By Mark Perko
Christian Action League
January 5, 2022
I took my last sip of an alcoholic beverage 40 years ago. The seven years preceding this, I will never get back. My journey began at age sixteen when my best friend convinced me to help him drink a six-pack of beer he had stolen from his parent’s refrigerator.
My alcohol journey began many years before this event. My parents worked hard to raise three boys. Mom was a school teacher, and Dad was a telephone lineman. It was a loving home, and we pretty much didn’t lack anything.
Dad always kept a fully stocked bar in his den. He hosted weekly card games with his friends, and the beer was plentiful. I even recall some New Year’s Eve parties where we were told to stay in our rooms, but we occasionally snuck out to watch the festivities. At one of these parties, some man was dressed up in nothing except a baby diaper and a lampshade on his head.
Every evening before supper Mom and Dad always had a couple of martinis. My actual exposure to alcoholic beverages thus began at a very young age. Little did my parents realize that they were unknowingly “grooming” me for problems down the road. I always assumed that since my parents drank alcohol, I could. (Parents…don’t think for one minute that your children are not aware of this!)
Now, back to my “event” at age 16. That night with my best friend began a downward spiral of endless parties, close calls with the law, a few near-death experiences, and the end of a potential baseball career.
By age 21, I was a professional bartender working for Walt Disney World. My life consisted of work, party, sleep and repeat. It was not until I met my future wife at a New Year’s Eve party, and two weeks later, when I was introduced to Jesus, my life would be changed forever. I literally walked away from that lifestyle cold turkey. I know the dangers. I lived with them for seven years.
After forty years in my calling as a pastor and as a first responder chaplain, I have seen how alcohol destroys families, marriages, careers, and lives.
Please do not try to quote the scriptures to me that, in your opinion, give Christians the license to partake of alcohol as long as you don’t get drunk. Graveyards are full of those who only had one drink, but it was just enough to impair their driving skills. Many unwanted pregnancies were caused by “just one drink.” Marriages and families might still be intact had they not been destroyed by alcohol. A mega-church pastor in South Carolina lost his pastorate over this issue some time back.
Pastors and Deacons – shame on you for believing the devil’s lies that drinking is okay. You have been called to a higher standard than conforming to the world. (Romans 12:1-2). Cease and Desist right now. God does not have any room for drunk Shepherds. If this is an issue for you, please get some help. Jesus rescued me. I am a new creation, not a recovering alcoholic, as some might claim. I am clean. I am free. I am alive.
Mark Perko is the Senior Pastor of Deep Creek Baptist Church in Wadesboro, North Carolina. In addition to being a part of Pastoral Care at Atrium Health in Anson County, Mark serves as Chaplain for the Gulledge Fire Department and the Polkton Police Department. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Christian Action League and the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
This article was posted with the author’s permission.