Is drinking (alcohol) unspiritual?
I don’t particularly enjoy drinking alcohol. When I was 20 and all my university friends were getting really drunk and going out to clubs, I would stay for a while, just long enough to watch them embarrass themselves, and then go home by midnight.
Then I found drugs and I was the last to peel herself off the dance floor. One tiny pill, or a few lines, or a baby finger-nail of crystals and I could fly. No messy alcohol. No going to the bar a thousand times. A bottle of water and the left-hand speaker and complete surrender to let the music move me. That’s all I wanted and needed.
It started in the middle of my psychology degree and I rationalised my choices with numerous studies that read something to the effect of occasionally taking recreational drugs causes much less damage on the brain and weekly binge drinking. I like reading evidence that supports my intuitive life choices.
Over the years, those choices waned. My spiritual devotion, my practices connecting inward, became more compelling. I discovered that I really like myself. And I like myself best, stone-cold sober.
In my experience, like everything in life, drinking alcohol has its place. It’s not what you do, but how you do it. Spirit exists in all things, and our purpose as self-aware observers is to nod to the universe and offer our¬†acknowledgement and gratitude. I don’t believe that drinking is unspiritual.
I do think using drinking as a coping mechanism is, however, unhealthy and takes us away from our connection to spirit. It can be a social lubricant used to overcome awkwardness in new situations. I’ve certainly had a few human moments where I’ve done exactly that.
It can help bring your deepest emotions, joy and enthusiasm for life to the surface, especially if you’ve yet to develop a relationship with your authentic self. I certainly used drugs in that way. But once you truly know yourself and embrace all that you are, you learn to express yourself without¬†abandon and no longer feel compelled to reach for external crutches.
Now, I drink occasionally, when I feel to. I like a couple of glasses of wine at dinner with friends, sometimes. Or a tall pint of tart cider on a grassy knoll one sunny afternoon. Or a few mezcals straight up on the rocks, when I’m dancing in a bar or at a party. My drink number is 4. A drink number is the maximum amount of drinks you can have, and still, get yourself home safely and somewhat coherently. I have a low tolerance. I like it that way.
We all have a different relationship with alcohol. We all have to honour our journey with it. We have to keep it simple. We tend to make life so complicated when really, we ought to be having the time of our lives. It takes mindfulness to create an authentic, fulfilled, fortunate human life.
The ability to be with ourselves, moment-to-moment when drinking or not drinking, and being able to notice, when your body gives you cues around what it wants and needs from a deeper spiritual level. This inner-awareness is what takes drinking to a new level which can become a devotional spirit-filled practice.

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