I’ve always been interested in and curious about the spiritual side of life. As a teen I collected crystals, learned about my Dosha and was really into my horoscope. In my twenties I got into yoga and became a certified yoga teacher. I journal most days of the week, I track my menstrual cycle with the lunar cycle (seriously the Stardust app is the coolest), I meditate on the regular and I’m always curious to read the latest and greatest self-help book.
Recently I’ve decided to embrace this side of myself more fully, I’ve been reading all of Gabrielle Bernstein’s books, committing to a morning routine that includes hot lemon water, meditation and crystals, catching up with my naturopath and trying Rapid Transformational Therapy (more on that later).
I don’t know how much I “believe” in all of this stuff and I don’t really think about it whether or not it’s “real”. For me, spiritual practices can invite an opportunity for imagination and self-reflection that is always interesting and insightful. Whether I’m reading my birth chart, pulling tarot, or doing a sun salutation, I can’t deny that I always feel connected to my best self when I lean into my inner woo.
For months, I’ve been desperate to wake up earlier and have a strong start to my day. Yes I have a toddler, but he sleeps really well and will often sleep until 8 a.m. Day after day I would have this vision of myself waking up at 7 or even 6, getting a workout in and maybe some journaling before he gets up, but the days would go by I would just press snooze over and over again.
Finally, after listening to Holly Whitaker’s Quit Like a Woman in early August, something seems to have clicked. Whitaker’s book is about quitting drinking, and I listened to it out of curiosity after seeing more and more people post about cutting back or quitting alcohol. I’d partied pretty hard in the summer as things began to open up again, but I quickly realized that I wanted to find a sustainable way to go out to dinner and catch up with friends that didn’t inevitably lead to a terrible night’s sleep and a hangover. So, I checked out Whitaker’s book.
What surprised me about Quit Like a Woman is that it ended up having a lot of the core messages and teachings of so many of my favourite self-help books. Whitaker mentioned Gabrielle Bernstein – whose books I had just checked out from the library at the time – she talked about meditation, hot lemon water, and using essential oils and crystals. Essentially, Whitaker’s book is about replacing alcohol with woo, and I was very into it (I also highly recommend the book, regardless of your relationship with alcohol, you’re bound to get something out of it).
I think it’s impossible to read a book on sobriety and not cut back on alcohol. I didn’t drink at all the week that I listened to Quit Like a Woman, and then cut way back on drinking for the rest of August. Now, I’m on day six of a dry September, something I’d been considering doing for a few months anyway. Cutting back on drinking has honestly been surprisingly easy. I’ve replaced my evening wine with bubbly water, went to a friend’s birthday drinks and came home sober, (waking up with no hangover after a night out rules btw), and spent a week at a cottage guzzling LaCroix. Now that it’s September, it feels positively easy and obvious to not drink at all this month, and we’ll see if my alcohol break trickles into October. I don’t feel like I need to go on a bender on October 1st to make up for anything, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
The icky, uncomfortable, and brutally honest truth about looking at your own relationship with alcohol is that the only way to know if alcohol is getting in the way of your life is to remove it. If, like most adults, you’re having several drinks a week, and you’ve done so for several years, it can be hard to imagine what your life looks like without alcohol. The only way to really see what an alcohol-free life looks like is to give it a try and take a drinking break.
As it turns out, who I am when I don’t drink is a creative engine who’s into crystals and meditation and spiritual guidance. Go figure.
The morning routine
As Whitaker suggests, I’ve taken my drinking break as an opportunity to establish a morning routine that includes hot lemon water and meditation. I’ve been using the Fabulous app to keep track of my routine and hold me accountable, and I’ve been amazed at how centred and energized I feel after just a few minutes to myself in the morning. Bonus: I never forget to take my vitamins any more either, because supplements is just part of my established morning routine now.
As it turns out, it’s way easier to wake up earlier if I haven’t had even one glass of wine the night before, and it’s way easier to go to bed earlier if I don’t feel like I need to finish said glass of wine.
After months and months of desperately wondering why I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed, being frustrated that I feel like I’m scrambling at the beginning of the day, I finally feel like I’m taking steps to live my best life and unveil my highest self to the world.
Leaning into woo
I figured since morning meditation and hot lemon water really does make you feel like a million bucks, why not continue to nurture my spiritual side and see what happens? So I ordered a starter set of crystals, and now meditate with a few of them in hand every day. I’ve also been reading my daily horoscope, pulling virtual affirmation cards from Gabrielle Bernstein’s apps and I’ve got a mantra app to send me inspiring messages throughout the day. These practices are a great alternative to a morning Instagram scroll.
My friend and I did moon salutations under the August blue moon, I’ve got a plan to pull tarot cards with friends around the fall equinox, and I have no plan on slowing down my adventure into the spiritual world as I continue to deepen my relationship with myself and the universe.
Just this past weekend, I worked with my dear friend and certified hypnotherapist Emma Heywood to have a Rapid Transformational Therapy session. I’ll write about that in more detail later (it’s a juicy one), but for now I’ll say that if you’ve ever considered RTT, run. Don’t walk. It more than lives up to the hype.
It’s so easy to look at spiritual practices with judgement. We can laugh at ourselves for pulling cards or liking crystals, rolling our eyes at the notion that “people really believe this stuff”, but what if we could look the world of woo with curiosity instead of judgement, inviting spiritual practices into our lives as a chance to reflect and play, rather than wondering if any of it is “real”.
As for alcohol, I haven’t given it up for good. I can’t really imagine going through the winter months without an occasional glass of red wine, or celebrating NYE without bubbly, but I hope to be able to take a conscious and significantly more moderate approach to drinking at that point. I’ve realized I don’t really like being drunk and boy do I hate being hungover, so we’ll see what a balanced approach to drinking looks like in the future. For now, I’m happily ticking off the days of #SoberSeptember, crystals in hand.