Unfortunately, drunkenness is not confined to the male sex, as it was notably in former years, but has become a common vice also among women, in whom it seems all the more degrading.
There are grades or degrees of intoxication. Complete drunkenness, which takes away the reason, is mortally sinful. Incomplete intoxication, when there is no grave disorder, may be less grievous. The degree of the sin is in accord with the degree of the disorder.
We may become party to the sin of another by inducing him to drink to excess, so we should take the greatest care in offering a drink as a mark offriendship and hospitality, or in serving liquor at social affairs. Above all, it is wrong to insist if a person refuses, or to offer strong drinks to the young.
Alcoholism with its many vicious consequences is one of the most widespread evils of our time. Men, women and youths are its victims. It ruins many homes by discord and divorce. It ruins the lives of all who are in its power.
The Church teaches that moderation and sobriety are always to be observed in the use of alcoholic beverages. For many, total abstinence is the only guarantee that they will not some day cross the line and become an alcoholic or a drunkard as a result of their first occasional and lawful indulgence.
In connection with this subject, abuse of drugs and narcotics may also be mentioned. Drugs and narcotics have a necessary use in illnesses, but should be taken only under a doctor's prescription because of the danger of forming a habit by their use.