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Author Topic: Alcoholics and the Eucharist  (Read 7264 times) Average Rating: 0
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c.steward
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« on: May 05, 2009, 12:02:13 AM »

Hello all,

I have a girlfriend who is a recovering alcoholic. We are both learning about the Eastern tradition, but she has recently come across a HUGE (for her) stumbling block. As part of her treatment she obviously does not drink anything with alcohol in it and it is not a debatable issue. She won't even use alcohol based mouthwash.

Therefore, my question is: Are there any alternatives for Eastern Orthodox alcoholics? I certainly respect the Orthodox understanding of the bread and wine being the true body and blood of Christ. However, while being the actual blood of Christ, it is also alcoholic wine, and there is no need for lab testing to prove that. Smiley 

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

Thanks,
Charles
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 12:23:20 AM »

Hello all,

I have a girlfriend who is a recovering alcoholic. We are both learning about the Eastern tradition, but she has recently come across a HUGE (for her) stumbling block. As part of her treatment she obviously does not drink anything with alcohol in it and it is not a debatable issue. She won't even use alcohol based mouthwash.

Therefore, my question is: Are there any alternatives for Eastern Orthodox alcoholics? I certainly respect the Orthodox understanding of the bread and wine being the true body and blood of Christ. However, while being the actual blood of Christ, it is also alcoholic wine, and there is no need for lab testing to prove that. Smiley 

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

Thanks,
Charles

1. Talk to a priest.
2. You are still inquiring, the days of receiving Communion are not yet here.
3. I have only once seen Communion given in a way different than the spoon and chalice. I have no idea why that was done, but I assume that person was a special case.
4. Trust in God. Her alcoholism in her past was allowed by God and was an experience deemed necessary for her salvation. The Eucharist is for the healing of soul and body, its awesome Mysteries are a good.
5. The Theotokos of the Inexhaustible Cup. http://www.angelfire.com/nv2/carthusian/Akathist/inexhaustible.html
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 02:54:54 AM »

My godfather is a recovering alcoholic.  When he receives the Body and Blood, our priest usually gives him a piece of the Body with only a drop or two of wine added to it, not the particles from the chalice.  He reserves a couple of dry pieces for this purpose. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 03:03:40 AM »

I've wondered about this myself.  It seems like it would be difficult for alcoholics, and I was wondering if priests make exceptions.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 12:25:03 PM »

I've wondered about this myself.  It seems like it would be difficult for alcoholics, and I was wondering if priests make exceptions.

Certainly exceptions can be made.   That being said, I know many recovering alcoholics, glory to God, not one has fallen off the wagon because of Communion.  But again, given that "my Blood is drink (wine) indeed," there are exceptions made so that one might not stumble!   
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 12:40:09 PM »

This raises another question, and I am not sure if I should raise it here or start a new thread. Of course this is up to the moderators.
So here it goes: Do the Eastern Orthodox believe that the whole Christ is present under each species individually? Do they believe that the host (or whatever you call it) is all of Jesus or just his body? Do they believe what appears to be wine is the whole Jesus or just his blood? Do they believe that in order to receive the whole Christ, that both species must be consumed?
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 12:48:55 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

No, it is not possible to take Holy Communion in another form since there is no other form.
I have had experience with a similar problem. Friends of mine have a child who was diagnosed very early with a severe wheat allergy. As a baby, a miniscule amount of flour from his mother's hand touched his his little and his face immediatley became swollen and he had to be rushed to hospital and given adrenaline. They were told that contact with wheat products could kill him and he would have to wait until he was much older to have desensitivity therapy. This of course meant that he could not take Communion, which troubled his parents. When he reached two years of age, his parents approached our Archbishop and requested whether he could just receive the Blood. The Archbishop said that Holy Communion requires that we eat both the Flesh and the Blood, and he referred them to a Father Confessor (not all priests in our Church are permitted to hear confession, only those who are recognised as spiritually advanced by the Bishop.) The  Father Confessor told the parents that he would like to try Communing the child saying that the Body of Christ could not harm him. The parents, understandably, were anxious, so the Priest arranged for a doctor and paramedics to be present in the Church in case of a reaction and the parents agreed. Miraculously, the child had no reaction to receiving Communion, yet some months later, had another reaction to skin contact with wheat products.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 12:51:45 PM »

Correct me if I'm mistaken however doesn't the Ethiopian Orthodox Church use unfermented wine?
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 12:54:01 PM »

Correct me if I'm mistaken however doesn't the Ethiopian Orthodox Church use unfermented wine?
Wine, by definition, must be fermented to be wine. Unfermented wine is grape juice.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 01:23:43 PM »

What about new wine?
(Admittedly I'm not an expert in the field.)

Regardless of what we call it, does not the Ethiopian Church offer an unfermented liquid?
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 01:28:01 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?
No, it is not possible to take Holy Communion in another form since there is no other form.
My priest told me that it can be done with water, where necessary.  For example, some recovering alcoholics use drugs that can cause extreme nausea when ingesting even tiny quantities of alcohol.  Now he is just as human as any of us, so perhaps he is wrong, but this is what he told me.
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 01:38:37 PM »

What about new wine?
(Admittedly I'm not an expert in the field.)
New wine is fermented and contains alcohol. In the Acts of the Apostles at the Pentecost when the Apostles were speaking in other languages, some believed that they were intoxicated on "new wine" (Acts 2:13).
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 02:05:06 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

No, it is not possible to take Holy Communion in another form since there is no other form.
I have had experience with a similar problem. Friends of mine have a child who was diagnosed very early with a severe wheat allergy. As a baby, a miniscule amount of flour from his mother's hand touched his his little and his face immediatley became swollen and he had to be rushed to hospital and given adrenaline. They were told that contact with wheat products could kill him and he would have to wait until he was much older to have desensitivity therapy. This of course meant that he could not take Communion, which troubled his parents. When he reached two years of age, his parents approached our Archbishop and requested whether he could just receive the Blood. The Archbishop said that Holy Communion requires that we eat both the Flesh and the Blood, and he referred them to a Father Confessor (not all priests in our Church are permitted to hear confession, only those who are recognised as spiritually advanced by the Bishop.) The  Father Confessor told the parents that he would like to try Communing the child saying that the Body of Christ could not harm him. The parents, understandably, were anxious, so the Priest arranged for a doctor and paramedics to be present in the Church in case of a reaction and the parents agreed. Miraculously, the child had no reaction to receiving Communion, yet some months later, had another reaction to skin contact with wheat products.

Of course, the exceptions to this throughout most of Church history are the eremitic ascetics, who partook only of the Body in their huts in the desert.  We know from the Presanctified controversies of the 12th-14 centuries that the Communion given to the hermits was the Body and that it was not common for it to be sprinkled with the Holy Blood and was common for them to partake of the Body by itself.  But even outside of hermits, we see from St. Symeon of Thessalonika:  "And when we wish to give communion in the Holy Mysteries to someone outside the Liturgy, we do it in the following manner:  taking a particle from the Bread which has been reserved for this purpose, we place it into wine mixed with water--or frequently we use the dry life-creating Bread by itself, since (even if not given with the Blood) it is always united to the Blood" (Pisaniia sviatykh ottsov i uchitelei Tserkvi vol. 3, p. 186).  As I recall when I was at St. Tikhon's a report of a woman who had celiac disease and was given just the Blood.  I agree that the hierarchs must preserve the regularlity of the partaking of both in most circumstances.   But I also believe that this is one of those things that St. Nikodemos warns us about whereby we give up genuine Orthodox tradition in order "to be less like the Latins."  As I recall, he spoke of this with regard to genuflexion, but certainly that would apply to many other things in our day.   But all Priests must listen to their Bishop.  
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 04:08:08 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

As a baby, a miniscule amount of flour from his mother's hand touched his his little and his face immediatley became swollen and he had to be rushed to hospital and given adrenaline. They were told that contact with wheat products could kill him and he would have to wait until he was much older to have desensitivity therapy... The  Father Confessor told the parents that he would like to try Communing the child saying that the Body of Christ could not harm him. The parents, understandably, were anxious, so the Priest arranged for a doctor and paramedics to be present in the Church in case of a reaction and the parents agreed. Miraculously, the child had no reaction to receiving Communion, yet some months later, had another reaction to skin contact with wheat products.

I find this highly irresponsible. I can understand, and even admire, an adult who puts himself/herself at risk to partake in a sacred activity. However, to risk the death of your two year old child is not something I would encourage. How many parents on this board would do something similar?

Also, did the Father Confessor acknowledge the fact that the Body of Christ also contained wheat, or would he deny it?

I'll admit that this could be written into a fabulous miracle legend. Smiley

Thank you all for your posts. I hope the discussion continues.

-Charles
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 04:13:46 PM »

I have heard that the Aleutians and other Native American groups in Alaska are genetically pre-disposed (dispositioned?) to alcoholism.  If they have alcohol in any amount their genetics kick in and they become alcoholics (or addicted to alcohol).  I have heard that the OCA (formerly metropolia) uses grape juice throughout alaska in order to mitigate any problems there. 
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 04:19:57 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

As a baby, a miniscule amount of flour from his mother's hand touched his his little and his face immediatley became swollen and he had to be rushed to hospital and given adrenaline. They were told that contact with wheat products could kill him and he would have to wait until he was much older to have desensitivity therapy... The  Father Confessor told the parents that he would like to try Communing the child saying that the Body of Christ could not harm him. The parents, understandably, were anxious, so the Priest arranged for a doctor and paramedics to be present in the Church in case of a reaction and the parents agreed. Miraculously, the child had no reaction to receiving Communion, yet some months later, had another reaction to skin contact with wheat products.

I find this highly irresponsible. I can understand, and even admire, an adult who puts himself/herself at risk to partake in a sacred activity. However, to risk the death of your two year old child is not something I would encourage. How many parents on this board would do something similar?

Also, did the Father Confessor acknowledge the fact that the Body of Christ also contained wheat, or would he deny it?

I'll admit that this could be written into a fabulous miracle legend. Smiley

Thank you all for your posts. I hope the discussion continues.

-Charles

I find it quite the opposite.  The priest and parents discussed it and arranged for medical professionals to be present in case there was a reaction.  As was noted, a shot of adrenaline would "cure" any such reaction and I'm sure it was present.

I also doubt the priest would deny there was wheat gluten present in the consecrated Body of Christ.  However, he would probably point out that it is more than just bread.

It took great faith for the parents to do this and I think they should be applauded.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2009, 04:23:23 PM »

I have heard that the Aleutians and other Native American groups in Alaska are genetically pre-disposed (dispositioned?) to alcoholism.  If they have alcohol in any amount their genetics kick in and they become alcoholics (or addicted to alcohol).  I have heard that the OCA (formerly metropolia) uses grape juice throughout alaska in order to mitigate any problems there. 

While I'm sure Quinalt will chime in, it's a myth that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to alcoholism.  Even if such a predisposition existed, it would be highly unlikely that the miniscule amount of alcohol consumed by someone who is not an alcoholic would cause the disease to "kick in", as it were.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2009, 04:37:21 PM »

Would it be possible to take communion in another form? Does anyone have any experience with a similar issue?

As a baby, a miniscule amount of flour from his mother's hand touched his his little and his face immediatley became swollen and he had to be rushed to hospital and given adrenaline. They were told that contact with wheat products could kill him and he would have to wait until he was much older to have desensitivity therapy... The  Father Confessor told the parents that he would like to try Communing the child saying that the Body of Christ could not harm him. The parents, understandably, were anxious, so the Priest arranged for a doctor and paramedics to be present in the Church in case of a reaction and the parents agreed. Miraculously, the child had no reaction to receiving Communion, yet some months later, had another reaction to skin contact with wheat products.

I find this highly irresponsible. I can understand, and even admire, an adult who puts himself/herself at risk to partake in a sacred activity. However, to risk the death of your two year old child is not something I would encourage. How many parents on this board would do something similar?

Also, did the Father Confessor acknowledge the fact that the Body of Christ also contained wheat, or would he deny it?

I'll admit that this could be written into a fabulous miracle legend. Smiley

Thank you all for your posts. I hope the discussion continues.

-Charles

I find it quite the opposite.  The priest and parents discussed it and arranged for medical professionals to be present in case there was a reaction.  As was noted, a shot of adrenaline would "cure" any such reaction and I'm sure it was present.

I also doubt the priest would deny there was wheat gluten present in the consecrated Body of Christ.  However, he would probably point out that it is more than just bread.

It took great faith for the parents to do this and I think they should be applauded.

Even if it is more than just bread, is there some sort of church doctrine that states that the "moreness" of the bread cancels out the actual physical properties of the bread?

Also, I assume that it would be much more admirable to you if the Father Confessor did not arrange for any sort of medical back up plan at all. That would be extraordinary faith!
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2009, 04:53:42 PM »

Even if it is more than just bread, is there some sort of church doctrine that states that the "moreness" of the bread cancels out the actual physical properties of the bread?

Not at all.  Nor did I mean to suggest this.

Quote
Also, I assume that it would be much more admirable to you if the Father Confessor did not arrange for any sort of medical back up plan at all. That would be extraordinary faith!

Your assumption would be wrong.  Again, the priest (AND parents) took steps to remedy the situation in case of a reaction.  You may not have wanted to do that with your child, but the parents made an informed decision and then took steps to make it as safe as possible within the confines of the logistics their decision.  You can most certainly disagree with me on this. 

However, making snarky assumptions about what I may or may not find admirable has no place in any civil disagreement.
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2009, 05:03:09 PM »

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Not at all.  Nor did I mean to suggest this.
Agreed. I missed your sentence suggesting that the priest would not deny that there is wheat glutton in the bread.

Quote
Your assumption would be wrong.  Again, the priest (AND parents) took steps to remedy the situation in case of a reaction.  You may not have wanted to do that with your child, but the parents made an informed decision and then took steps to make it as safe as possible within the confines of the logistics their decision.  You can most certainly disagree with me on this. 

However, making snarky assumptions about what I may or may not find admirable has no place in any civil disagreement.

That was rather snarky, eh? I apologize. I do disagree with you on this matter, but I'll also acknowledge the possibility that the priest might know something that I do not.

-Charles
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2009, 05:27:31 PM »

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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 09:31:11 AM »

I find this highly irresponsible. I can understand, and even admire, an adult who puts himself/herself at risk to partake in a sacred activity. However, to risk the death of your two year old child is not something I would encourage. How many parents on this board would do something similar?
I would. It is the body and blood of Christ. Although I understand you are not Orthodox, you must understand that those of us here believe in the Mysteries. Especially in regards to the Holy Eucharist. I have known some people who don't want to commune because of the fear of disease. Can God be tainted with disease? Orthodoxy does not proclaim this. I think the same logic can be used in the alcoholism issue as well. God is not going to condemn a person that partakes of his body and blood, in faith, from a pure heart. With God, all things are possible. God Bless.



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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2009, 11:22:45 AM »

Hello everyone,

Been away for a while but thought this would be a great subject for me to comment on.

I am a recovering alcoholic. I have been to rehab twice and tried to quit drinking on countless occasions. I almost killed myself a number of times. At the height of my drinking career I was drinking an entire bottle of 151 proof rum every single day. I know and understand firsthand what alcohol addiction does to a person and that it is impossible to stop without the help of God and with the help of God I've been sober for almost two years.

Now on to the subject of the OP. Ever since converting I have received the Eucharist just like everyone else. It has had absolutely no adverse effects on me whatsoever. My spiritual father told me fairly early on that it is impossible for the Eucharist received faithfully to cause harm.

A great story illustrating this point is one about St John of San Francisco. Once he was taking the Eucharist to a women in the hospital who was in the final stages of rabies....

Quote
He served the Holy Mysteries to a woman dying of rabies, and immediately after doing so, she had a fit, foaming at the mouth, and spitting up the Holy Gifts. Knowing that the Holy Gifts cannot be thrown away, St. John immediately picked them up and swallowed them, himself, even though rabies is extremely contagious and routinely fatal. He said, “Nothing with happen; these are the Holy Gifts!” and he spoke the truth.


http://www.allsaintsofamerica.org/orthodoxy/john.html


All of that being said I second the advice given so far. Please speak to a priest or your spiritual father. They can guide you a lot better than any of us on this forum.


Yours in Christ
Joe


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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2009, 12:22:31 PM »

I have a friend who is alcoholic, but still receives Holy Communion and he has never fallen off the wagon, but when in doth always consult with your spiritual father.

On one group I received this:

CAN YOU GET ILL FROM TAKING THE COMMUNION CUP?
A Physician's opinion ...to the Healing of soul and body...
 
 By Emanuel Kolyvas, M.D., The Sign [of the Theotokos], Montreal


  Contrary to popular opinion, wine, and other beverages of antiquity produced through fermentation, were probably more important in providing disease-free drinking fluids than in their tendency to intoxicate. Ancient Greeks drank their water mixed with wine, and also used wine to cleanse wounds and soak dressings. More recently, military physicians of the last century observed that during epidemics of cholera, wine drinkers were relatively spared by the disease, and troops were advised to mix wine into the water.

  Wine has been shown to be an effective antiseptic even when the alcohol is removed. In fact, 10% alcohol is a poor antiseptic, and alcohol only becomes optimally effective at concentrations of 7;0%. The antiseptic substances in wine are inactive in fresh grapes because these molecules are bound to complex sugars. During fermentation these antiseptic substances are split off from the sugars and in this way become active. These molecules are polyphenols, a class of substances used in hospitals to disinfect surfaces and instruments. The polyphenol of wine has been shown to be some thirty-three times more powerful than the phenol used by Lister when he pioneered antiseptic surgery.

  Same year wines can be diluted up to ten times before beginning to show a decrease in their antiseptic effect. The better wines gradually improve with age over the first ten years and can be diluted twenty times without a decrease of the antiseptic effect. This effect then remains more or less constant over the next twenty years and becomes equivalent to a new wine after another twenty-five years. (Modern antiseptics and antibiotics for disinfecting wounds have surpassed wine effectiveness because the active ingredients in wine are rapidly bound and inactivated by proteins in body tissues.)

  In preparing communion, the hot water that is added to the wine will increase greatly the antiseptic effect of the polyphenols. Disinfection occurs more rapidly and more effectively at 45 degrees centigrade than at room temperature (22-25 degrees). Another contribution to the antiseptic effect comes from the silver, copper, zinc that make up the chalice itself, ensuring that microbes are unable to survive on its surface.

  Throughout the centuries, no disease has ever been transmitted by the taking of Holy Communion. Diseases, such as Hepatitis B, known to be transmitted by shared eating utensils, have never been acquired from the communion spoon. HIV is known not to be transmitted through shared eating utensils, and considering the antiseptic qualities of the Holy Communion received by the faithful, there is no likelihood of acquiring HIV infection through the Common Cup.

 reprinted from: Canadian Orthodox Messenger, Spring 1995
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2009, 05:54:05 PM »

As a alcoholic,
 And be patient with me please.
I would compare the issue with another one.
Many alcoholics would say that drinking a non alcoholic beer like O'Doul's is drinking.
For non alcoholic beers do contain something in the nieghborhood of .05% alcohol by volume
which means that a person would need to drink 7 cans of nonalcoholic beer to get the effect of
a single can of 3.2% beer.
Prior to studying the scriptures I would say that being concerned about the alcohol content of
non alcohol beer would be compared with say for instance reading playboy magazine, and adultery.

of course non I'm better informed a realize looking at a woman with lust is adultery.

So I guess I'm not much help here.
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2009, 07:55:25 PM »

I am a recovering alcoholic nine years sober this past March. I am a convert. I take communion nearly every chance I get. It has never been a problem for me - I simply take less wine and more bread. When the alter boy asked me the first time why I didn't drink the whole cup I simply told him I was allergic to wine (which is quite true). The priest knows the whole story - and has asked my help with others in the congregation who have come to understand they, too cannot drink in safety...
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2009, 08:00:03 PM »

Welcome to the forum!   Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2009, 08:12:03 PM »

I am a recovering alcoholic nine years sober this past March. I am a convert. I take communion nearly every chance I get. It has never been a problem for me - I simply take less wine and more bread. When the alter boy asked me the first time why I didn't drink the whole cup I simply told him I was allergic to wine (which is quite true). The priest knows the whole story - and has asked my help with others in the congregation who have come to understand they, too cannot drink in safety...

Very good.  God be with you and glad you're here with us!
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2009, 08:18:17 PM »

I've been sober since 1988. I've never had a problem with small amounts of wine used in religious ritual, as Episcopalian or as an Orthodox Christian. As a Jew I don't drink wine at Kiddush because I was dianosed with diabetes a couple of years ago.

But then again I never drank the AA kool-aid, so I don't beleive that one sip sends a sober person off on a rip roaring binge.
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« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2009, 02:07:42 PM »

As a Jew I don't drink wine at Kiddush because I was dianosed with diabetes a couple of years ago.

Why would drinking wine cause a problem with your diabetes?  My wife has Type 1 and drinks wine, no problems.   Huh
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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2009, 12:20:28 AM »

As a Jew I don't drink wine at Kiddush because I was dianosed with diabetes a couple of years ago.

Why would drinking wine cause a problem with your diabetes?  My wife has Type 1 and drinks wine, no problems.   Huh
Isn't it because the alcohol in the wine turns metabolizes into sugar? That's what I heard.
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« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2012, 09:29:38 AM »

As a member of AA and therefefore a recovering Alcoholic, it's been well over a decade Thank God since I had a drink, I had my belief in God rekindled by AA and in time this led me to become Chrismated into Holy Orthodoxy. My priest said that the body and blood of Christ would never harm me, I have never felt the twitch of craving occur after taking Eucharist, which for me is a confirmation of the Divine nature inherent in the Sacrament, because believe me, a drop of "wine" outside of the context of the Liturgy would be enough to trigger a craving in any other circumstance for me.Glory be to God.
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« Reply #32 on: October 29, 2012, 10:32:41 AM »

In the Western Rite of Orthodoxy, the Eucharist is taken by intinction. Its still bread and wine, but the wafer is paper thin and dipped about half way in the wine. Its probably a total of 6 drops. Maybe that'll help Smiley

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« Reply #33 on: October 29, 2012, 10:41:01 AM »

In the Western Rite of Orthodoxy, the Eucharist is taken by intinction. Its still bread and wine, but the wafer is paper thin and dipped about half way in the wine. Its probably a total of 6 drops. Maybe that'll help Smiley

PP

You use a wafer in the western rite? I would have expected leavened bread.

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« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2012, 11:11:31 AM »

In the Western Rite of Orthodoxy, the Eucharist is taken by intinction. Its still bread and wine, but the wafer is paper thin and dipped about half way in the wine. Its probably a total of 6 drops. Maybe that'll help Smiley

PP

You use a wafer in the western rite? I would have expected leavened bread.

James
Its leavened I think, but it is paper thin. I looked into it, and supposedly its leavened. however I cant tell. Im usually too busy to consider that as I go forward Smiley

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« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2012, 11:21:08 AM »

As a Jew I don't drink wine at Kiddush because I was dianosed with diabetes a couple of years ago.

Why would drinking wine cause a problem with your diabetes?  My wife has Type 1 and drinks wine, no problems.   Huh

It can depend on what medication you're taking also. And it's pretty much empty calories as well. So most diabetics have to be a little careful.
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« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2012, 01:45:57 PM »

eritrean Holy Communion wine does not taste alcoholic.
source - 1 experience of beautiful eritrean orthodox Holy Communion.
(i am no expert).
so the poster earlier who said ethiopians don't use alcoholic wine may be right.
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« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2012, 02:19:39 PM »

eritrean Holy Communion wine does not taste alcoholic.
source - 1 experience of beautiful eritrean orthodox Holy Communion.
(i am no expert).
so the poster earlier who said ethiopians don't use alcoholic wine may be right.

Wine contains alcohol otherwise it is fruit juice.

And don't worry alcoholics, don't believe the hype, a single drop of alcohol or even a swig ain't gonna start a bender. Unless that is what you were plotting to begin with.

Sorta hard to avoid alcohol content entirely given the various foods, consumer products, and medicines it is in.

AA has its points, this unsubstantiated claim is not one of them.
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« Reply #38 on: October 29, 2012, 03:12:42 PM »

As a Jew I don't drink wine at Kiddush because I was dianosed with diabetes a couple of years ago.

Why would drinking wine cause a problem with your diabetes?  My wife has Type 1 and drinks wine, no problems.   Huh

It can depend on what medication you're taking also. And it's pretty much empty calories as well. So most diabetics have to be a little careful.
Exactly, I use no added sugar grape juice.
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« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2012, 03:19:57 PM »

In the Catholic Church, mustum (or Must) is allowed if the priest, for example, has problems with alcoholism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must

The difference with store bought grape juice is that mustum has no additives to prevent fermantation, so the grape juice can become wine.  In fact, from the time it was pressed to the time it is consumed, the fermentation process would have already begun.
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« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2012, 03:39:44 PM »

I have heard that the Aleutians and other Native American groups in Alaska are genetically pre-disposed (dispositioned?) to alcoholism.  If they have alcohol in any amount their genetics kick in and they become alcoholics (or addicted to alcohol).  I have heard that the OCA (formerly metropolia) uses grape juice throughout alaska in order to mitigate any problems there.  

While I'm sure Quinalt will chime in, it's a myth that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to alcoholism.  Even if such a predisposition existed, it would be highly unlikely that the miniscule amount of alcohol consumed by someone who is not an alcoholic would cause the disease to "kick in", as it were.



Native Americans were introduced to alcohol a mere 300 years or so ago, therefore natural selection has not had adequate time to do the work of “weeding out” the alcoholic gene.  Hence, approximately nine out of ten Native Americans will prove to be alcoholic.

On the other hand, the ethnicities that have had alcoholic beverages in their cultures the longest (Asians, Middle-Easterners) will rarely become alcoholic.  They exist, but they are extremely rare.  I know this from research I have read (I can supply sources if you’re really interested) and because in the twenty years I’ve been attending AA meetings I rarely see Asians or Middle-Easterners.  If they are present, it is usually because they are drug addicts and could not find an NA meeting (drug addiction is an entirely different creature than alcoholism, although the spiritual solution is the same).

I say this as a recovered alcoholic who attends AA meetings and works with still-suffering alcoholics every single day to maintain my own sobriety.  I do not do it in an effort to be noble, or to feel good about myself or even to follow Christ.  I do it because my life depends on it.  Alcoholism is a very real, fatal disease that is not to be taken lightly by a real alcoholic like myself.  We can never safely use alcohol in ANY form.  

The alcoholic gene is what causes the disease to “kick in” and it is a very real thing.  Alcoholism is not a moral shortcoming; it is a sickness and that is why there is very little success rate at overcoming it in the Church.  The Church treats alcoholism as one sin among many sins.  In Church, I am a “bad” person learning how to be “good.”  Where my alcoholism is concerned, I am a sick person who is learning how to get healthy.

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« Reply #41 on: October 30, 2012, 03:59:43 PM »

I don't entirely agree with this assessment.  Middle Easterners have less issues with alcohol in large part because of cultural restrictions.  Once assimilated here in a different culture, their numbers go up.  I know this because my parish is largely Middle Eastern and the number of addicts matches those levels in other ethnic groups within the community.

Asians have a different issue: because they do not metabolize alcohol the same as other genetic haplotypes, it is harder to become alcoholic because of the intolerance factor.  However, Asians are susceptable to other addictions at the same overall rate.

Native Americans have higher rates largely because of the grinding poverty and boredom which weighs on the community.  I've found the same problems in Romanian villages with virtually the same factors.

Addiction itself is a result of the passions, and any person, given the right (or perhaps 'wrong' is a better word) circumstances coupled with the right substance or activity, can become an addict.  Alcoholism is just one particular 'flavor' of the breakdown of the human will.

All that aside, I take communion every Sunday.  Sometimes, I will mix it a little strong and will get a 'whoa' effect, but I have never been tempted.  Largely, that has to do with the state of mind that I am in when I partake.  A priest who abused the chalice (I've heard stories that I won't get into) may find it much more difficult to avoid temptation, but no more so than a food addict who must learn when to stop eating.  Three tiny sips is hardly enough to start a bender unless you really want one to begin with.

I have given communion to a number of addicts, and I know of no cases where someone relapsed as a result.

A side note: some villages in Alaska are 'dry' and all alcohol is illegal.  There may be cases where the liturgy has to be celebrated with grape juice because there is no alternative.


I have heard that the Aleutians and other Native American groups in Alaska are genetically pre-disposed (dispositioned?) to alcoholism.  If they have alcohol in any amount their genetics kick in and they become alcoholics (or addicted to alcohol).  I have heard that the OCA (formerly metropolia) uses grape juice throughout alaska in order to mitigate any problems there.  

While I'm sure Quinalt will chime in, it's a myth that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to alcoholism.  Even if such a predisposition existed, it would be highly unlikely that the miniscule amount of alcohol consumed by someone who is not an alcoholic would cause the disease to "kick in", as it were.



Native Americans were introduced to alcohol a mere 300 years or so ago, therefore natural selection has not had adequate time to do the work of “weeding out” the alcoholic gene.  Hence, approximately nine out of ten Native Americans will prove to be alcoholic.

On the other hand, the ethnicities that have had alcoholic beverages in their cultures the longest (Asians, Middle-Easterners) will rarely become alcoholic.  They exist, but they are extremely rare.  I know this from research I have read (I can supply sources if you’re really interested) and because in the twenty years I’ve been attending AA meetings I rarely see Asians or Middle-Easterners.  If they are present, it is usually because they are drug addicts and could not find an NA meeting (drug addiction is an entirely different creature than alcoholism, although the spiritual solution is the same).

I say this as a recovered alcoholic who attends AA meetings and works with still-suffering alcoholics every single day to maintain my own sobriety.  I do not do it in an effort to be noble, or to feel good about myself or even to follow Christ.  I do it because my life depends on it.  Alcoholism is a very real, fatal disease that is not to be taken lightly by a real alcoholic like myself.  We can never safely use alcohol in ANY form.  

The alcoholic gene is what causes the disease to “kick in” and it is a very real thing.  Alcoholism is not a moral shortcoming; it is a sickness and that is why there is very little success rate at overcoming it in the Church.  The Church treats alcoholism as one sin among many sins.  In Church, I am a “bad” person learning how to be “good.”  Where my alcoholism is concerned, I am a sick person who is learning how to get healthy.


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