What is Mindful Drinking? An exploration.
Updated: Jan 14
Would you agree with the statement that “the universe exists on their devices these days”? We sure would, and to that end, we decided to meet them where they were at with some real recovery conversation. Sober.coffee, the podcast, and this blog exist solely to support the next struggling alcoholic.
On this topic, do you ever wonder what people are searching for regarding sobriety? Again, we do, and this week on our weekly sobriety podcast, we look at some of the top searches from Google. One that gets hundreds of thousands of inquiries is “what is mindful drinking.” We guess this question comes from the sober curious crowd, but we think it's just as crucial for those who have a few more days in recovery to pay attention to. So, Mike and Glenn explored this topic this past week and leave you with the following thoughts:
A 2019 survey showed that 47% of adults in the United States were” making efforts to reduce alcohol consumption.” This is a significant number, and our quick math suggests roughly 99 million adults. Here is where things get dicey: fewer than 1% seek outside help for what they consider excessive drinking. If you find yourself in one of these categories, be comforted to know that you are not alone. And our experience has shown us that “not alone” is what mental, physical, and spiritual effects can bring you to the other side. And being mindful is an excellent place to start.
Mindful, by definition, means: inclined to be aware. Aware, by definition, means: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge.
Mindful living, deeply experiencing the infinite detail that surrounds us in our finite existence, can bring the most rewarding perspective. Though honing this awareness takes practice and patience, it is so worth the effort.
Mindful drinking, then, should be the awareness, the knowledge of what we are consuming, and the realization of its mental, physical, and spiritual effects coupled with an honest account of its consequences.
The natural sequence should have us first looking at our drinking (or any) habits and the actions that follow those habits. Asking the question and honestly answering could be the fulcrum of a life change. Ask yourself: is my relationship with alcohol healthy or unhealthy for me? If on this point, the negative consequences are nil or minimal at best, one could carry on with the peace of mind that they are a normal drinker and that their life is manageable in alcohol consumption.
We suspect that if you are reading this blog, at this moment in your life, you may have experienced adverse consequences caused by alcohol consumption that has delivered perhaps shame, guilt, and remorse. If that is the case, we encourage you to keep reading and hang on to hope, as there are alternatives that have proven to work successfully for millions of people.
First, let us talk to the many that are on the road to recovery: Mindful living should be our goal and remembering that alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful, we should look to continue to integrate the framework laid out below as protection to the gift that we have received, the gift of sobriety and a better way to live…
For those struggling or seeking that better lifestyle, may we suggest the following pillars of approach:
TRY MONITORED AND CONTROLLED DRINKING
Pay attention to your alcohol consumption. Go so far as to keep a log. Please pay attention to how it played out based on your plan. Say you set out to have two drinks with the gang But end up having seven or more; track it. It is often said that there is a scoreboard to life. Just understand if you are winning or losing in your quest to maintain personal integrity, even while consuming alcohol or drugs. This is very much an Alcoholics Anonymous practice, as it is recommended in the big book of a.to “set out to have just one drink.” If you consistently stop after one, one can assume you have the drinking under control. If, however, the drink controls you, in other words, one leads to two leads to three, etcetera, and you cannot stop, then one could assume that you have the signs of being an alcoholic. And nobody wants to admit that. But that is the actual score. We recommend for everybody, including ourselves, that coming to terms with reality is the start of recovery. – in any area of one’s life.
PAUSE: AND THEN THINK IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH
Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.” (Quote by Bruce Feiler)
Two of the most excellent techniques we have learned through practice are the ability to stop in our tracks, pause, reflect, and analyze the scenario in front of us. The questions should be; “what is it I am planning to do, and what do I think the outcome will be”?. In the rooms of AA, there is a valued phrase that suggests “playing the tape forward.” We recommend that the precursor to this is asking the simple question; “is the drink serving a purpose, and is it the right move for me?” Experience has proven that these questions can't be asked after the first or second drink where reason is blurred - it needs to be asked before the first drink when the mind is clear. If we know the right thing to do but do the wrong thing anyway, that is a strong indicator of a serious problem. These facts are sometimes tough to deal with, but we assure you there is a solution.
At this point, we want to talk to the guy or gal who finds themselves anxious, discouraged or distraught over their current struggle and inability to stop consuming alcohol; first of all, our hearts literally go out to you, and secondly, we assure you that we, and many others, have been exactly where you are at and have been delivered to peace through acceptance and abstinence. As mentioned above, there is hope, so please continue reading - for if you find yourself in the state noted above of mind or body, we might suggest two things that could bring almost immediate relief:
BE PREPARED, HAVE A GAME PLAN
The choice of abstinence over mindful drinking can be challenging as the act of drinking has become habitual for many of us. In addition, we must add that unmonitored abstinence or sudden stoppage of alcohol consumption is dangerous in all cases. Medical monitoring and assistance are a REQUIRED prerequisite to abstinence. Take this seriously!
Trust us when we tell you that the easiest part comes after the commitment and detox. Life becomes manageable, and growth becomes possible because of all the tools that are available to each one of us. The Internet is a great place to start—search for sobriety. Read recovery blogs. Listen to sober podcasts. Download worksheets and purchase books on the subject of alternative lifestyles. Of course, we recommend the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous as it is a great read and a tremendous resource if embraced.
Can we address the elephant in the room for a moment?; How will I respond to my family and friends when offered a drink in a social setting? This question has been overthought since the beginning of time. First, real friends and close family members are presumably fully aware of your struggle and will support your decisions and lifestyle change. For others, it is as simple as responding with I'm good, or I'm not drinking tonight. We could give you 50 more responses, and we suggest that you take one of them, any response, and practice it before you hit the field. Literally, repeat it to yourself in the mirror until you're comfortable with it. At the end of the day, this is about your life. Literally.
COMMIT AND CONNECT
We leave you with these thoughts today: There is a better way of living out there. The graduation from mindful drinking can be a quality of life beyond your imagination. as we have journeyed, we have found that this is nearly impossible to achieve on one’s own. . Community of like-minded people is truly the linchpin to success. Once you have committed and come to the realization that you have had enough of a destructive lifestyle, a new lifestyle can unfold in front of you if you are surrounded by people who share that common goal. We have seen this play out time and time and time again.
If mindful means paying attention and being aware, then that could be great for most (51%) of society. But when 49% of people surveyed say they think they might have a problem with their alcohol intake, then mindful drinking, if taken to mean “controlled,” is just delaying the inevitable reality.
The hole we dig is only as deep and equal to how long we keep using the shovel. Drop it. Today.
Ideas and thoughts for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast Episode #86 Titled: “#trending Pt 2: Mindful Drinking" The podcast dropped on 11/16/2022 click here to hear the podcast
Interesting read on mindful living: link here
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions do not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be thought of as a substitute for the advice of healthcare professionals. The author's advice and viewpoints are their own.