24Life: What did you discover about yourself?
RW: I realized how alcohol is a weak imitation of joy, inspiration, confidence, connection and an overall sense of aliveness, something that is uniquely ours and that is cosmically generated from within. I learned how to disrupt the myths and beliefs I had created for myself and to get through a number of “sober firsts.” I gained courage and empowerment that come from learning to navigate the diverse obstacles and pressures of our drinking culture. On the other side of that, I got a glimpse of the well-being that is available when I gave up drinking.
It was a journey, and along the way, I learned how to find community, how to overcome FOMA—fear of missing alcohol. How to commit to my well-being, how to build stronger relationships and forge friendships, how to trust my mental fortitude and intrinsically balance my emotions without an extrinsic substance. I discovered not only my innate confidence but [also] my inspired self and a belief in my ability to contribute something valuable to the world.
24Life: Is this a path for someone who is addicted?
RW: If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol or to anything, seek professional help and do it right away. I think the fact that AA offers unlimited, free, peer-to-peer counseling and support for people struggling with addiction is an amazing thing. There needs to be more of this in every area of life. Get support. And I believe that anyone who drinks on a regular basis is a little addicted to alcohol. Our brains are biologically hard-wired to form an attachment to alcohol. It is one of the five most addictive substances and is marketed to us from every angle from a very young age. It is important to recognize how drinking can become habitual—and in recognizing this, we can begin to address some of the stigma that surrounds the subject of alcoholism, in turn making it less shameful so that we can begin questioning our relationships to alcohol.