Will Storm wrote:
In other words, there are things to be valued about the preservation of the body. Aka, the comfort of others, the moral support of others, etc. I can see this for losing sleep, but what is the inherent virtue in drinking moderately?
Drinking moderately is not bad for the body! Indeed, it is good (speaking generally). We are admonished by scripture against drunkeness, but also told to give strong drink to those mourning to ease their mourning. Drink, used rightly, aids with coniviality. Hence, following Christ's example at Cana, one can drink more than normal at a wedding (but not to drunkeness). "Wine drunken with moderation is the joy of the soul and the heart." and "Wine taken with sobriety is equal life to men; if thou drink it moderately, thou shalt be sober." and ""Sober drinking is health to soul and body; wine drunken with excess raiseth quarrels, and wrath and many ruins." All from Ecclesiaticus!
Sobriety is that habit by which one uses drink with due moderation. That is what a virtue is. The habituation of an appetite to right reason and consisting in a mean between two extremes. To be unable to drink soberly is incontinence. A man may abstain completely because he is incontinent, and that is fine, but he lacks the virtue of sobriety. It is because he lacks the virtue that he abstains altogether. The man constantly getting drunk lacks virtue. The man who is able to drink and due so within the limits of sobriety, as a manner of second nature (that is he doesn't have to fight the urge to drink more, etc) has a virtue. That is what virtue is.