• Kallistos

Tarot Wisdom: How to Stop Drinking and Quit Alcohol

Over the years, I have worked with many clients on resolving numerous troubles, hardships, and addictions. Perhaps the most pernicious and dangerous of these bad habits is drinking alcohol.

Plenty of people admit that they wish to stop drinking. The reasons for wanting to quit alcohol are numerous. When drunk, obviously people do stupid things. Although they can still recognize risks, they tend not to care about either the risks or the associated consequences.

Yes, drinking can be fun, and it can be a social experience. Many people worry that if they were to quit drinking, they would be less amusing, less funny, less sociable, less interesting, and so on.

That is all true. But let us be clear: drinking alcohol provides no real, long-term benefit. Drinking hurts you, damages your health (both in the short and long-term), harms the people around you (physically, emotionally, or both), often pushes you toward lying and deceit (lying about your problems both to yourself and to others), and generally destroys your life piece-by-piece, drink-by-drink.

Alcohol is nothing more than drug used to make people feel (temporarily) more enthusiastic, extroverted, and talkative---in other words, to make up for a lack of these traits naturally. Rather than hiding your inadequacies, your lack of social skills, and your troubles behind the haze of alcohol, you should learn, build, and develop the social skills and abilities that will strengthen and improve your entire life.

Some would think that if you are trying to quit drinking alcohol, all you need to do is simply avoid booze. This is not correct, and this assumption is one of the reasons why so many people who try to quit fail to do so. If you are trying to stop drinking, you are not doing so just to avoid alcohol itself; your true goal is to redesign and improve your life.

Despite all of the "twelve step" programs out there (all with varying efficacy), there are really only three steps you need to take in order to quit alcohol for good.

First, think about your life and recognize what matters to you. It helps if you write this down, and list as many things and people as you can think of. All of these things, and all of these people, will be at some point negatively-affected by your drinking habit. Some day, you will be so drunk that you will hurt, screw up, or otherwise bring disaster to them. Think of all of the ways the things and people on your list could be harmed by your drinking habit.

Second, think and find something better than alcohol. Think of something better to do than to drink. If you cannot---if drinking really is at the top of your list of fun activities (it probably isn't)---then your life needs a major restructuring, because a life that revolves around drinking is a life that will be cut short and will bring harm to others, too.

Alcohol is enjoyable for many people, and "social drinking" may be fun for you. So, you need to replace this not just with the philosophy that you are now going to avoid making stupid mistakes (and bad consequences) by drinking, but that you also are going to enjoy life more because you have replaced drinking with a more enjoyable and pleasurable activity that is also healthier. You need to replace alcohol with going on an adventure---you need a healthy thrill-ride that is not just an alternative to drinking, but an all-around better experience.

If alcohol has you in its grip, then you must find something to live for in order to escape.

Third, now that you have identified the disasters to escape from, as well as the joys to run towards, start running. Quit drinking.

If you fail or slip, there is no need to accuse yourself in anger and curse yourself endlessly. Rather, strive onward and try again. And again. And again---until eventually, you will have stopped drinking.

While working towards your goal of improvement, there is one dangerous pitfall to avoid: there will most likely be people in your life and immediate social circle who will try to prevent you from achieving victory. And most of these people are ones you would call, right now, "friends." You probably even drink with them.

When you turn down a drink, your "friends" may object. They may question your goal of rebuilding your life and saving yourself and your (true) friends and family.

Understand this well: these people are not your friends. They are mere acquaintances at best, and may even be enemies at worst.

A true friend will listen to you. A true friend will hear the good news about your goal to stop drinking, and will be happy for you, not envious, jealous, or skeptical.

Quitting drinking is, interestingly, a good opportunity to find out who your real friends are. Do they listen to and support you, or do they question your goal and try to drag you down into alcoholic hell with themselves?

Once you have discovered false friends, you must give them up. Move on. Find real friends. Even just one true friend is better than scores of deceitful and jealous "friends".

If you need help and support with quitting alcohol, then please schedule a professional Tarot consultation with Druid Tarot now.

To help you get started, here is a Tarot card spread for a self-reading that you can perform.

Significator: The Devil.

This card stands as the Significator for this reading, because the Devil symbolizes addiction and enslavement.

1st Position: What Matters to You

If this card is positive, then it shows an aspect of a person or thing which is valuable to you, and would be harmed by your continued drinking; follow this up by thinking how your drinking could harm that person or thing. If this card is negative, then it shows a consequence of your drinking that will affect someone or something in your life; follow this up by thinking about who or what is most likely to be affected (it may even be you yourself).

2nd Position: What To Do Instead

If this card is positive, then it shows an aspect of an activity that you can and should do instead of drinking. If this card is negative, then it shows a problem that could be resolved by taking part in a specific activity; consider what that activity could entail.

3rd Position: Outcome of Your Victory

If this card is positive, then it shows an aspect of how your life will improve directly as a result of your eventual success at no longer drinking. If this card is negative, then it shows a negative consequence that your success at no longer drinking will avoid or erase from your life.

The following example reading was performed by Druid Tarot for one of our long-term clients, who has given his permission to share his story in hopes that it will help someone else.

Example Reading: Daniel's Struggle with Alcohol

Over a decade ago on one early afternoon, Daniel visited me. His eyes were red and swollen, apparently from tears. He told me he wanted a Tarot reading to help with his drinking problem.

I asked him if he had seen a doctor, or been part of any programs. He had; he had gone to AA meetings, tried to follow several multiple-step programs, and was part of three support counseling groups---all to no avail. He did not know anything about Tarot, and had assumed it was just a bunch of hocus-pocus nonsense, but a friend of his had recently consulted with us over a different problem and had recommended that Daniel give us a try.

He had nothing to lose. This morning, he said, his wife---who didn't drink---had told him that she was leaving. She'd be taking their three kids, too.

The reason was because of Daniel's recurring alcohol problem, of course; he would go out drinking with friends, and he kept slipping from programs because they would discourage him from following the steps, saying things like "One drink won't hurt". He would fall for that again and again, until he'd eventually stagger into his home late at night---he was smart enough not to drive, and to call taxis at least---many hours after he had said he'd come back.

Last night had been his daughter's birthday party, and though he had expected to be home by 6 in time for the party, he hadn't come into the door until 4 AM the next morning---having completely forgotten, thanks to his drunken stupor.

We spoke for a long time before we started the reading proper. I explained the card spread to him and what it would show. Eventually, it was time to draw the cards.

For the first position, signifying what mattered to Daniel, we drew the III of Cups, reversed. The III of Cups symbolizes abundance, celebrations, family, and friendships. Because Cups are associated with Water, all of these meanings are associated with feelings and emotions.

When reversed, the III of Cups' meanings take on their negative aspects: abundance becomes want; celebrations fail; family dissolves; friendships break.

In this position, the reversed III of Cups clearly indicated that Daniel's family (and friendships, eventually) would collapse as a result of his continued drinking. Given his wife's announcement, this came as no surprise to Daniel, and he was visibly surprised to see this card appear immediately.

I stressed that his wife was certainly not overreacting. Daniel's drinking habit would indeed harm her and their children, and she was perfectly right to remove herself and them from the situation. Daniel needed to resolve his situation for good in order to have a chance at retaining his marriage and his family.

The next position signified what Daniel should do instead of drinking. Here we drew the VII of Wands. The VII of Wands symbolizes advocacy, challenges, courage, effort, and standing strong in the face of adversity.

Daniel reacted immediately with a thought spoken out loud: "Could this be practicing law?"

It turned out that Daniel had once been a practicing lawyer. Now, in his forties, he had moved into teaching law, more or less---he served as a head adviser for a law firm. He told me how he used to work directly with clients, and how much he had enjoyed choosing clients who had been wronged and championing them until they won justice.

I asked him if he had drank alcohol then. No, he said, or not much; he started drinking heavily about a year after taking on his newest advisory position. He started out drinking with the heads of the law firm after late days at work to socialize with them. That soon turned into his going to the same bar alone and making "friends" with the regulars.

I told Daniel that he should strongly consider returning to working with clients. Although in some ways that might be a step down in his career, he would be assuredly more content and fulfilled.

The third card signified the outcome if Daniel triumphed over his alcoholism. Here, we drew the Ace of Swords. The Ace of Swords symbolizes beginnings, decisions, and success. Swords are associated with Air, which in turn symbolizes the rational mind, so each of the meanings of this card correspond to logical outcomes.

Here, the Ace of Swords showed that if Daniel were to quit truly, then he would---rather naturally---achieve the logical outcome. His family would remain together. His friendships---his true friendships---would stay strong. His life would go on.

One week later, Daniel---who had stayed sober---was able to convince his wife to come back home with the kids.

Now, it is over a decade since that first meeting and consultation with Daniel. Within two months, he returned to be a practicing lawyer and once again worked directly with clients. This excitement and the passion which he derived from this activity helped to steer and keep him away from alcohol. His kids have all grown up and gotten married. His wife, loving him more than ever, is still by his side.

Daniel has not had a sip of alcohol since our first consultation.

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