Drugs & Alcohol
It is exciting to gain responsibility and freedom as you mature. With that new freedom comes decisions that have larger consequences. You will gradually become more confident and more willing to take risks to explore your limits. You may also feel pressure from friends to take risks that you wouldn’t on your own. Approval of friends can feel very important during youth. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a common way to try to be accepted by others while also taking major risks. You must choose acceptable risks and live with the consequences of your decisions.
The Bahá’í writings make it clear that Bahá’ís should not use drugs or alcohol unless a doctor prescribes these substances. There are short-term and long-term risks of using drugs and drinking alcohol. Drugs and alcohol compromise your awareness and thinking, increasing the possibility that poor decisions while high or intoxicated will harm yourself or others. Additionally, the body builds a tolerance to drugs and alcohol after repeated use, requiring more and more for the same effect. Some consequences are minor but some can last a lifetime. Long-term alcohol and drug use gradually decrease your physical and mental health.
Making Wise Choices
No one expects to abuse drugs or alcohol when they first try them. They start using drugs or drinking alcohol to help them relax, have more confidence, or fit in with people who use these substances. Using them this way prevents you from learning valuable social skills since they can interfere with having sincere friendships. Drugs and alcohol distort perception and provide a temporary escape from reality. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states that “Alcohol consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity” and that drugs “extinguish the mind, freeze the spirit, petrify the soul, waste the body and leave man frustrated and lost.”
The Bahá’í law of no alcohol or drugs exists to protect you so that you can reach your full potential. Many people use drugs and alcohol to escape the stresses of life. Using them for this purpose avoids dealing with the cause of the stress and doesn’t solve anything. Everyone should learn the skills to overcome our challenges, not to avoid them. Those skills will then have positive impacts throughout your life. No one wants to be dependent on a substance to feel content, happy, or relaxed. Instead, get these feelings from being authentic, honest, and trusting the people around you. Drugs or alcohol are poor substitutes for sincere friendships.
I grew up in Maryland. No one in my Bahá’i family drank alcohol or used drugs, including my brother. I experienced a lot of peer pressure to drink alcohol and use drugs…
Pulled by the Current
I grew up in North Carolina and left home to go to a Bahá’í high school in Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada. While there, I was surrounded by Bahá’í youth…