While John was talking with those who were present at the meeting, he saw a couple arrive with a little girl about twelve years old. He looked into her mother’s eyes and saw poverty, pain and hunger. When he looked at the face of her father, John saw the alcohol that had dominated his being. He looked at the girl, saw her thin, fragile body, and thought that her condition must be due to lack of good nutrition. It hurt him a lot to see the state of that small family. However, John focused his attention back to what he was telling his alcoholic friends.
“This illness, alcoholism, damages different parts of the body. You don’t feel it right now, but yes. It’s a damage you are doing to yourselves. I have come to know this, because I was also taught that the body is a temple of God, and when you are hurting that temple, you are obviously committing, not only a mistake, but also a sin. Anyways, I did not come here to preach; I do not dedicate myself to that. The Evangelist will take care of that, to explain to you better.”
Then someone else got up and said, “Honorable John, if Christ made wine at a party, that means it’s not wrong to drink wine.”
John replied, “As I have told you, I am not trained in these things that Christ did. That is why this person who is going to visit you, weekly, will explain it to you in detail. I do not know if Christ made wine containing alcohol or not. What I do know is that alcohol burns the entrails (intestines), affects the brain, the liver, the kidneys, heart, and other parts of the body. Studies have shown that it only takes one sip of alcohol at a very early age for it to alter the course of brain development, resulting in long-lasting changes in brain structure and function; in other words, alcohol will affect your learning, memory, speech, balance, etc.
“Did you know that alcohol can also give you cancer? Yes. You can develop an alcohol-associated cancer such as head and neck cancer, larynx cancer, liver cancer, etc. Alcohol is not considered a drug, but it is. Unfortunately, the countries that practice the capitalist, neoliberal system permit companies to produce all different kinds of liquors which are widely sold in the market without any control, even though we listen to speeches of goodwill and laws that are implemented for children not to consume this deadly kind of lawful drink. Nonetheless, a culture has been introduced whereby parents consume and also give it to the child. Such can be done through breastfeeding. Others give their child some beer to drink so they can sleep, and that way they have the night or day free to party.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a program that helps parents to comprehend the damage that alcohol causes on their body and their child’s. On the other hand, we have to realize that children are having children and that we have a problem of illiteracy in our country. It has been set aside as if it doesn’t exist. The only thing the system is interested in is to have votes and be in power; the rest they don’t care. Alcohol can be found in any so-called supermarket, instead of having special places exclusively for the selling of liquor such as a liquor shop. Anyhow, I did not come here to speak about that. That is something for the think tanks of this country to analyze. What I do want to say to you is that I promise to pay the rent for you and every Sunday to have a plate of food. That’s what I promise.”
There were other talks among the group. John listened without responding and time had passed. Like nothing, 10 o’clock had arrived. John said, “My friends, it is time to eat. We’re going to enjoy the delicious tamales and horchatas. I hope you find that place we talked about. Let Tom know and he’ll get in contact with me.”
Everyone got up quietly, and as they did the last time, they took their places and enjoyed the food. John also took his share and, of course, Tony, the good driver, a person John could trust to take care of everything else and everyone. After eating, everyone said their farewells and left. Tony stayed behind to clean up while John went to his house.
August 28, 2022