At what point does a cucumber become a pickle? Once you are a pickle, you are pickled. Try as you might, there is nothing you can do to return a pickle to its native state. You would have better luck trying to get chewed bubble gum back to its original form than to transform a pickle into a cucumber. Come to think of it, trying to fit into the same blue jeans I wore in high school could have the same result. It’s not going to happen!

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not an alcoholic; I just drink a little often.” At what point does a casual social drinker become a drunk? That’s easy, after one drink too many. It’s not worth the risk in my book. Once you’re an alcoholic, you are always an alcoholic.

Consider these statistics:

Seventy percent of Americans drink socially, and one in 10 of those will become alcoholics.

The average alcoholic begins drinking at age 12.

Experts estimate 10-20 million Americans are alcoholics.

More than 200,000 people die annually in alcohol-related deaths.

Eighty percent of automobile drivers will be in an alcohol-related accident.

No wonder King Solomon gave strong warning against the consumption of alcohol. “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?'” Proverbs 23:31-35

Critics will call my perspective worn out, legalistic and denominationally dependant. Some will ask me to quote chapter and verse for my stance. Others will rationalize their social drinking as a liberty found through freedom in Christ. To this crowd, I have this to say. Look around you.Who will it be? It is not a matter of if, but when. Count on it. Ten percent of the casual social drinkers you know will someday become an alcoholic. Sure, many will dodge addiction, but 10 out of every 100 social drinkers’ lives will be ruined. Alcohol plays no favorites. No amount of money, stature or pedigree will protect you from the bite of one drink too many.

You’ll never have to worry about going off the bottle if you never take your first sip. I don’t know of one alcoholic who says booze was worth the pain it caused.

Don’t we have enough to worry about already? Who needs to increase their odds of becoming an alcoholic? Think about that the next time you go to the refrigerator for a pickle spear. If you notice a tall boy or a long neck next to the mustard, pop the top and pour it down the drain. It’s not worth becoming the next statistic. Do it before you reach the point of no return.