Meditating into Sobriety with Rory Kinsella



Meditation and Your Sober Journey

Here at Tribe Sober we encourage people to quit drinking and then to go on and learn to thrive in their alcohol-free lives.  We offer free coaching, hypnotherapy and an online yoga course and various therapies..  It’s important to experiment, to get back in touch with what you really like to do – it’s all about building a life that you don’t want to escape from.

My guest this week is a meditation teacher in Australia who offers a course called “6 Steps for not Quite Alcoholics” – he is offering to help people to change their relationship with alcohol from a different angle. He is suggesting that they meditate daily for a few weeks and then see how they feel about their drinking.

Rory shares his own struggles with alcohol and explains that once he got into meditation he found that alcohol no longer fitted in with his healthy lifestyle.

I began by asking Rory to introduce himself.

In this Episode

  • After Uni, Rory joined a band and then became a music journalist – and going to free gigs/festivals were all part of the job.
  • All his relationships during his 20’s were built around drinking, partying and having a good time.
  • He moved to Australia at the age of 31 and became a “lifestyle journalist” – he was expecting this job to be less boozy than that of a music journalist but he was wrong.
  • He was sent to review a week-long vodka festival in New Zealand and then was sent on a 3-day trip to Las Vegas to reviews bars and restaurants…
  • Rory started to notice that his hangovers were getting more severe and that it was taking him longer to recover.
  • At his 35th birthday party, he had what he calls an early midlife crisis – DJ’ing at a warehouse party he realised he was not enjoying himself – the combination of drugs and alcohol was making him feel paranoid and he wasn’t even enjoying the music. He decided he just didn’t want to be living this kind of life at 45.
  • He quit smoking and DJing the next day but carried on drinking – although he had an inkling that life might be better without it, he was nowhere near accepting that he must stop.
  • However he did start exercising – and being an “all or nothing” kind of person (like most of us drinkers) he was soon running marathons.
  • His running made him realise that he could access serotonin and endorphins which could change his consciousness without using chemicals.
  • As he puts it so well – he was able to access the “infinite pharmacy within”!
  • As Rory got fitter, he started to explore different types of meditation and began to feel that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • He discovered Vedic meditation which is what he now teaches.
  • Meditation was reducing his triggers and his stress so he was drinking less but still going on binges.
  • Once he got healthier, he realised that alcohol no longer fitted his lifestyle – his body was clean and he didn’t like the effect of booze.
  • Rory’s approach is – rather than say “Don’t Drink for 30 Days” he says “Meditate twice a day for 30 Days” and don’t think about alcohol. So, in other words, focus on your meditation practice and you will gradually lose the desire to drink.
  • His turning point came 4 years after starting his meditation practice – he was teaching by then and just didn’t feel authentic drinking and teaching meditation so he quit.
  • I love his wise monkey analogy – when we wake up we have a credit of 3 wise monkeys – they get used up during the day and we need a crutch to keep us going – and that’s when the wine monkey comes out!
  • So he advises topping up your wise monkeys (or adaptation energy) with a meditation practice in the evening – that will put your back in charge and keep the wine monkey away!
  • Rory believes that we must focus on building various “systems” to sustain our sobriety – meditation is part of that system as is exercise, healthy eating and community support.
  • The “systems” approach really helps because when you have a slip-up the reaction should be “let’s look at the system and maybe change something?” rather than “OMG I’m such a failure”!
  • Another great analogy from Rory was the “tanker” analogy – if you change the direction of a huge ship then it’s going to take a while before it moves and heads off in the right direction. Just as “if you’ve been drinking for decades and stop – it’s going to take a while to settle in to your sobriety and experience the benefits”.
  • Here at Tribe Sober we hear a some people say “I’m 3 months sober and don’t feel any benefits yet!” But that’s the joy of community – people who have been sober for longer will pile in and say “hold on – it does get better!”
  • Our members go on a 7-step program which helps them to explore what “systems” would work well for them – coaching, yoga, hypnotherapy and various types of therapy are all on offer so that people can sample them and see what works for them.
  • Now that he is sober, Rory has much more time and energy to do the things he wants to. He reflected back on how it was taking him a few days to recover from his drinking sessions – yes, he was functional but only doing the bare minimum and experiencing a void in his creativity.
  • As he says we often hear people saying that they don’t have time to pursue their goals. But it’s often more about not having the energy – we have to remember that alcohol saps our energy and motivation.
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us, it prevents us from reaching our potential!
  • Rory helped me to realise that meditation does not have to involve clearing our minds of all thoughts – if we go the Vedic Meditation route then we just have to focus on a mantra.
  • You can hear Rory talk about his “6 step” course which will help you to stop drinking via meditation – read more about it on his website
  • His podcast is called Not Quite Alcoholics and my interview with him is on Episode 7.

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