Respect The Spirit
A Ritual of Moderation
Unveiling Day 2020 flask design and production by Scott Malphas
Hi, I'm Dresden and I'm an alcoholic.
Or something. Time and time again, I have tried to drink like a "normal" person, and time and time again, it gets away from me. I'm currently on day 12 of another stint with "sobriety". A favorite joke of mine is that I'm not sober, I'm just dry-curious. The following was written prior to this current period of abstinence, and I want to share it in case it could be of some use to anyone else who struggles with moderation. ----
Something I’ve learned from my studies of addiction is that a big part of it is ritual. This can be true of substances as well as other destructive behaviors, whether we realize it or not. It stands to reason, then, that to change our relationship with a substance or harmful activity, we can change the ritual. We may not recognize what our current ritual is, but if we pay attention, we’ll notice it. If you, like me, struggle with moderation of a substance, establish a new ritual. One in which you intentionally partake, with mindfulness, instead of the automatic gluttonous consumption you may be used to. Pay attention to the type, the amount, the actions, and the feelings you experience. Similarly to how a gun owner must respect their weapon and handle it with safety in mind, similarly to how a driver must be aware and careful of the destructive power they wield, so too must a substance user treat potentially dangerous, mind-altering chemicals with the respect owed them. In my own effort to modify my use of alcohol, I have changed my ritual. I noticed that I don’t have much of a problem when I am with others, but if I drink alone I sometimes go overboard. The first major change I made to my ritual is to move my supply into another room. It has been moved out of the kitchen and into my ritual chamber. This chamber already represents mindfulness and self care in my mind, so this is helpful. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a private space like this, but there may be some other way to change the location of your supply. I have also decided to change the type of alcohol I use. A long time ago, a friend told me, “if you learn how to drink right, you don’t have to drink a lot.” For a while now, I’ve been drinking beer. Sometimes fancy local stouts and porters, but often just a 6-pack of something cheap that will get the job done. This has been bad on my wallet sometimes, and bad on my waistline always. So now, I want to “drink right”. To me, this means: get a bottle of liquor that at least *feels* fancy and meaningful to me. Something slightly pricey that will feel like I’m treating myself, even if I only have a little. I went to the store and browsed around for such a thing. I knew it would probably be whiskey. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for until I saw it. J&B is an expensive-enough whiskey that has special meaning for me. It was something I shared with my former partner who recently passed away. Perfect. With these changes in place, I can now begin the new ritual. Obviously, this is personal to me and my situation. You can change it however you feel will best help you to mindfully and respectfully honor yourself and your substance. In my case, I chose to limit my use to 2 servings, so you will see that I prepare one drink, and set aside a second serving for later. Items: Bottle of Spirit
Shot Glass (for measuring)
In the kitchen, prepare your glass with ice cubes.
Bring your glass into the ritual chamber and close the door. Set the glass on the table.
Open the bottle of Spirit and pour one shot into the shot glass.
My body is mine, and I will treat it with care.
Pour the shot into the glass, over ice. This is your first drink.
My mind is my own, and I will alter it if I wish.
Pour a second shot. Save this to make another drink later. This will be all you need tonight.
My life is mine, and I will live deliciously and within reason.
Close the bottle and put it back in its place. It will not be touched again tonight.
Pick up your glass.
Cheers! Hail Satan!
Have your first sip. The ritual is complete and you may either stay in the ritual chamber and engage in other pleasurable things, or roam about the house.
If you, like me, have found that you are better off abstaining (even temporarily) you can still adapt the ritual for your purposes. Like I said, part of drinking for me is to feel like I am spoiling myself - that I have earned a treat and can now indulge. When I am not drinking alcohol, if I don't have a different way of spoiling myself, this can lead me to feel left out, deprived, unworthy, and that I'm somehow a reject or failure. And these feelings can lead back to the bottle. So, in these times, I will replace my alcohol with another "fancy" beverage. Perhaps a cold-pressed juice or expensive smoothie. Drinking vinegars and kombucha have worked well, because they give a hint of unpleasantness, just like alcohol does - mmm disgusting! And of course, we can modify the words to the ritual to fit this purpose. For example: My body is mine, and I will treat it with care. My mind is mine, and today I choose clarity.
My life is mine, and I will live deliciously and within reason. Remember: Any choice you make with your body is valid. It is just as Satanic to abstain as it is to indulge. Make choices that best suit your beliefs and goals, and then Go Hail Yourself!