Note: This is the same general practice as the Coffee Mindfulness Meditation, but with some slight variations.
Are you living your life consciously or through unconscious patterns?
Are you mind-full or mindful?
If you’re mind-full (lost in thought), you’re living life on auto-pilot, unconsciously reacting to everything that comes your way. It’s essentially sleepwalking through life while being entirely possessed by your own thoughts. Mindfulness is the solution.
Mindfulness is the practice that everything else hinges upon. It allows you to be completely present, establishes awareness regarding your thoughts/emotions and puts you in a position of empowerment to choose your actions in every moment.
Here’s yet another fun way to practice mindfulness: with alcohol. Now before you think I’m telling you to go chug a 12-pack, let me clarify a bit.
Alcohol and Mindfulness
The combination of alcohol and mindfulness almost seems counterintuitive, as alcohol’s effects beget less mindfulness and less conscious awareness. But when mindfulness is applied throughout the process of consuming a single drink (yes, just one), it is one of the best and most enjoyable mindfulness practices. You get the enhanced sensory experience of drinking the alcohol with complete presence. You also provide yourself space to actually feel the light buzz slowly infuse your system.
Alcohol is by far the most heavily abused substance in our modern Western culture. It’s a legal drug, a multi-billion dollar industry and an enhancer of many harmful acts. Also, it’s called “spirits” for a reason, but that’s another tangent. Like I said, alcohol’s effects make us less mindful, and that’s why it’s even more important to apply this mindfulness practice. We should be able to consume anything we want (freedom!). But without a foundation of self-mastery, anything we do can become extremely imbalanced and problematic.
It can be argued that some forms of alcohol are beneficial in the range of 1-2 servings, but beyond 2 drinks alcohol is undeniably toxic and damaging (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). So remember, if you’re consuming more than 2 servings (or even one if you’re small), you’re choosing to poison yourself.
If you’re completely mindful, you’ll have no interest in binge drinking anyway. From a state of mindfulness, you will be able to hear your body’s signals loud and clear. So instead of mindless, unconscious consumption (which is the mode most people operate in), you’re presented with the choice to mindfully enjoy what you’re drinking. Again, choice is a superpower.
The Alcohol Mindfulness Meditation
I recommend doing this with a good quality alcoholic beverage that you enjoy the taste of. I’m talking about a good craft beer, glass of wine or your favorite liquor on the rocks. The goal here is enjoyment and being mindful of the effects, not drinking for the sake of drinking. My preference for this is a strong, tasty IPA.
1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to yourself to sit – Make sure there are no distractions, leave your phone alone while you do this.
2. Mindfully drink your drink – Focus on the subtleties of the taste, the texture, the smell…etc. Deeply immerse yourself in the experience.
3. When you’re finished drinking your drink, close your eyes and just sit for 20 minutes, observing your body (you can set an alarm for something like 25 minutes before you drink your drink if you want).
4. Relax completely – Let go of any tension. Let go of your to do list. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Relax into the present moment.
5. Feel the changes in your body – Notice any tingling, flowing, rushes of energy, warm and fuzziness or any other sensations. Focusing on the body also has the benefit of getting you out of your head. Most people are lost in thought 24/7 and they don’t even know it.
6. After 20 minutes, get up and go about your day or night with a renewed sense of mindfulness.
Like with coffee or anything else you ingest, keep in mind that the effects really start to kick in at about the 15 minute mark.
You can even do a loose version of this practice when with other people, just by being mindful while drinking and tuning into your body.
Bringing a mindfulness practice to alcohol consumption is life-changing. It really is. Apply this practice and bask in your own journey of self-discovery.
Find Your Balance
My body usually tells me to stop after one or two drinks. Alcohol is poison after all. If you consume mindfully, you’ll enjoy it more. And you become hyper-aware of your body’s signals to stop, which makes it harder to binge drink. If you’re mindful, you’re literally forced to contemplate on why you want to continue drinking even though your body is telling you to stop. I guarantee that you won’t drink a lot if you’re completely mindful with each sip you take.
People only get intoxicated to drop their inhibitions and forget about problems. There are thousands of other ways to do this without poisoning the body. Practice mindfulness every day and you’ll naturally learn how to troubleshoot your own fears and problems.
For the last 3 months I’ve applied mindfulness to alcohol consumption. In doing so, I enjoy the taste much more (and only drink what I actually enjoy instead of for the purpose of getting drunk). When I go out, I’ll have 1-2 (sometimes 3) drinks, depending on how my body is feeling. I’ve also spent the last year actively stalking my shadows, releasing fears and letting go of limiting beliefs, so I don’t need alcohol to have fun or express myself. That’s freeing in and of itself.
Live mindfully and enjoy yourself.
– Stevie P!
For more on meditation, check out my Introduction to Meditation.