With #SoberforOctober filling our feeds, many will be thinking more about their relationship with booze. In this blog post we’re going to dive into our own experiences of sobriety. Including how sobriety relates to spiritual healing, and lessons and tips you might benefit from. Read on to find out whether we believe sobriety is essential to spiritual healing.
Here at Wild as the Moon, the two of us have very different relationships with alcohol. So we thought we’d start by sharing our personal experiences on the subject.
Gina’s experience of sobriety:
“I am not alcohol free, I do enjoy a drink and I love the flavours of a nice beer or cider the most. I can’t see myself ever completely giving up alcohol (though never say never) and I don’t have any particular intention to either.
The thing is, I don’t smoke, I don’t eat animal products and I am generally quite healthy. So for me, alcohol is my one naughty treat. And ultimately, when everything boils down, the most important thing in life for me, is that I am enjoying it! Therefore giving up alcohol completely is not a sacrifice I am willing to make. Because I gain genuine enjoyment from it.
With all that being said however, I do realise alcohol has an affect on me. It affects my insight, my ability to feel energy around me and my ability to listen to my intuition. So I am very conscious of when and how much I am drinking.
I noticed this for the first time when I disappeared off on a solo road trip for three months. I didn’t have any alcohol for the entire trip and it felt like there was a catalyst within me to the strength of my connection to spirit, my own intuition and my ability to feel energy around me.
Alcohol numbs, that is pretty common knowledge. But it numbs me in more ways than I realised. So, although I don’t claim to be on the path of giving up alcohol entirely, I certainly have made the choice to drink far less than I used to! And it definitely has had a hugely positive impact on my spiritual journey, connection and health.
I have also noticed some other benefits to reducing my intake of alcohol. One of those being that I am more alert and awake and generally find the mornings much easier to deal with. I no longer rely of caffeine to get me going.
The biggest change for me however, is my emotional well being. Overall I am happier, I much more emotionally stable and my pre-menstrual mood swings are down to a minimum. There are definitely other factors contributing to this, such as my regular shadow and release work. But I know for sure that alcohol was a huge contributor to a lot of my PMS symptoms.
So yes, you’ll catch me down the pub occasionally with a couple of pints. Yes, I’ll help drink that bottle of red on the odd Friday night. But I will never make it a regular habit like it used to be, again. The continuation of my spiritual growth and overall happiness levels are far more important.
So is sobriety essential to spiritual healing? Personally, I think it’s all about balance.
Lea’s experience of sobriety:
“I’ve essentially been alcohol free for 4 years now, with only very rare forays back into having a drink which quickly remind me why I prefer to be booze free. In truth, going alcohol free wasn’t something I intended to do or ever imagined I would do.
I did my fair share of underage drinking and had many a night in my late teens/early 20s where I drank far more than I should have and woke up with the heavy weight of dread at the pit of my stomach (which wouldn’t shift, even after paying homage to the porcelain gods…) Truthfully, I never really enjoyed the taste of alcohol and mostly drank because “that’s what you do”; I was always quite introverted and found that drinking helped me to “fit in” and be more “fun”. There’s not a great history of positive relationships with booze in my family and it’s something I’ve always been conscious of; that a predisposition for addiction lurks under the surface.
It wasn’t until the morning I woke up with the mother of all hangovers and a positive pregnancy test that I had the rude awakening I had been needing. Morning sickness + hangover = one of the worst experiences and intense aversion therapy. Even the smell of alcohol could set me off years later. I hid and pushed down my true self and many of my true feelings with alcohol for far too long and that came and bit me on the arse.
I find being alcohol free pretty easy; going into a pub and having a soft drink doesn’t faze me at all and I’d always rather have a nice cup of tea. It is harder when people are interested in why I’m booze free though because there’s an acknowledgement that it’s a bit of an oddity and requires some explanation – and mine has additional stigma attached to it.
Those occasional forays I mentioned earlier, back into drinking? Well, I take a much more relaxed stance now that some of the aversion has worn off and will occasionally have a glass of red wine or a whisky and ginger ale. But only in the right setting and if I’ve evaluated WHY I’m drinking; if I’m fancying a drink because I’ve had a rough day or because I’m in an awkward social situation then I know I’m best off leaving it alone. Those forays often shift me back to alcohol free because few things trigger my panic attacks more than booze (crowds being a bigger trigger). And I feel like a panic attack is my body and brain telling me that I am out of alignment.
For me, nothing was ever found at the bottom of a bottle, but being without alcohol, I’ve recovered so much more of mySELF; I know how to express myself and have fun without needing “dutch courage”.
Things to think about when questioning “Is sobriety essential to spiritual healing?”
There are plenty of consciousness altering substances in regular use anyway
Chocolate, coffee and herbs all have the ability to be consciousness altering. Some we associate with spiritual healing and others we don’t. So it isn’t fair to say that because alcohol shifts our conscious state, that it is necessarily bad.
In fact, Gina has known of people who intentionally have a drink whilst reading Tarot because it relaxes their mind and brings down their guard, making their intuition stronger. Although it has the complete opposite affect for Gina personally, it doesn’t mean it’s the same experience for everyone.
You need to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for your unique body, mind and spirit.
The rise in sober parties and booze free alternatives has made it more attractive
Some of these include sober raves, cacao ceremonies and distilled herb blends to replace your gin. These are all things which have made it more appealing and socially acceptable to go alcohol free.
There are a growing number of alternatives out to choose from now. And with people generally becoming more aware of the destructive qualities of excessive alcohol, it has become easier and easier to live an alcohol free life. Without giving up anything but a headache in the morning.
One of Lea’s go-to’s when she fancies a wine without the units is Belvoir Chardonnay.
“No hangovers with our NEW wine alternatives
They look like wine. They smell like wine. And they taste pretty similar too! Our brand new range of wine alternatives is the perfect solution for all those who want to celebrate the Festive Season in style – but without the hangover…”Belvoir Fruit Farms
Have you ever tried a period of sobriety to find out what it means for you?
Here at WATM we both have our own individual stance on the subject. And equally we cannot tell you what is right for you. That’s the beauty of your healing journey – there is no right or wrong way. There is only what is right for YOU.
A spiritual healing journey is an ongoing and permanently changing path. And we will all be at different places on that journey at different times. The important thing is that you are learning and growing, at your own pace.
So if you’re unsure what affect alcohol actually has on you, or unsure whether it will be beneficial for you to be totally sober, there is only one way to find out. Try it! (When you are ready) And see what happens.