Effects of alcoholism on Christian churches

Effects of alcoholism on Christian churches
Effects of alcoholism on Christian churches




The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of alcoholism on Christian churches using Methodist Church Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State as a case study.   This study was conducted because inspite of the well-known negative effects of alcoholism in society, people still continue to abuse alcohol. This has led to alcohol-related injuries, health conditions and deaths, threats to the Christian churches, family unit, and both society and the government are reacting. Review of relevant literature indicated that alcohol abuse has negative effects on the individual and his health, on the Christian churches, family unit and on society at large. To give a better understanding of alcohol abuse, the social disorganization and deviance theories were applied. The study adopted a descriptive study design and used both probability and non-probability sampling methods. Data collection tools used in this study included a questionnaire, and an interview guide. The study found out that the following factors promote alcohol abuse: corruption, peer pressure, idleness, marital problems, media influence and work related stress.


The study established that the major impacts of alcohol consumption on the Christian churches are domestic violence, marital problems, selling of family property and death. On the health of the alcohol abusers, the study found that alcohol leads to: development of a variety of health conditions including cancers and alcoholic liver disease, placing of a heavy burden of disease in society due to HIV/AIDS and other STIs contracted by engaging in careless sex when drunk, injuries and accidents caused when working or driving when drunk. As the community’s reaction to this problem, the study found that, churches, government, non-governmental organisations and the society at large has made efforts at fighting the vice. In conclusion, the study points to causative factors like corruption, peer pressure and idleness which can be addressed, with the result of alcohol abuse being threats to the church, health conditions and death-making it a major socio-economic problem. The study thus recommends that churches leaders should ensure the awareness of risk factors associated to alcoholism is created to the church members, also that government should address the problem of unemployment to reduce idleness. The churches and the society should also get fully involved in fighting the vice instead of assuming a helpless, on-lookers position.






In the recent past, a lot has been written and spoken on how people (men, women and the youth) in Nigeria have consumed alcohol excessively, leading to the decline in their socio-economic well-being and to increased poverty levels in the country. (Mwai, 2004).

Alcoholism is one of the major problems in society; the effects of this disease are serious leading to deaths, visual and physical impairment among other things. Alcoholism causes cancer in the stomach, kidneys, and liver. Besides, alcohol alters the digestion of nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy.

Alcoholism also causes severe damage to the neurons, so it causes alterations in the body movements, loss of appetite, and depression. There are other effects in the body like gastritis and cirrhosis of the liver. All these physical consequences could cause death if one consumes alcohol in mass quantities. Besides, many people get used to drinking alcohol and they can easily abuse which compounds the problem. Alcoholism affects family harmony leading to break-ups in extreme. Thus, the necessity for education on the impacts of the vice on the community welfare especially on the family unit is undisputable. Therefore, the adverse effects of alcoholism have motivated this study whose main purpose is to establish the social and economic effects of alcoholism in Christian churches.

This project was prompted by: the continued alcohol abuse, the subsequent numerous blindness cases, family break-ups, alcohol-related diseases and the resultant deaths and; the desire by a sociologist to empower people against alcoholism by providing relevant information on the impacts of the vice in churches and on societal welfare.



Alcohol is any liquid or drink containing ethanol especially when considered as the intoxicating agent in fermented and distilled liquors (Tracy, 2005).

There are different types of alcohol. Isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol is used in industrial processes as well as in home cleaning products and skin lotions; it is also commonly known as “rubbing alcohol”.

Methanol, or methyl alcohol or wood alcohol is used as an industrial solvent and is also commonly available as methylated spirit. It is found in cleaning solvents, paint removers, photocopier developer and anti-freeze solutions. As such, it is often available in large quantities inexpensively. It is similar to ethanol but the end product after it is digested by the body is formaldehyde, which is poisonous. This is responsible for “alcohol poisoning”. Methanol poisoning leading to blindness has been known to occur on consuming even small amounts which is prevalent in Kenya (Room, et al., 2002).

Another type of alcohol is ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol which is consumed by human beings for its intoxicating and mind-altering effects. The term ‘alcohol’, unless specified otherwise, refers to ethanol or ethyl alcohol. It is a thin, clear liquid with harsh burning taste and high volatility. It is usually consumed in diluted concentrations of absolute (i.e. 100 per cent) ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is also used as a reagent in some industrial applications. For such use, ethyl alcohol is combined with small quantities of methanol, with the mixture being called “denatured ethanol” to prevent theft for human consumption (Arnold, 2005).

Alcoholic beverages (ethyl alcohol) are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits which are legally consumed in most countries most of which have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption (Shaw, 2002). Of the three, beer is one of the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverages, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea (Nelson, 2005). It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of starches which are mainly derived from cereal grains — most commonly malted barley although wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. The alcoholic strength of beer is usually 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (ABV). Wine is produced from grapes, and fruit wine is produced from fruits such as plums, cherries, or apples. Wine involves a longer fermentation process than beer and also a long aging process (months or years), resulting in an alcohol content of 9%–16% ABV. Spirits are unsweetened, distilled, alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% ABV. They are produced by the distillation of a fermented base product which concentrates the alcohol (Lichine, 1987).

Throughout all history, alcohol is a product that has provided a variety of functions for people. From the earliest times to the present, alcohol has played an important role in religion and worship. Historically, alcoholic beverages have served as sources of needed nutrients and have been widely used for their medicinal, antiseptic, and analgesic properties (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). While no one knows when beverage alcohol was first used, it was presumably the result of a fortuitous accident that occurred at least tens of thousands of years ago. However, the discovery of late Stone Age beer jugs has established the fact that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (10,000 B.C.) (Patrick, 1952), and it has been suggested that beer may have preceeded bread as a staple (Katz and Voigt, 1987); wine clearly appeared as a finished product in Egyptian pictographs around 4,000 B.C. (Lucia, 1963).

The earliest alcoholic beverages may have been made from berries or honey (French, 1890) and winemaking may have originated in the wild grape regions of the Middle East. Oral tradition recorded in the Old Testament (Genesis 9:20) asserts that Noah planted a vineyard on Mt. Ararat in what is now eastern Turkey. In Sumer, beer and wine were used for medicinal purposes as early as 2,000 B.C. (Babor, 1986). Brewing dates from the beginning of civilization in ancient Egypt (Cherrington, 1925) and alcoholic beverages were very important in that country. Symbolic of this is the fact that while many gods were local or familial, Osiris, the god of wine, was worshiped throughout the entire country (Lucia, 1963a). The Egyptians believed that this important god also invented beer, a beverage that was considered a necessity of life; it was brewed in the home “on an everyday basis” (Marciniak, 1992).

In recent times however; alcohol consumption has been identified as a risk factor for many health, social and economic problems of communities. World Health Organization (WHO) report identified alcohol as being responsible for nearly 60 types of disorders and injuries (WHO, 2000). Alcohol consumption has been recognized as the fifth leading risk factor, next only to underweight, unsafe sex, blood pressure and tobacco usage (WHO, 2002). Traditionally the adverse effects of alcohol use have been linked only to the acute immediate effects (states of drunkenness) and long-term effects of alcohol dependence (resulting from habitual, compulsive and long-term heavy drinking). Numerous other common and frequent public health effects as well as the social and economic aspects have not been recognized by health professionals and policymakers. Alcohol consumption, in a dose-response manner, but especially heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders, increases the risk of contracting TB and pneumonia, as well as the progression of TB and HIV (Rehm, Anderson, Kanteres, Parry, Samokhvalov and Patra, 2009).

In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, there are many reports about alcohol related deaths among the youth and adults which is believe to churches members because about 99% of indigene of the State are Christians. National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse’s (NACADA) 2011 report established that consumption of alcohol among people aged under 18 years is high, moreover, there was a very high prevalence of alcohol consumption among youths (aged 25 – 34 years) at 79% for males and 15% for females (NACADA, 2011). It is estimated that at least 60% of families in Kenya are affected by alcohol abuse (Pan African News Agency, Dakar, 2005). A study by NACADA (National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse) in 2007 revealed that nationally 13% of the population currently consumes alcohol, and that illicit brews and cheaply brewed beer including champion larger beers  are consumed by over 15% of 15-64 year olds.




There is a wide range of negative effects associated with consumption of alcohol. Individuals who consume alcohol are more likely to experience a wide range of effects, among which include problems like: unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity ; social problems; physical and sexual assault; physical problems; problems at school; legal problems; disruption of normal growth and sexual development; higher risk for suicide and homicide; alcohol-related car crashes and other unintended injuries; memory problems; drug abuse; changes in brain development; and death from alcohol poisoning.

Individuals are in most cases likely to be involved in risky behaviours after consuming alcohol and thus putting their lives in danger, as well as threatening the safety of the general population in the neighbourhood at large. According to a study conducted by Centre for Disease Control (CDC), consumption of alcohol has been found to be greatly linked to the practice of risky-sexual behaviours and other social problems (CDC, 2006).

Mortality and morbidity rates have been found to increase by close to 200 percent between middle childhood and late adolescence and early adulthood. Alcohol consumption is among the significant factors that contribute to the dramatic rise in mortality and morbidity rates. Alcohol is one of the leading contributors to death from injuries, the main cause of death for persons under the age of 21. Each year 5,000 youth die from alcohol related injuries. Thirty-eight percent of these deaths involve motor vehicle crashes, 32 percent are a result of homicide, and 6 percent are a result of suicide. Adolescents also appear to be more sensitive to the stimulating effects of alcohol rather than the adverse effects of alcohol.

This may account for the sharp increase of alcohol related fatalities. After drinking, adolescents are more likely to partake in activities that they may be too impaired to perform, such as driving. They are also more likely than adults to drink themselves into a coma (DHHS, 2007).

Since historical times, the use and abuse of alcohol has been a universal phenomenon with no particular boundaries. Alcohol consumption has been identified as a risk factor for many health, social and economic problems of communities (WHO, 2004).

Therefore, the knowledge gap on why alcoholism has become a problem in society and the impact of alcoholism on the health and family welfare of church members will be best covered by this study.

This study was designed to investigate the effects of alcoholism on Christian churches: a case study of Methodist Church Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State.


The general objective of this is study was to investigate the effects of alcoholism on Christian churches using Methodist Church Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State as a case study. The specific objectives  of the study are:

  1. a) To establish factors that lead to high alcohol consumption in churches
  2. b) To determine the impact of alcoholism on churches
  3. c) To find out the effect of alcoholism on the health of the consumers;
  4. d) To establish the church reaction towards the problem of alcoholism in the society

Originally posted on April 30, 2021 @ 2:04 pm

About Peter Lawson 2732 Articles
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.

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