“Pay attention to the commitments and desires that our drunken selves so willingly and passionately share”. I came across this in an article recently in relation to inspiration and alcohol and found it intriguing. As someone who likes a beer, I have often had certain thoughts or desires that don’t come to the surface as much as when I am sober.
This article looks at what I have coined Drunken Soulitide – the concept of using alcohol as a personal development tool to find out what it is you actually want (and this isn’t always what you think you want or what you think others would want you to want). We will cover some practical tips on how to set it up and what to do in the session itself.
I consider this part of personal development because by tapping into the real you, you can discover your real goals and desires which can then be the basis for goal setting, planning and action. Often we are chasing a goal we don’t really want deep down so we lack the motivation to continue or even if we get there, we find ourselves unfulfilled because it wasn’t what we actually needed.
The idea for this came from something I have done a few times over the years which I called “Pen, Pad, Pint” sessions. Basically, go somewhere with the 3 items and write down what you want. I did it again recently and the outcome was super helpful for me in terms of gaining more clarity and guiding me towards things that naturally energise me.
I am not responsible for actions taken as a result of this post. If you have an addictive personality or an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, please visit another blog post or site.
This is my technique and it works for me. This is not advice. I do realise this is potentially a controversial article but that’s what I do now. I polarise. Yes, I run the risk of turning off some people but by talking about shit that I do or find interesting I hope to resonate with others. If it creates discussion and further content, great.
A scheduled and controlled change of state using alcohol to reveal true inner desires.
These desires are then the basis for Intuitive goal setting. Not goals that you don’t really want. It is tapping into the real you to find what you really want. These future plans will excite and energise you negating the need for motivation. It is an extension of Managed Solitude – taking scheduled time out to just think, not work. It is also related to Deep Work but this time the work is with/on yourself, not a project or task. My original name for this concept was Drunken Solitude so credit to the amazing Matea Gracin for the extra letter which fits perfectly with the idea of tapping into your soul.
Why Try Drunken Soulitude?
Drunken thoughts and desires are a window to intuition and instinct. They are your soul or spirit trying to tell you something. Some of you may be reading this and thinking “I thought Sam didn’t do
I tried recently to sit down and think about what I wanted to do/be over the coming months and nothing really came out while I was sober. If you don’t really know what you want, (or even if you think you do) this can wipe the dust off your internal compass.
Too often (especially when we are sober) we have the self-talk that restricts
Beer plays a big part in my personal development. The search for new beers takes me to new places (where I wouldn’t have gone if I wasn’t a beer lover) where I’ve met new people which
Soooo, by now you are either thinking “This dude is nuts, I can’t believe he is promoting the use of booze” or “What he talks about makes some sense and I am intrigued, Where might I start with this concept?”. If you are part of the option 2 crew, here are some tips that I rock out with. There is no right way, tweak the following until you find your sweet spot. A lot of these principles are the same for Managed Solitude and Deep Work but with an extra twist this time around.
You could technically do this spontaneously but I prefer to schedule it then make sure I won’t be disturbed during the session. You decide the frequency of the sessions or you can just do it ad hoc when you feel it is needed – maybe if you have a big decision to make. I have now made this part of my regular personal development and have it booked in for the end of each month, usually on a Sunday. As part of this, I review the previous month, be grateful, give myself credit for my progress but also I do my planning for the forthcoming month.
Set Your Intake Limits Beforehand
You know your body and your limits and how much you can handle. You don’t need to get smashed, just a little tipsy is enough for me, so a pint or 2 usually does the trick.
I think of it as peeling the top layer off the onion. That stoic, over-analytical layer that is always operational. Consume just enough so that layer takes some time off. You know you’ve found the level when stuff is streaming out. Once you find that level, try and stay there – don’t go too far where you lose control, but go far enough and long enough that you can get some insights. Almost like clutch control in a car.
Bring Your Equipment
This is pretty simple – pen and pad are the bare
The aim of these sessions is to get into the zone where the thoughts and ideas are coming up. Close as many ‘open loops’ as you can before starting or these could play on your mind.
If you are able to, turn off phone notifications and put it out of sight. Ideally, go somewhere where nobody knows you so you won’t be disturbed by friends or acquaintances. This tactic also helps if you have a stigma about drinking alone. I used to myself but now it doesn’t bother me at all.
Timings / Durations
For me, the earlier you start drinking, the quicker you can sober up before bedtime. If you are only getting
Once you have scheduled a time to start then also schedule a time to finish. Set an alarm or timer as a gentle reminder when to ramp down. An hour or so is my preferred duration but I use my note taking rate as an indicator. When the notes start to slow down, that’s my signal.
Select a Venue
Drunken Soulitude can be done anywhere where you can drink. Drinking establishments are an obvious choice but you could also BYO into nature or a spot where you can relax. Feeling comfortable is key here. The more comfortable you are, the less you will have distracting thoughts about the environment.
If you go the pub/bar route, I recommend somewhere with table service so you don’t have to get up all the time when ordering. It’s not lazy, it’s just trying to stay in that zone as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid to switch it up too though. A change of scenery can also increase creative juices. Maybe do a mini pub crawl and go and explore those venues you always see and wonder what they are like inside.
Once you have selected the venue(s), Tell someone where you are going. This is just a general safety rule. I do this anyway, whether I’m drinking or not because you never know.
Ok, so the tips we have just covered are more about the prep and logistics. The following are more about what do in the session itself.
Don’t Think, Feeeel
This one took me a while to get used to but is the underlying principle of the concept. Not forcing anything, just seeing and feeling what naturally arise. As Bruce Lee said, “We need emotional content”. Not mental or analytical thinking.
Stop thinking. Stop scanning for thoughts. Close your eyes. Meditate, focus on the breath. Speak to yourself – ask yourself “What do I want?” (that I don’t have at the moment) and FEEL what comes up. You have to let it come. This is passive – the thoughts and feelings will arise but you aren’t going looking for them, they are coming TO you. This is a kind of visioning (which differs from visualisation).
Spin That Wheel
If nothing is coming up just yet then maybe a few prompts will help. Have a look at the Wheel Of Life sections as starting points. Ask yourself what you want in terms of your career, your health etc. As luck would have it, you can get a copy of The Wheel Of Life using the grey opt-in box at the bottom of the page.
What would a 10/10 look or feel like for each section? Keep your 10/10s updated every few months as we change more often than we realise. If we are chasing a goal we thought we wanted but don’t actually desire anymore, that could lead to feelings of dissatisfaction or a lack of fulfilment.
Don’t Filter, Judge Or Edit
What is says on the tin. Let it all flow out and write down whatever comes up in the session. If you really want to, you can edit it at a later date but just let it flow. DJ Krust (of Roni Size and Reprazent fame) has an excellent article on the rules of creative engagement where he writes that the creation state and the critical analysis state are not the same and they should not be mixed up. Although this technically applies to what we would traditionally call creative work, we are still creating in these Drunken Soulitide sessions. We are creating thoughts which can eventually become projects, or even major life decisions so, therefore, creating your life.
Know When To Stop
Either your scheduled time is up or you’ll get to a stage where the thoughts aren’t coming as thick and fast. This is now the time to think about downing tools.
Conversely, if you have maybe gone too far and you can’t read what you are writing, this is also a time to stop. I’ve not been that far yet as I understand the importance of these sessions so scribble would be a waste of time, money and health for me.
Be happy with what you have written/created so far then start to take your foot off the gas and move gently into the next stage of the Drunken Souliture process.
Ramp Down & Sober Up
The first step here is to obviously stop drinking, or finish off what you have. Drink some water, go eat some food (greasy is best if you want sober up quickly – trust me, I have done years of research on this). Other methods to sober up and bring you back to default state include taking a cold shower, some gentle exercise and sleep.
After the session, I tend to let things settle and sink in. go take a walk, go do something else. Don’t go and take immediate action (mainly because you may still be a little drunk) but leave it for a day by sleeping on it. Let your brain ruminate and process what came up.
I like to type up my written notes the next day and sort them into some type of coherent and logical order by topics or ideas. It is at this point you can edit out the faff but remember that is it came up while you were in that state, it may have some reason for being there.
Using your notes you now hopefully have some exciting ideas to work with. Now it is time to create the plans and take action. Turn the thoughts and ideas into goals and actionable steps.
To keep on track and make sure the compass is still guiding you. Repeat every month/ quarter/year / next holiday or whenever you feel lost, need some more direction.
When explaining to people how coaching works, I say I ask the client the questions and they work it out for themselves. Sounds simple but there is a lot more to it than that. A good friend of mine, Robbie Swale wrote about how the answers are always within. I guess you could consider this some sort of self-coaching as you are changing your state to gain access to the answers. Drunken Soulitude can be not only a creative endeavour but a cathartic practice that can guide you on your personal development journey.
Drunken Soulitude triggers this process:
DS > Unfiltered ideas > Goals > Plans > Tasks > Actions > Results > Progress toward fulfillment
Yes, it may reduce physical health but it definitely increases spiritual and mental health. This is my spirit work, my ayahuasca ceremony. I don’t need to go to Peru and spew (although I’d like to do similar one day). When I did this in April 2018, I made 5 pages of notes not just on what I wanted but other related ideas popped up which now form the basis of where I see myself heading the next few months. I use this process as a calibration for the internal compass to check and see if I am heading in the right direction. When you are, it just feels right.
Again, as a reminder, please take note of the disclaimer at the top of this article.
I would love to hear what came out of your Drunken Soulitude sessions or what you learnt about yourself during the process. What methods work for you? What healthier alternatives could I try to get
It's hard to explain exactly what I do so I offer the experience of coaching up front.
Find out more about how to work with me and apply for a session.
I help people get to where they want to be quicker than they would have done on their own.
Sam, I think this is both daring and inspired! How refreshing to see someone ready to shake it up a bit. Also really like the advice on not mixing creative and critical state which I’m guessing is central to the whole idea of Drunken Soulitude. Also guessing there is an element of separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’ when you reflect back later. Got me a couple of bottles of my old Friend Mr Stella Artois in the fridge, think I’ll give this a go at the weekend. Good stuff buddy, hope you are well! T
I loved everything about this post. I’ve done this without realising it could be actually a process. So looking at this “structured” form to do it is great (I love structure and processes!).
The last time I did this was February and it was super helpful, reading your blog is prompting me to do the next session at the beginning of June.
Thanks for that!