Dear Double Vision:
I recently read that getting inebriated will not only open us up to attachment by earthbound spirits, but actually attract ghosts that want to experience drinking through us. I’m wondering what you think about this. Do you think it’s always spiritually risky to drink alcohol at all? Is this perhaps why so many religions forbid the consumption of alcohol?
As with so many spiritual questions, the answer probably lies in moderation. Although some people choose not to drink at all and some religions forbid it, it is when one takes drinking to an extreme that it becomes a problem.
When people drink to the point of being tipsy or drunk, they lose control. Their defenses come down and they become more open, which makes it easy for both earthbound spirits and ghosts to attach themselves to that person. For those who drink to the point of becoming alcoholics, it is easy to see how their lives begin to unravel. This could be because they are now under the influence of an earthbound spirit or negative entity.
When we’re under the influence of too much alcohol or drugs, our connection to Spirit is weakened. We are no longer protected by a higher source and guided in making wise choices. Besides the obvious dangers of driving while intoxicated and losing one’s moral compass, it is easier than ever for a malevolent spirit to move in and take over. Ghosts may move in to experience the sensation of drinking, and once they have a strong hold on a person, refuse to leave of their own accord.
It is interesting to note that, depending on our heritage and cultural background, various ethnicities are affected by substance abuse in different ways. For example, Native Americans seek spiritual experiences by using peyote or psychedelic mushrooms, while people of European descent are more likely to use these substances in a recreational manner. On the other hand, drinking alcohol can cause great distress to Native Americans, while other ethnicities tolerate it without incident. Though these examples involve genetic differences, they also suggest that depending on who a person is and which spiritual path they are on, certain substances can lead to a spiritual awakening, while others can open us up to harm.
We live in a world filled with people who are addicted to one thing or another, be it a substance (alcohol, drugs, food) or behavior (gambling, shopping). Not only are people being robbed of their spiritual connection through these addictions, but earthbound spirits can attach to them and start running their lives. This is why one of the most effective ways to break an addiction involves reconnecting with Spirit, which is of course the foundation of 12-step programs.
As one who is trying to live a spiritual life, you could find it difficult to maintain your sense of personal power and psychic gifts when under the influence of alcohol. If this is the case, it is best not to tempt fate, as once an earthbound spirit or negative entity becomes attached to someone, it can be very difficult to clear.
Religions vary when it comes to their relationships with alcohol. Some, including Islam and certain Christian sects like Mormons and Southern Baptists, forbid alcohol consumption altogether. Others, like Buddhism and Hinduism, caution their members to use alcohol and all intoxicants with restraint. Some religions use alcohol ritually, as in drinking wine during Communion, and some monastic communities raise money by making wine and brewing beer.
While drinking alcohol in moderation may provide health benefits for those who are middle-aged and older, drinking to the point of inebriation can put many precious blessings at risk, including family relationships, health, freedom and finances. In my opinion, attracting an otherworldly nuisance is far from the first thing we should be worried about in regards to alcohol consumption, given the other spiritual and physical risks of getting drunk.
An overdose of alcohol can kill you; note that the root of the word intoxicated is ‘toxic,’ meaning poisonous. Alcohol impairs our judgment and ability to function, as any poison would. Any amount of drinking during pregnancy can result in fetal alcohol syndrome because the tiny fetus is exposed to the same level of alcohol that her grown mother is consuming. Aside from attracting a ghost of poor character, drinking to excess makes you vulnerable to people of poor character or – worse – can lead you to become one. The most effective form of alcoholism treatment is the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Their 12-steps to sobriety include connecting with a Higher Power while improving upon character.
Plato identified four cardinal virtues that a healthy civilization rests upon: prudence or wisdom, temperance or moderation, justice or fairness, and fortitude or courage. Intoxication impairs all of them. We are less likely to be wise, moderate and fair when we’re drunk, and our courage can get overblown into recklessness.
Although temperance once meant abstinence in regards to alcohol, it has since come to mean moderation – a value that’s been prescribed throughout human history. In ancient Greece, the temple of Apollo bore the inscription ‘Meden Agan,’ meaning ‘Nothing In Excess.’ The Swedish word ‘lagom’ translates to ‘just right – neither too much nor too little,’ the wisdom of which Goldilocks discovered when she tested the porridge and beds of The Three Bears.
Make a list of your favorite pleasures and assign them a place in your life that rests at the balancing point between self-denial and over-indulgence. My list might include a weekly delectable dessert, a monthly glass of fine wine, and an annual retreat into nature.
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