Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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In my family, drinking alcohol is not an addiction; usually it mainly appears during celebrations like in the American Christmas, or New Years Eve, or even once in a while on the dinner table, a small glass of wine. I have heard from many priests before and some families that drinking all together is wrong even if it is supervised and not excessive. I know our church stands firm against drinking and getting drunk, but would it be wrong if it is treated like a coke can on the dinner table and not taken as an addiction?

Also, what is my position when I am at a huge family gathering and they offer me a cup of wine, should I take it simply so I don't cause a scene or should I say no? At the end, for me, alcohol is not something amazing that I love to drink, but at the same time I have no problem with it. This is because usually if I am offered a drink, it’s always at home with family. I never take the risk to drink at school since I never put myself at any place where there is a party. I just really need to find the right answer for this

It is evident that the answer to your question is actually embedded in your question. The relaxed atmosphere and the normalization of having an occasional drink for the purpose of celebration or casual dining have left you indifferent. This indifference is troubling. You mention that if you refuse having a drink at your gatherings, it may possibly cause questions or even make a scene. Do you really need this unnecessary peer pressure? Once you have said that you do not drink any alcohol at all, this will set the record straight and eventually those who pressure you will back off. If not, you are setting yourself and your potential family in the future at some risk. On a personal level, I do not know one person who from the start thought he/she would become addicted to alcohol. For most people, it usually started quite innocently. Some people are probably more prone to addiction than others. You may say to me and to yourself, that is not you, and it may be so. But, neither you nor I know that if the circumstances in your life changes and suddenly you become overwhelmingly stressed, how would alcohol, which has been so readily available for casual relaxation play into a perplexed mindset? What about the other members of the family, who may decide to drink occasionally for the purpose of socializing with you and your family, or for the sake of peer pressure, but may have a low tolerance for alcohol, and may either develop an addiction or react unfavorably to its consumption? Who will assume the responsibility for these situations? Consuming alcohol may cause others to stumble. Who will make the decision in the future for when your children will be able to share in these casual festivities, what limits will be placed on them, and how will you enforce their consumption?

There is no one who will dispute that any consumption of alcohol alters a person's perception, however small, even during dining. At least during a dinner, the other foods will absorb the effect of the alcohol faster. That is why other cultures, which are known to have heavy meals, are accustomed to having a little low alcohol light wine at the table for digestion. However, social drinking at celebrations and other events are usually for the purpose of social relaxation and inhibition and the alcohol goes straight into the blood since there is very little food. Some people are fooled into thinking they can enjoy a drink after work and head on over to the so-called "happy hour". It almost sounds innocent, but it is really frightening for what they set people up. One drink leads to another, which is often at a reduced price to get the relaxed buyer to consume more. Then, one has to drive home. Who will bear the consequences of the possibilities of driving under the influence? You are right about the church not condoning the consumption of alcohol. On the other hand, we are not saying it is a sin to have an occasional glass of wine. Not saying that something is a sin, does not mean it is approved or recommended for all people. Our recommendation is to stay clear away from any liquor, and in the long run, you will experience a far more naturally relaxed atmosphere all around you.
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