body, the intellect, and the moral character. A large number of medical men entirely forbid the use of alcohol in health and in sickness; while those who consider it to be occasionally beneficial very strictly limit the quantity. But indeed we scarcely require the verdict of science to tell us the evil effects produced on the health by intemperance. We see those effects too often in the shaky hand and lack-lustre eye of those who indulge in habitual excess. Everyone knows instances in his own personal experience of disease brought on by drinking. Indisputable statistics show that alcohol shortens the lives of those who drink much; and insurance companies find that they can give policies on far better terms to total abstainers, than to those who are even moderate drinkers.
Nor are the evil effects of alcohol confined to the body. ‘Oh! That men should put an enemy into their mouths, to teal away their brains,’ Cassio exclaims in Othello. From a superficial point of view, wine would seem to do the reverse of stealing away the brains, for undoubtedly it often inspires the intellect with brilliant wit. But this good result is only temporary; and at a later stage of intoxication the drunkard, after passing through an intermediate stage of temporary exhilaration, becomes completely stupefied and ceases to act like a reasonable being. It is not to be expected that an indulgence that thus at each drinking bout conquers the reason, should not produce permanent bad effects on the mind. The drunkard’s brain becomes rapidly duller, his memory fails him, and in extreme cases he is led by his favourite vice into the lunatic asylum.
Nor does the general moral character remain unimpaired by the vicious indulgence that ruins the health and injures the intellect Intemperance besides being a vice itself, is the parent of other vices. Drunkards lose their self-respect, and do not shrink from degrading themselves by falsehood and dishonesty. They also lose the power of controlling their passions, and so; commit violent acts that they would never have done in their sober hours. A well-known historical instance of this is Alexander the; Greats murder of his friend Clitus in a drinking bout; and countless other examples may be added to it from the police reports in the daily papers’.
It is scarcely necessary to add that intemperance is a: great barrier to success in life. What impairs the power of body and mind must, of course prevent a man from doing any work-well. The drunken soldier or points man sleeps at his post, and brings destruction on those committed to his care. The drunken coachman drives his carriage into, the ditch. No one known to be afflicted with this vice can be safely intrusted with any responsible office; and thus it is that we find drunkards either employed in the meanest and worst paid work, or utterly unable to find anyone willing to give them employment. Such men, even though they may be honest loyal to their employers, are nevertheless; unreliable bring ruin on themselves and misery on their families.