Sober Curious with Ruby WarringtonJun 11, 2020
Would life be better without alcohol? It’s the nagging question more and more of us are finding harder to ignore, whether we have a “problem” with alcohol or not. Ruby Warrington is the author of Sober Curious and one of the leading voices of the new sobriety movement. When we question why we drink on autopilot, the answers lead us deep into what it means to live an empowered, fulfilling life.
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Over the past couple of months, we have talked a lot about addiction on the show. I certainly have a new understanding of the word largely thanks to my conversations with Russell Brand. We tend to associate that word addiction with acute drug or alcohol misuse. But, understood more broadly, addiction can relate to a myriad of unhealthy attachments, external agents that we seek out in search of wholeness and happiness. And often these habits are insidious, and by extension are harder to address. They are not going to kill you but they will keep you limping through life.
Even if we’re not in acute addiction, why do we use alcohol in every social setting from weddings to funerals, from celebrations to times of sadness? Why do we need this external agent to lubricate our connection with one another?
For me, I often relied on a drink as a means to address my social anxiety, to “loosen” me up, to overcome an innate introversion. As I now look at it more closely, I ask the question, “why do I need this? Do I lack the self-esteem and confidence to just be my authentic self? Do I constantly need to fit in, to alter who I am in order to be accepted?
These are some of the questions Ruby Warrington addresses on the show today and in her newest book, Sober Curious. This book applies a non-dogmatic approach to sobriety, one that pokes at the roots of what our society might refer to as “functional alcoholism.” I like Ruby’s approach because it’s not black and white, it’s just conscious... and so many of our behaviors around alcohol are not. She even explores the legitimate use of alcohol at certain times.
Ruby is also a journalist, public speaker and founder of The Numinous, a website exploring the panoply of wellness and spiritual modalities of the “Now Age.”
My name is Jeff Krasno. And welcome to Commune.
Ruby Warrington: So my name is Ruby Warrington, and I'm an author. That's what I call myself these days.
Jeff Krasno: Well, you're more than that. You have the Numinous. You're an event promoter. You're journalist.
Ruby Warrington: Okay, yeah, I'm a speaker.
Jeff Krasno: You're a speaker.
Ruby Warrington: I lead retreats. I'm a journalist. Yes. All of these things. I'm a disseminator of ideas, yeah, I guess.
Jeff Krasno: A collector and a disseminator. And so most recently, you wrote a book called Sober Curious, and I am curious myself on what led you to write that book. What was your kind of human experience that led up to it, and what are the principle concepts in it? And then we'll unpack that.
Ruby Warrington: Yeah, sure. So "sober curious" was the terminology I came up with to describe my own evolving relationship with alcohol and came up with that term about four years ago and started using it to describe that journey that I'd been on, which is probably about a 10-year journey at this point. It was only sort of five, six years in that it felt like something I wanted to start speaking about openly with other people because I had questions that were deeper and bigger than I was able to answer by that point, I guess. And it felt like opening up the conversation and just seeing if anybody else felt the same way that I did would be really helpful, and it turned out a lot of people did.
Ruby Warrington: So I'll backtrack a little bit. I'm from the UK, as you can hear, and many people know that there's a really boozy kind of drinking culture in the UK. You mentioned I have a background in journalism. Within that, even, media is a very kind of like alcohol-soaked sort of area. So in my twenties and early thirties, I became a pretty heavy social drinker, and it was very much interwoven with my career progression. It really helped me kind of get up the career ladder to be at the right parties.
Jeff Krasno: [crosstalk 00:02:15] events.
Ruby Warrington: Networking with the right people, exactly, exactly. But I kind of got to a point where I was going through a period of real extreme anxiety, a lot of it work related. I was in a really high-pressure role at that point, high-status, high-pressure role. And I found it was this anxiety I was experiencing was really exacerbated anytime I drank. And on the flip side, I was possibly drinking a bit more to kind of relax harder or switch off harder when I could, if that makes sense.
Ruby Warrington: And I began to really question, even though I wouldn't have described my drinking as alcoholic drinking or what I thought of at that point as alcoholic drinking. The image that we have of an alcoholic is somebody who needs a drink as soon as they wake up in the morning, is drinking every day, is regularly blacking out, and has had some dire life consequences. None of these things were occurring in my life.
Ruby Warrington: And yet it became harder to ignore the fact that alcohol was actually having a more of a negative impact on my overall wellbeing than any of the kind of benefits I'd thought I was getting from it, which were relaxation, socializing, etc. And so I began to question, why am I using this substance, and why is it kind of expected of me to use this substance? And why are there certain situations when it feels like if I don't use this substance, I've kind of ruined everybody else's night? Like all of these things, right? As soon as you step out of what I now have come to term our dominant drinking paradigm, it's like everything becomes illuminated and like, whoa, hold on. There's so many unspoken agreements that we kind of signed up for when it comes to drinking without question.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. Well, it's also you look at, I guess, the cultural piece of it where it's essentially applicable to any situation. And even the flip side of it, like I got this great promotion. Let's have a drink. I got fired. Let's have a drink.
Ruby Warrington: Let's have a drink.
Jeff Krasno: Like I had a baby. Let's have a drink. Oh, my grandfather died. Oh, we need a drink. Essentially it has become the go-to panacea for just anything.
Ruby Warrington: It's often if you're a, quote unquote, "normal drinker" who hasn't experienced the kind of problems that might be deemed a rock bottom, which would take someone to a recovery program, there's never an opportunity to question. And so we're sort of blindly, I think, yeah, continuing to participate.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. I think this is the real important distinction from your work, because obviously alcohol-use disorders and alcoholism ... Acute alcoholism affects 20 million people just in this country, so severe, a huge scale. But I think maybe what you're address addressing is a bit more insidious in a way. Like you could limp through life as kind of a semi-functional, regular drinker and just never address it, right?
Ruby Warrington: Yeah, that's exactly it. That's a really good way. And I'm loving that even the languaging of just like limping through life. And you're limping through life, and maybe you're having an occasional panic attack. Or maybe you don't have any energy because you're not sleeping properly. And we never think, "Maybe it's the alcohol," because the media, the booze industry, society in general, conditioning just tells us alcohol is the answer. If you're feeling shit, have a drink. If you're feeling great, have a drink, as you said. So I began to question it, and I eventually came to term that questioning being sober curious because I knew that-
Jeff Krasno: You're a fine journalist, Ruby.
Ruby Warrington: I do love some new terminology.
Jeff Krasno: You have quite a few of them.
Ruby Warrington: I do. And I came up with that term. I really thought, "What are the area of life are we allowed shades of gray?" And I thought about sexuality and that now quite outdated term "bi-curious," where someone's kind of, "Hmm, I'm not exactly sure which side of the fence I fall on here. Maybe I'm going to allow myself some wiggle room, some experimentation, and some curiosity and some questioning about what works for me."
Ruby Warrington: I think for so long we've had this very black and white polarized paradigm of like, there are fucked-up drinkers, and there are normal drinkers, and there's just nothing in between. And I think what's widely recognized now is that, actually, there are as many shades of gray as there are human beings in between. And the alcohol dependency, addiction can exist and show up in people's lives in so many different ways.
Ruby Warrington: And so being sober curious is really about ... It's not really about saying, "This is right, and this is wrong," or moralizing about it, right? I'm not saying, "Alcohol is bad, and everyone needs to stop drinking." I'm not pro prohibition. If anything, I'm pro education and information. And what I'm really pro is each and every individual feeling so empowered and so okay and confident in trusting themselves and their own experience, their own lived experience, that they always know what's the right choice for them, whilst with the caveat when it comes to a substance like alcohol, which is one of the five most addictive substances on the planet, know the nature of the beast. Know what you are dealing with, right? Know that it's probably harder to maintain a perfectly neutral relationship to alcohol than it is to become dependent on some level, you know?
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Ruby Warrington: But we all just kind of intuitively know that alcohol is really bad for us and that the negatives far outweigh the positives. For all of us, wherever we land, I think that's kind of a truth, although I will say not for everybody because I do think that everybody's experience, based on all sorts of things, based on genetics, based on biology, based on the community and the society that they're living in, based on their beliefs, based on their spiritual practice, all of these things can impact the degree to which a person may develop a dependence on alcohol, I think. But yeah, we all kind of know that it's not good for us, and I just am like, "Let's look at why we still engage, then."
Jeff Krasno: Right. I think that's the crux of it. And I'll use myself as an example in this particular case ... is that for many years, in social situations, in order to feel less inhibited and more confident, I would have a drink to essentially lubricate my social ability and to become less introverted. And that's probably not uncommon.
Ruby Warrington: I would say it's very common.
Jeff Krasno: And then the question, if you can step back with some degree of awareness and then ask yourself, "What is the root cause that is essentially propelling that decision? Why am I not confident and comfortable in the first place to have a conversation with this person who might have stature at a party? Am I just not good enough? Do I not have the self esteem? What is deficient about me that I need to essentially use this tool that I know doesn't serve me, that makes me feel like crap, that doesn't ... I can't sleep, fucks up my tummy, the whole thing. But I still make that choice because there's something about me that's just not comfortable?"
Ruby Warrington: Oh, it just makes me so ... I feel so tenderly for all of us when we're in that situation. It's almost like our deepest human need is to belong and to feel accepted and to feel included, right? We have such a fear of being outcast. It's very primal, right? And yet along the way, all of us learn there are parts of us that are not accepted, that are not okay, and we learn to shut them down. And we learn to become ashamed of them and to not show them for fear of not being loved and not being accepted.
Ruby Warrington: And in my research for Sober Curious, I discovered there's a part of the brain. It's called the right temporoparietal junction.
Jeff Krasno: Wow.
Ruby Warrington: Yeah. Try reading an audio book and saying that multiple times in a hurry.
Jeff Krasno: That needs an acronym.
Ruby Warrington: Anyway, the right temporoparietal junction is the part of our brain that specifically switches off the monitor, like monitoring what other people think of us.
Ruby Warrington: So to think even about like why alcohol, it stops us from monitoring how we're being received. So we do feel in that moment of drunkenness like it's okay to just be us and we'll be accepted just as we are because we're not kind of hypervigilant for like, how are you perceiving me?
Ruby Warrington: I think that's part of the appeal of alcohol, but then, yeah, exactly, just thinking, okay, so that we can also zoom out then and go, "Why do we live in our society with this extrovert ideal?" I quote Susan Cain's brilliant book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, in Sober Curious, and I was really looking at that. Why is extroversion so celebrated, and why is it you can't trust the quiet ones? I'm super quiet and introverted, and I'm probably one of the most trustworthy people I know. Do you know what I mean? It's like, there are so many layers at which you can look at something like that. If my social anxiety is around, like kind of performance anxiety, why do I feel the need to perform this self, this extroverted, party, outgoing, confident self when I'm not feeling that?
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. Well, it is certainly true in our modern society that we are not comfortable with silence.
Ruby Warrington: We're really not.
Jeff Krasno: So take that example of essentially someone that suffers from some degree of self confidence and relies on alcohol to some degree as a crutch. What are tools that can be utilized that essentially replaces that behavior that doesn't serve with sometimes the same sort of effect, the confidence, the self esteem, but without the negative consequences?
Ruby Warrington: Again, there are several ways to look at this. And I think the first one ... I mean, I talk again in the book about something I call "the confidence
Ruby Warrington: paradox. I too, I'm super introverted, bookish. I love podcasts, I do really good like one to one. Put me in a group and I'm kind of "When's it my turn to speak?" It's just awkward.
Ruby Warrington: Okay. So there's something I talk about in the book called the confidence paradox. So like you and like many of us I used alcohol as a way to feel more confident in social situations. People ask what's the biggest benefit of being sober curious and I could go to the sleep and yeah I could go for the like great digestion, I could go for the clear skin and all those things are kind of fun. But like the biggest is just how much more confident I feel as a nondrinker. And there was a clue actually.
Ruby Warrington: I used to be really in the kind of nightclub scene in the UK as well. And I would always look at the non-drinker in the room, the non-drinker at two in the morning at the party and look at them like kind of envious like, "Wow, you're like a rock star, I kind of want that". And what I've realized is that I was essentially teaching my brain from like age 14, which is when I first started drinking to fit in, be popular, etc. I was teaching my brain that I needed alcohol to facilitate that confidence. And so there's kind of like three decades worth of unconditioning around that to be done. So yeah, I discovered the more that I would kind of like feel the FOMA as I put it, fear of missing alcohol, feel the FOMA and do it anyway and sort of put myself in those situations.
Ruby Warrington: I actually realized that being in a social situation with all of my faculties about me. All of my mental clarity, sharpness, focus, and not to mention all of my empathy and feeling senses and intuition about people in situations. With full access to all of that, I actually feel so much more confident in those situations. What I don't find myself doing is hanging out anywhere that I don't feel comfortable if I'm at a social situation and it feels awkward and shit like I'll leave. Whereas my old MO might have been like, "I'll have another couple of drinks to get into it". And I just don't do that anymore. And I think again, seeing that almost as kind of like a practice of knowing my boundaries and setting boundaries about what is okay and what isn't okay. And the spaces I feel okay and the places I don't. Getting really good at putting those boundaries opposite another confidence building exercise. The tool is the feeling the FOMA and doing it anyway and proving to yourself that you're actually way more confident than you have been led to believe.
Jeff Krasno: Right. And I'm sure there's other techniques, meditation practices, yoga, other things that essentially you can utilize that have obviously a variety of benefits but also psychological benefits.
Ruby Warrington: Yeah, exactly. For me, those techniques have been integral to me connecting to my intuition for example. I think when we think about intuition, people think very mental and heady. But for me my intuition and when I know I'm connected to my intuition, it's like "How do I feel with this person? Is this person have my best interests at heart? I don't know if they do, in which case I'm not going to spend so much time with them." And I say, yoga in particularly has really helped with that practice because it's helped me feel my body. I can feel when my body is speaking to me through my yoga practice. And so now I'm kind of super attuned to like all the little pings and shivers and feelings that my body is constantly giving me about the situation I'm in, and I'm able to act on them.
Ruby Warrington: The meditation is really helpful as we know. I'm saying we know like this and I'm sweeping my hand around like your listeners here, as we know. I mean meditation is the number one practice really for just understanding that we are not our thoughts, we are not our emotions, and that we always can find a place of stillness and confidence and trust. Behind or underneath or within all of that kind of chaos that our outside environment or external environment might be triggering in us. So the meditation practice, which has been pretty strong daily for me for about four or five years now. Has just been really integral in terms of being able to listen to that inner voice, which doesn't always sound like a voice. Again, it's more like a feeling or just to knowing and trust it and take action on what it's actually telling me.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. And what would you say for skeptics or to skeptics that might wonder if essentially life just becomes a bit sedentary and boring without a bit of drink. Or is it possible to let loose and have fun without alcohol? And then I'd follow that up and say, does alcohol have any constructive place in having fun once in a while?
Ruby Warrington: Really good questions. Alcohol can provide very high highs and it brings very low lows in polarity to that, right. And I think for anyone contemplating no longer existing in that kind of roller coaster of emotion, particularly if that's been your norm since you were a teenager or whenever it was, you started drinking. The idea, I suppose is that life could become very monotonous and one note like the lows are worth it for the highs, right. But what I realized and what I think many people experience when they remove the alcohol is that, yes, life kind of settles down to this a more stable cadence, I suppose. However we realize what we've been missing is the incredibly subtle but way more sustainable, ecstatic states. I find myself often just kind of walking down the street, that annoying person with a huge smile on my face and all my hair's standing up on them because like the sky is so beautiful.
Ruby Warrington: I'm just like, "Who knew I could feel so much?" I think Brene Brown has a brilliant quote "You can't selectively numb emotion, numb the dark and you numb the light". And while we've been feeding off these kind of synthetic manmade or muck highs that we might get from alcohol and other substances and other behaviors, all sorts of things, right? We're kind of ignoring or just like forgetting the fact that our bodies actually really well equipped to bring us extreme states of pleasure when we're tapped into it and when we give ourselves the time.
Ruby Warrington: I think we live in a very time crunched society as well, increasingly time-crunched considering that the demands of technology now as well. And so the idea of being able to turn on a high when we want to feel good is really appealing, but it's just not sustainable and it's not real. And so again, creating space to allow our body to just kind of like... I mean my favorite high as the high of waking up without hanging over. And that could sound so sort of basic and again like yawn, but waking up feeling pleasurable and just warm and comfortable in my body everyday. I never want to give that up again.
Ruby Warrington: So I mean I now, at this point in my path and it's been very much kind of backwards and forwards and experiments here and just bringing this conscious level of questioning to all of my alcohol experience. I now choose abstinence as my preference because I really do believe another one of my favorite sayings, "The only thing you miss out on by not drinking is getting drunk". Think about that one for a while. But what I mean by that is I've identified all the things I was looking for in drinking and I have found other ways to access those states, those experiences, whatever. So I actually had zero need or desire for alcohol now in my life. And that to me feels like a very sustainable, but if longterm sobriety and not using is the goal, that process of questioning and conscious experimentation has actually led to an extremely sustainable sobriety for me, I think.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah, and I mean what we're seeing is I would say a generational efflorescence of this kind of behavior where essentially people are socializing without alcohol. I mean to the point where, I don't know if you saw this, I'm sure you did because you're on top of this subject. But like Bud Light just launched a seltzer...
Ruby Warrington: I did not see that.
Jeff Krasno: Or a club soda. And when you have Anheuser Busch whose last to the table, generally when it comes to dealing with alcohol. Launching an alternative that gets marketed right there at the bar on the fountain next to the draft beers or whatever, that says that this is a moot, there's something here. There is a movement around seeking an alternative way to socialize and have fun and be together.
Ruby Warrington: Absolutely. And I think there are a few things playing into that. I think that the way that we interact with technology now is literally rewiring our brains. And alcohol is as a substance just is very incompatible with the way that we're expected to kind of show up and communicate and be in the world now. Which there are two sides to that coin as well. Is it good that we feel the need to be on all the time? And that we're operating in this kind of like productivity optimized mindset of like every moment has to be productive and I must always be like achieving, that's very much enabled now and I'm not pro that either. And then I also think that the fact that marijuana is becoming so much more accessible and legalized in many places. People are
Ruby Warrington: Possibly using that, and prescription drug use is obviously through the roof. So people are using that. Alcohol is kind of messy compared to a lot of the other substances or numbing substances that people have access to now.
Jeff Krasno: Yes, that is true. And while I would favor marijuana in general in terms of its physiological and psychological effects, I still have skepticism and worry around the notion that we continue to try to address our happiness and solve our discontents through the consumption of things that are outside ourselves.
Ruby Warrington: Yes. Me too, Jeff.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. And even though I live here in Los Angeles, and essentially every other store now is a dispensary, for me marijuana usage was like, "I'm going to sneak behind the dumpster and smoke a joint." Now you literally walk in to, and it's like the Apple Store, and some young millennial woman with a nose ring comes out with a iPad, and says, "Hello Mr. Krasno. How are you?” So the experience is completely different. But I still worry about it, and I'm concerned about it. I've teenage daughters that essentially having fun, which is just really a way to say connection-
Ruby Warrington: And not working. Not feeling like you have to be proving or working, or yeah. Switching off.
Jeff Krasno: There's always a, oh, well I need this to feel whole. I need this to connect. This thing outside of me. And that's not good.
Ruby Warrington: No, it's not good. Well, it's not good I think because it's not getting to the heart or the root of those questions you brought up initially. Why do I feel it's so hard to relax? Why do I feel it's so hard to switch off and unwind? Why do I feel like I'm not accepted in this group of people? And it's really only when we can start to look at those deeper whys, I think, that we can kind of begin to unravel our need and our reliance on the external things to kind of paper over the cracks.
Ruby Warrington: I mean, I've really identified a rampant workaholism since removing alcohol. And really, I love the way you're nodding. You're like, oh yes. I totally know as much as the kind of introverted, more confidence thing, alcohol was the only way sometimes that I would switch. My body was going, you need to switch off from work. You need to get out of your inbox. Drink. It's the only way it could shut my brain down.
Ruby Warrington: So my practice around that has been getting comfortable with doing nothing, which I have so much resistance around that. I'm being lazy, I'm wasting time. I have so many ideas that need to get out into the world. But literally clearing a day in my calendar, which is probably usually Saturday for me when I literally am barred from everything. I delete my social media apps off my phone. I have office hours around Instagram, it deletes off my phone. I've had to put those really clear kind of physical boundaries and find other ways to relax.
Ruby Warrington: I mean it was really interesting to notice how when I was really getting into going through the weeds of removing the substance. Some of my strongest cravings would actually come up when I was feeling super high already and super excited. And it was almost like I wanted something to bring me down because I had this abundance of kind of creative energy that just wanted to create and do and make things, and there wasn't anything to put it in. It's just very interesting to watch all of those, the impulses.
Jeff Krasno: And it's often hard to remember that wisdom comes in the spaces. Creativity and imagination often comes in the spaces. That we are so conditioned to push, push, push, push to make the thing happen. If only this, and only if this then I will get to the next place that will then make me happy. Then I have to get to the next place. And of course that's a treadmill. And that actually finding silence, space, serenity, contemplation, a hike, downtime, often in those moments is when the wisdom or the inspiration comes. But it is very hard to live with that awareness and remember that. And so in some ways we have to create a Google Cal in order to help us-
Ruby Warrington: Absolutely.
Jeff Krasno: ... find that time that is just quiet and unscheduled.
Ruby Warrington: Exactly. Exactly. Because really, I mean I've been toying, it's not going to be, so I'll talk about it, but I was putting together a book proposal idea around the idea of success addiction. And what you just described is that. And I was thinking about that term we use, oh, so and so made it. I'm like, made it where exactly? Made it where? We're constantly kind of on the tail or chasing the tail of our next success. Because we have this idea that achieve this thing, get this thing, make that thing, and then I'll have made it. And where have we made it to? We've made it to a place where we don't need to work, right? Where we're supported, where we trust that we're just divinely supported for just being asked. That's what we all ultimately are craving. So how about we just choose that right now? We could choose that any moment. You know?
Jeff Krasno: So last thing. I know for a good while you were organizing events, social events, that were essentially non alcoholic. Are you still doing that?
Ruby Warrington: No, I took a step back from that because I found myself becoming an event organizer. And that's I'm not, I'm a writer. So now I do retreats still. I love to go really deep with people. So I have a retreat coming up at Kripalu, so be curious retreat, which is two days when we get deep into some of the... I have loads of different exercises to help people get deep into answering some of these questions for themselves. And I'm doing kind of appearances and events, but I'm not organizing events anymore. That force started to burn out for me.
Jeff Krasno: I know what that's like.
Ruby Warrington: Yeah. You do.
Jeff Krasno: This has led me down many unhealthy paths.
Ruby Warrington: Right. Exactly. And burn out. I know when I'm in that burnt out state I'm more likely to reach for some kind of a what seems like it might be a quick fix to give me more energy, or help me to relax, or whatever it is. I don't want to go down those paths. So really part of the sober curious path has been about what really serves me in terms of my professional life, what really supports me so that I can do the work that I'm really here to do?
Jeff Krasno: Do you have to sort of disavow some of your old friendships and relationships when you take a sober curious, or non-alcoholic path?
Ruby Warrington: It's more of a gradual sort of evolving I suppose. I sort of feel like, and I can tell you a bit about when it really kicked in for me. My sober curiosity really kicked in after I moved to the US. And so I kind of found myself, and it was around the time that I was launching the Numinous, and I was really getting very involved with this sort of modern spirituality scene. And I found myself just naturally socializing with people who were on this path that we've been discussing, who are more concerned with what can I find within me rather than what can I consume to make me feel better on the outside?
Ruby Warrington: And so there was a kind of a natural shift. And I think that there's that saying that we're the average of the five people we spend the most time with. And I think that kind of works two ways. And when we are undergoing any kind of internal transformation, we start to just naturally attract different people on a different energetic frequency. And the other relationships kind of just fade away. There's no need for it to be a big dramatic like...
Ruby Warrington: Although in some situations if there are people you know are super triggering for you, and if you're with them, you're going to want to drink. You may find yourself, could we meet for brunch, or can we go for a hike instead? And then if there's nothing in common on that hike and the spark's not there anymore, then you just kind of know this isn't for me going forward.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. There's a wonderful Wayne Dyer quote that I've come back to quite often, which is, "The angels we wish to attract into our lives will appear when they recognize themselves in us."
Ruby Warrington: That's it. Yeah. That's my way more eloquent than what I just said.
Jeff Krasno: Well, I didn't say it originally, I just barely remembered it. But that I do find that when I, and this could apply to any behavior, not just abstaining from alcohol, but when I find when I am consistently living from my highest principles, this is what I've come to feel is the authentic life, the life with integrity, is essentially living that your works and actions in this life are always aligned with your highest principles regardless of external circumstances.
Jeff Krasno: So essentially when I'm living from a place of kindness and compassion and forgiveness and charity, the people that naturally appear in my life are those people that are also living from those principles. And this isn't just some foofy law of attraction stuff, although we can go there, but it's really true because essentially people that are like minded are attracted to each other. And I think that it wouldn't be a far jump to say living a sober curious life helps you cultivate an ability to live from your highest principles. And then by extension, those angels are peer into your life.
Ruby Warrington: Absolutely. That's beautifully put Jeff. But yes, no-
Jeff Krasno: Thank God it was on tape.
Ruby Warrington: I really completely agree with you because you could put it in a really practical container as well. Right? When I choose to live from those principles, and every choice that I make and everything I put in my calendar goes through that filter first, there's just a natural reprioritization of who you're spending your time with and where you're putting your energy. And so the other stuff will just get crowded out by where you're focusing, or where you're literally spending your time and energy.
Jeff Krasno: Yes. That's a very practical approach too.
Ruby Warrington: It was.
Jeff Krasno: You're a very practical woman. I've always admired that about you. I really appreciate you leading this movement because all movements need a leader. They need a messenger who is charismatic, and comes up with absolutely incredible wordplay. And it's really having an impact. I hope you can feel the impact that it's having.
Ruby Warrington: Oh yeah. I have a Google alert set up for sober curious, and there's like eight or nine mentions a day of that time. And I think that for me, there's been a few comments here and there, "Why does this need a term? It's just deciding not to drink." And I'm like, people, going back to the very beginning of our conversation. When I decided I wanted to start speaking openly about this, I had a real moment of like, why would anyone care? This has been such a personal internal thing for me. Am I telling everyone, "Hey, you've all got a drinking problem, even though you don't know it. Doesn't look a drinking problem, but it is. Trust me." Is this just really arrogant, and super Aries of me to think that everyone-
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. And judgmental, and whatever, yeah.
Ruby Warrington: Right. Exactly. And presumptuous. But as soon as I started talking about it, it was as if I'd given a language to something that a lot of people had been thinking for a very long time, often unconsciously. It was like, oh yeah, actually. Yeah, that's exactly where I'm at.
Jeff Krasno: I mean movements and ideas and big visions need language in order to galvanize people's imagination. I've talked about this recently, but Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. But he called that the New Frontier. And because he called it that, he embodied something. He emboldened some of the language. It actually galvanized people to see something bigger than themselves, that they could be a part of a movement that was bigger than their own individual plights and their own individual lives. And you could make the New Deal, the Great Society, all of these other essentially movements that needed a name to instill them with force and meaning and excitement. So I think it's great.
Ruby Warrington: And I think with this as well, it's like it's given a common language that can actually encapsulate or speak to a multitude of very individual and unique experiences that are often rooted in feeling, hunches, intuition that people haven't even had the language to express. And now they can just say, "I'm sober curious." And that's enough.
Jeff Krasno: Okay. I love it. I'm sober curious.
Ruby Warrington: I'm happy to hear it. I hope you're enjoying it.
Jeff Krasno: So far so good.
Ruby Warrington: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Thank you Ruby. So lovely to connect with you after a couple of years and just see how both of our paths have evolved in kind of a parallel way. It's beautiful.
Ruby Warrington: It's great. Thanks for having me on, Jeff.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. Thank you for coming on.
Thank you for listening to the show today with Ruby Warrington. I’m wondering if you are now a little “sober curious.” If so, try going to the next cocktail party and event and get a club soda with lime and see how it feels. For me, I am finding that I am MORE confident and more able to have interesting and engaged conversations. To learn more about Ruby, her books, lectures and retreats, check out rubywarrington.com.
That’s it for today’s show. We have a lot of mint growing here on the Commune — in fact, it’s a key part of our green retaining walls – so maybe a pot of mint tea is in order for this evening. Whatever beverage you may have at hand, I hope you can put it down for a moment to hit that subscribe button or leave us a review.
I’m Jeff Krasno, and I’ll see you next week.
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