The Effects of Alcoholism in Nigerian Society: the Role of the Church




1.1 Background of the Study

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. Alcohol has many usage and contrasting connotations. A glass of wine with a meal can symbolize Love, friendship, relaxation and enjoyment of a special occasion. It can represent romance, coming of age, success, beginnings and endings, good news and good company. At a Christian Eucharist or Jewish Passover, where wine is also shared, thanks are given to God for divine salvation from all that were enslaved, restricted and condemned. In drinking the wine, Christians participate with the first disciples in their Last Supper with Christ, and Jews participate with the ancient Hebrews in their exodus from enslavement in Egypt.


The Effects of Alcoholism in Nigerian Society: the Role of the Church

In African tradition, wine is used to portray a relationship and communion between the living human and ancestors, deities and other supernatural entities. This is evidence in covenant establishment, oath taking, daily ritual of libation, burial and institution of shrines and altars. Also in marriage ceremonies, the usage of alcoholic wine is indispensible even against the vehement opposition of Pentecostal churches in Africa with Nigeria as typical example. Ekwe (2000) stated that apart from water and wind, wine is another integral and indispensible part of African life and living. The presence is felt in almost all the activities of African customs and traditions ranging from burials, rituals, marriages, oath takings, covenant establishments, meetings, hospitalities, evening relaxation to all forms of their daily activities.

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.


The Effects of Alcoholism in Nigerian Society: the Role of the Church


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 in Nigerian Society: the Role of the Church using Methodist Church Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State as the case study.


1.3       Purpose of the Study

The general objective of this is study was to investigate the Effects of Alcoholism in Nigerian Society: the Role of the Church 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 May 2, 2021 @ 10:16 am

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

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