Let me start by saying there's nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. It is a matter of choice. But there's been a movement over the past few years toward living with more consciousness—a curiosity about living with intention.
Having explored alcohol and drugs in some depth myself, I know that they don't propagate intentional living. When substances get involved, the experience you have tends to get farther and farther from the experience you intended to have.
Even if you go home with the most amazing person at the party, in the end, is that really what you wanted?
A life of intention means saying “I want X” and mindfully executing actions that lead to “X.” Creating tangible results. Attaining actual, rather than imagined success.
Meditation helps. Alcohol? Not so much.
The emerging conversations around vulnerability and courage go hand-in-hand with this idea of living with intention. We're going in search of experiences and communities that facilitate the pursuit of courageous vulnerability through authentic means.
Alcohol has a placebo effect. You're vulnerable because you had a dose of "liquid courage," but that same courage is what so often leads to our waking up feeling shame or regret. Maybe even worse, you'll have little memory of how it felt to be your most "courageous" self or how to access that without a crutch.
Vulnerability requires authenticity, and authenticity requires vulnerability. Neither of these outcomes is encouraged by the crutch of substances. Living with authentic intention leads to joy, not shame. This lifestyle eradicates fear and anxiety over time, freeing you of the need for any sort of courage but that which already exists within you.
In my seven years of sobriety, I’ve learned that if you walk through the fire and choose to see yourself fully—flaws and all—you come out the other side a much more connected person. Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the foundation of connection to self, others, and the invisible, numinous beauty of life. I have only been able to experience this true connection as a sober person.
Choosing sobriety and consistently practicing meditation allows me to be fully aware of the spectrum of my emotional and intellectual life. I have learned a more refined way of being with myself. And now, I follow through with my intentions, rather than just setting them.
This is how I balance my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self.
And, of course, I still love to get “high.” It's just that meditation is my vehicle now.
My version of "getting high" is now comprised of clean living, healthy foods, being surrounded by positive friends, engaging in lively debate, world travel, laughter, making love to someone I adore and respect. And maybe even more important are the things that take away from that "high" feeling—competitiveness, gossip, unnecessary anger, doubt, and negativity. and imagination. Those things hold you back from feeling light and free all the time.
Now, I'm not trying to tell you that this is easy. These choices require a lot more willpower than grabbing a glass of wine to take the edge off. But until we consciously choose a different reality, we will continue to suffer. If we don't change the pattern, we end up repeating the toxic cycle over and over.
My journey has taught me that nothing is more crucial to a life of intention than meditation or community. With that in mind, I've created a social experiment (along with Ruby Warrington, founder of The Numinous) called Club Soda to facilitate that kind of lifestyle. Help us enrich the conversation about the delights (and potential drawbacks) of sober living (abstinence-only or otherwise).