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Are you sober curious this holiday season?

With the holidays bearing down, parties and gatherings that include alcohol abound. Have you ever been sober curious?

What actually happens when you don’t drink? Can you get closer to God being sober? Is being alcohol- and drug-free a path to higher consciousness?

When someone has a spiritual awakening, are they usually sober first to get to that place, or do you get sober once you have a spiritual awakening?  So many questions … let’s start with this one.

What’s the longest you have gone without a drink?

Before I got sober, nine years ago now, I remember going to the doctor for a checkup and them asking how many drinks I had in a week. The maximum on the intake sheet was six per week, and I had to lie because I would sometimes have that many in one day … at least.

And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking about God. Unless, of course, there were blue and red lights flashing behind me after I had gotten behind the wheel after a few cocktails. Then it was, “God, get me out of this, and I swear I’ll never drink again.” Until I picked up the next day, I mean, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

And now, with all the gastropubs, whisky and tequila bars, and mixology making a comeback in millennials’ living rooms, drinking is encouraged, promoted and available everywhere. It’s culturally and socially acceptable, an expected rite of passage.

sober curious
Making New Year’s resolutions is a perfect time to set some new goals and spiritual aspirations that can be enhanced by embracing sobriety. Courtesy photo

But when one turns into three and three turns into a blackout, it might be a good time to take a look at yourself and what you might be trying to numb out with the use of alcohol.

These days, those on a spiritual quest for enlightenment rarely, if ever, imbibe in alcohol. It blocks out the sunlight of the Spirit. If you are trying to recover from a hangover, you probably aren’t meditating.

For example, if you got a DUI, you are probably too busy dealing with overconsumption’s legal and financial ramifications to think about God. Invariably, you may end up being ordered by a judge to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting as part of your restitution for being drunk in public.

In this case, God is an acronym for a Group of Drunks.

Most people don’t want to admit they have a chronic or habitual drinking problem.

Society norms that outweigh a person’s reasoning process and the intense peer pressure surrounding our culture and society raise the probability of developing a drinking problem even if nothing bad ever happened to you, like a DUI, divorce, or accident.

So what is an alcoholic going to look like in 2022? The hobo with the 40-ounce bottle in a brown paper bag sleeping on the park bench? Not so much anymore. Alcoholics are men and women who have lost the power to control and manage their drinking.

This could end up with just a DUI and a new attitude toward life, or it could run for decades until one’s bottom comes up to meet them in a myriad of pitiful, incomprehensible and demoralizing ways.

The number of high-functioning, high-profile alcoholics seems staggering in our society. And it seems to only become visible to the problem drinker after some tragedy or loss befalls them.

When a person finally admits they have a problem with alcohol, it may or may not be too late. We are super fortunate in San Diego to have hundreds of solutions if you are interested in changing your relationship with alcohol.

Round-the-clock AA meetings, in-person throughout North County or via Zoom, are one possible solution.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and substance use disorders.

Spiritual counseling and soul realignment treatments and centers that promote healing on a spiritual level are available throughout San Diego County.

A stint in rehab can set your thinking straight and give you a chance to detox from the poisons that alcohol inflict on your body and vital organs and experience what happens when you put down the drink for a few days in a row.

Learning new habits and understanding alcoholism as a progressive disease can be fast-tracked at a residential treatment center like Villa Kali Ma

“We focus on the underlying conditions and root causes that exacerbate the condition,” says Kay White, founder and executive director.

White specializes in treating the mental health aspects of addiction. Participants are guided through the 30-day stay with six therapists and a team of holistic healers on staff.

A plan is also custom designed and created for after-care programs that address impulse control and learning new habits has been highly successful.

“The Yogic path gave me a spiritual experience. Being sober, I can now feel the presence of the Divine working through me,” says White.

Villa Kali Ma uses spiritual principles to assist in the recovery process. The condition never really goes away, but cultivating new healthy habits can arrest alcoholism.

And it’s better to have the disease arrested than you breaking out in handcuffs every time you pick up a drink.

In the book, “This Naked Mind,” by Annie Grace, the author offers new and positive solutions by presenting alcohol use’s psychological and neurological components based on the latest science.

If you are curious whether drinking has become too big a part of your life and worry that it may be affecting your health and relationships, give sobriety a chance by looking at yourself as sober curious. Tapering off before you quit entirely keeps it going one day at a time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, dialing 211 San Diego is the region’s trusted source for information and connections to the community, health, and disaster resources.

Highly trained staff is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in more than 200 languages.

A database of more than 6,000 services and resources is updated on a real-time basis with Community Connectors that help connect San Diegans to the accurate information they need if you don’t know where to turn and a situation becomes escalated.

People are going through a lot these days, but drinking to excess never fixes those problems, and it can add another layer of other issues if you are not mindful.

Making New Year’s resolutions is a perfect time to set some new goals and spiritual aspirations that can be enhanced by embracing sobriety.