*I just won the drinking game.  How do you win the drinking game?  You stop drinking, period.  Yes, stop the presses: I have quit drinking for life!

While there has been of course some damage in my life incurred from playing the drinking game over the years, the gains far outweighed the losses, which acted as great lessons in themselves.  But when you play the drinking game as hard and as long as I have, it’s only a matter of time before a seemingly innocent night of drinking can go terribly awry.   It’s so much easier for things to spin out of control when alcohol is involved.   That is why it is with great relief that I can truly say that I am done drinking alcohol for what I feel and intend to be the rest of my life.  Safe!  Whew!

I can’t tell you how big of a deal this is for me. Like major.  This was inconceivable to me even last week.

Yet the decision to stop drinking for life came upon me quickly and suddenly four days ago, after quietly brewing below the surface for a long time.  It’s an idea that I’ve toyed with over the years, but would quickly dismiss as unfathomable.  I even talked a bunch of sh-t in my blog about taking 2014 off from drinking, but I didn’t make it very far.  Why?  Simply because I really didn’t WANT to stop.  And you gotta want to stop to actually stop.

Drinking has been so much a part of my DNA for over 27 years, and I have LOVED it so much.  And damn it, I am a very good drinker!  The World Drinking Team just lost an MVP for sure.  Buzzed, I am a master of fun and I can be stand-up comic laser funny.  I’ve taken many a party, big or small, to that next level.  For the most part, I’d say I’ve been pretty good at knowing my audience and playing the crowd so that I’m generally not ‘that guy’ unless I’m really intending to be ‘that guy’, with people that can handle ‘that guy.’

But of course, someone’s gonna get wet when you do metaphorical cannonballs in the pool!  I’ve certainly had my fair share of eyebrows raised and dirty looks behind my back from party antics.  And yes, there have been times where shenanigans have spun out of control into the danger zone.  I am certainly not claiming I was perfect in my play of the drinking game- many of you reading this can personally attest to some of my craziness and epic fails!  But looking at it over the course of almost 3 decades, playing with such intensity and regularity as I did, I’d say I got out of the drinking game with minimal damage.  And some great fuvking stories.

My drinking history in a nutshell:  After an intense heavy drinking period in my ‘20s marked by frequent blackouts and culminating in a DUI, for my ‘30s I settled into a more sustainable low-moderate level of drinking that was a lot less drunk, but a lot more regular.  It became something of a daily routine that I would have 2-3 glasses of wine with dinner each night.  I was rarely drunk, and there was relatively no emotional drama since I was by myself.  But the problem is that I was doing this EVERY DAY!

Realizing I had to do something for my health if I was going to maintain my lifestyle of fun, I started experimenting with juice cleansing.  I put together the best program I could come up with and eventually started iZO Cleanse in order to pass along my knowledge of this evolution-accelerating practice.

I started taking breaks from drinking while I was on the cleanse, and that was great for my body of course. But in fact what it did was enable me to continue drinking at the same regularity level when I was not on the cleanse.  Thus began a long almost 10 year yo-yo between generally moderate/occasionally extreme drinking and extreme health.

For me wine was primarily a tool to combat loneliness and isolation that had come with the territory of running iZO Cleanse- I was ALWAYS working.  There was no time for a social life, especially when the recession hit in 2008 and we were under water.  Wine really did help with pulling me out of extreme anxiety surrounding iZO, and mini-depressions surrounding my Love life.

But I didn’t drink to escape my issues like many people do.  I actually would drink and confront my issues head on. I am very thankful for the processing power that wine provided me during those difficult times.  I know it might sound foolish to say, but wine and beer really were constructive and medicinal for me at times. They really made the darkness go away so many nights.

But there were major drawbacks to my regular imbibing of wine and beer.  The biggest one was the internal clash of supposedly being something of a leader in health in the public eye while having this low-moderate level form of functional alcoholism running in the background of my daily life.  I felt tremendous guilt over it, and the hypocrisy of it pained me.  But while I was always honest about my weaknesses in the public thru my blog and technically could claim integrity because I never claimed to be anything but an imperfect human doing my best to evolve thru my issues, I knew deep down inside that I was NOT really being the best I could be, and that in reality, there was a substantial integrity energy leak in iZO.

How much more efficient of a human being would I be if I never drank? How much more energetically powerful would iZO be if I was truly clean from the hold of alcohol?  There’s a saying that I love: “The fish rots from the head,” meaning, the energy and essence of whoever is at the top of the company or organization trickles down and permeates everyone and everything the organization does.  My dependency on alcohol HAD to be negatively affecting iZO’s success levels and even at times affecting the quality of my clients’ experiences on the iZO Cleanse.  To those customers, I must take a moment and apologize for any energetic bleeding of my imperfections into their experiences. I am truly sorry.

Another big drinking issue that was rearing its head was the toll it was taking on my liver.  I was increasingly exhibiting a rosacea-like redness on my face if I even drank coffee.  It was heat from my angry liver screaming bloody murder!  For a good many years, my typical response would be, ‘Hey, no problem, I’ll just do a cleanse and it’ll go away.’  But something recently changed in that department.

In the last few years, my go-to solution for everything wrong in life (Cleanse it out!) wasn’t even working for me because the rosacea redness in my face would actually get exacerbated by like day 4 of the cleanse. The fact is that when you’re juice cleansing the liver is working extra hard processing all the toxins exiting your body.  So in effect I was NEVER giving my liver a break ESPECIALLY on the cleanse.  An alarming symptom of this was on my right palm and the insides of my fingers where this painful rash/sore started to develop and fester.  I feel that it was candida which is totally exacerbated by the fermented sugar in alcohol.

At the same time as having all that hanging over my head like an anvil, on the positive flipside, in the last couple of years I’ve been witnessing many of my closest friends quitting alcohol for good.  I have watched them in awe, not understanding how they could do without the anxiety-lifting effect of alcohol in their lives.  Yet in every instance, they were absolutely thriving and proclaiming that their lives had never been better due to the absence of alcohol.

Then there was my friend Trine’s channeled reading of my soul’s purpose in life in late 2010, where she flat out directly said that in order for me to step into the fullness of my healing mission with iZO, I had to be sober, and stop the extreme polarity swings of the pendulum that were wreaking havoc on my being. I noted this very clear message and it resonated, but then I entered the darkest period ever of my life where iZO and everything in my world came crashing down from the recession and I essentially went through a death process with my company.  I wasn’t about to stop drinking then! lol

But now, I’m on the other side of the messes of the past.  Over the last eight years, I have done so much emotional processing work on myself, and have resolved a lot of the core issues that were creating negative patterns in my life, some of which I’ve written about before and much of what I will be writing about in the future.   As I said before, I really do feel that alcohol served me well as a teacher, an often times harsh one at that, but still I learned a lot from it.  While I realize that many people drink alcohol to escape the pain, ultimately alcohol for better or worse helps you feel the pain, if not while you’re drinking and letting bottled up emotions out, then the next day in the hangover when you hate your self/issue even more.   I would experience this both ways, but very often learning the hard way the next day.

But there’s no good use for alcohol anymore in my life.  I’m not saying that I’m perfect and have zero issues to deal with now, but there’s no more *monster* emotional issues and trauma from the past to process, as far as I can tell.   I have to now implement the wisdom I’ve gleaned from all this processing and live life the way I know it should be lived, and alcohol simply does not advance that agenda.  All that alcohol is doing now is creating new issues, and it has been for some time.  Yet, up until Friday afternoon, it was still inconceivable that I would cut alcohol out of my life entirely.  I was really holding out for leading a healthy moderate drinking life, where it was less regular and less extreme, but still existent and not an issue.

One conversation four days ago changed that. It was with my employee, Roy, a wise old Krishna dude that does local Los Angeles deliveries for iZO while praying with his prayer beads at like 3am. I expressed to Roy my frustration of being in a rut, finding it difficult to make the quantum leap back up in size for iZO, where we get back to the levels we were at in 2010 and then go beyond them and make iZO a major force of physical, emotional, and Spiritual healing on the planet.  I was very specifically asking for direction on how to get there.

Roy’s answer blew me away.  He said that neither himself nor I would ever really be able to pull off the great healing mission we aspire to if we aren’t totally pure, meaning free of alcohol and any intoxicating substance other than the medicinal-only use of herb and plant-based psychedelics specifically done only in an intentional ritual setting.

Basically if I want to be an effective Spiritual leader that affects deep lasting large-scale positive change in the world, then I really should be as pure as one could ever be.  I had to knock it off with the one foot in both camps polarity mode, and I had to release the hold of all vices completely.  The truth is that in maintaining an avenue of indulgence with alcohol and unhealthy eating, I have been standing in the way of my own path to success, constantly fighting myself and nullifying the good work I do.  I have been outright disrespecting my vision and the iZO mission.   Simply put, I have been cheating on myself.

I had known this deep down inside for a long time, but the message hit really deeply this time.  I realized that if I didn’t step up to the next level of purity, I would never attain realization of the healing mission and epic vision for iZO.  Period.  Within an hour of pondering this, I made the decision to stop drinking. Two days later and two days ago was my first day free of alcohol for the rest of my life.

For the past four days since I realized that this was indeed the path, I have been writing a lot down, processing the scenarios of what it actually means to never drink again, meditating on the positive effects it will have on my life on so many levels, and I will be sharing those findings in greater detail in the coming days.  But I also have been meditating on my genuine fear surrounding this epic move, as in:

How fuvking daunted I am by the prospect of never having a drink ever again!  Never having a glass of wine with pasta at dinner!  Never having a celebratory beer!  Never drinking the champagne at a champagne toast.  Never drinking on vacation, in Ireland??? WTF!!!   The last four mornings I’ve woke up asking myself “is this really for real?”

I’d love to hear about your fears surrounding the concept of quitting drinking or any vice you have become intimate with, and if you have, how you overcame those fears.  I’ll report back my findings from you! Thank you for being a part of this evolutionary moment in my life!