top of page

The Liquid Deceiver

Picture it... a cold winter's night and I was just about to jump into a lovely hot bath when the phone rang. It was the supervisor of the Samaritan branch to which I was attached asking me to visit a man who had just called from Glenrothes in a desperate state.

When I arrived at the address I'd been given the house seemed to be in complete darkness. I banged on the door and it was answered by Archie. By the light of a tiny candle (his electricity had been cut off) I could just make out a truly miserable scene.

In his semi-drunken state he told me the most heart-breaking tale of woe I had ever heard in my 22 years. Throughout his life, due to his deep-seated addiction to alcohol, he'd lost absolutely everything... and I mean everything! He'd lost his wife and children, every job he'd ever had, all contact with his extended family, his friends and almost all his possessions (sold to buy drink). He was bereft of all sense of dignity and self-respect and was now faced with losing his tenancy. Tears rolling down his cheeks he felt he had nothing left to lose, but his life.

Thankfully I managed to deter him from suicide, got a stay of execution on his impending eviction and agreement to have him 'dried out' in a Fife psychiatric hospital, where I later visited him. I couldn't believe the difference. Completely sober and thoroughly cleaned up he looked, and claimed to feel, 30 years younger. And sadly in my youthful naivety and unrealistic optimism I believed all his promised good intentions about future sobriety etc. But it was probably no surprise when, several weeks following his discharge, he called the Samaritan branch office in the very same state as before. And the last I heard of him was that he'd headed back to the west of Scotland from whence he'd originally come.


As I later reflected upon all of this I realised it to have been a steep learning curve for me, and I remembered the old Robert Fuller quote...

'Bacchus hath drowned more men than Neptune.'

...knowing it to be true in Archie's case. He was a man who had been 'drowned' by the god of wine rather than the god of the sea. This experience was also a stark warning to me as I recognised in myself something of an addictive personality. From that day on I decided to deny alcohol a foothold in my own life.

As I was yet to have become a follower of Jesus I was unable to tell Archie of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and even then the Samaritans, as an organisation, frowned upon such blatant evangelising. But now, as a believer, I don't regret my decision, especially when I heard a Christian convert and recovering alcoholic say one day...

'I don't know about Jesus changing water into wine, but for me He's changed

wine into furniture!'


Of course no-where in the Scriptures are we forbidden to drink alcohol. After all, Jesus did change water into wine. (Though this variety was far less potent than what we have today and was also actually safer than their public water supply!)

Scripture makes clear that it's drunkenness which God condemns, no doubt because we must never let anything or anyone master us, other than Christ Jesus the Lord.

So do please be very careful. Don't be deceived. You may well be sure you're in control of your drinking, as Archie had been for years,... but it may be steadily controlling you!

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Colin Rogerson
Colin Rogerson
Feb 18, 2022

A very salutary message to all, Barry. I often wish my dad had survived a bit longer, so that I could have got to know him better in my mid-to-late 20s. Sadly, a life of abusing his body through smoking, drinking and an unhealthy diet carried him off when I was only 23. 😥

Barry new pic.jpg
Barry's Blog Logo.png

Hello, welcome to my blog site.

I hope you will find this inspiring, encouraging and challenging.

Reflections of a Jesus follower

bottom of page