How one year of meditating will help you drink less alcohol – case studies

case studies meditation meditation and drinking Dec 28, 2022
Meditation and drinking – one year in
Members of Group #1 of the Wise Monkey Way Live Online Group Program, faces obscured for privacy 

In November this year, the first live online group of the Wise Monkey Way came to their one-year anniversary of starting the course. 

While the program itself only lasts for seven weeks, many opted to join the on-going Stay on Track program and this has been a great way to track everyone’s progress over the year. 

From the wary faces at the beginning, unsure of what they were getting into, to today has been such a journey.  

In the one-year anniversary meeting, I asked everyone to share their experiences one year in and below are some of the responses shared with permission.

One overwhelming theme was how surprised most people were by how successful the group aspect of the program was – delivered over Zoom with people dialling in from all over the world. Most said that they weren’t usually group or online forum people. They said they’d taken a chance on the course and couldn’t have been happier with the connection and support they’ve got from the program. 

Some have passed or are approaching a year of not drinking, while others have a few months under their belts while others still are successfully moderating. Everyone who is still drinking is drinking significantly less than they were before and feels much more in control.

One key aspect of the program is to focus on changing systems rather than setting hard and fast rules around drinking (which can be easily broken and leave a sense of failure) – and this has aided the longevity of the program. 

If you can count your drinking in decades, don’t be surprised if it takes months rather than days or weeks to make a lasting change.

Let’s hear from four of the participants who agreed for their words to be shared.   

“I started out very skeptical, but I’d done the meditation course before and so I was hopeful. I didn’t set very high goals, but when I finally set a one-month goal, I felt relieved that I had a monkey off my back. Since I was 16 years old, I hadn’t gone long without having a drink. I thought I might be one of those people who end up in the hospital or having tremors or something. I really didn't know what it would be like. But after all, I found I wasn’t so dependent that my body couldn’t rejuvenate itself. So from then on I was mindful with my drinking and it gave me all kinds of freedom. I had curiosity and analysed when and why I was drinking and why I was having that second glass. Then I had a huge family health crisis where drinking was just out of the question.

“This took me to another level and reminded me about the history of my family and how somebody had to stop the legacy of drinking. A month and a half ago I just said, I'm going to be the one in my family who stops this. I've made a decision that I'm not going to drink anymore and it's been going very well. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the group, Rory and the meditation. The key for me is the meditation. This has been a huge success for me and beyond anything I ever thought would happen a year ago. I'm very grateful.”

Mollie – Washington State

LEARN MORE: Would you like these benefits for yourself? Check out our meditation to reduce drinking course options.

“I’ve really loved having the connection and understanding of everybody and have felt a real bond with the group. I feel very lucky that we've had such an honest, warm, intelligent and articulate group.

“A year ago, I was feeling kind of out of control. I had the sense that meditation was really good for me and then having the structure of the group and hearing everyone’s experiences really helped me stick to my meditation practice. Now, I feel in a great place with drinking. I moderate – I probably have two drinks every couple of weeks with a friend and that's about it. I enjoy it but know it's going be a trade off and my sleep will suffer – and it does!”  

Libby – Sydney

If I look at a year ago to now, the biggest difference would be my mood. In 2021, I was really struggling. I was off work, there was depression, burnout. I tried different treatments and then finally said, OK, let's try to get rid of the depressant: the alcohol. It was about eight weeks or so after I stopped drinking that my mood just lifted. It allowed me to bring more healthy things into my life. And to realised that the default position of the human brain is actually one of joy. It's not to be depressed – not when you remove the toxins. 

My mood is great now, but I still struggle with energy and get overwhelmed sometimes. I still struggle with Friday nights when I have the urge to drink, but I know I can’t. I'm not one of those people that can have have two drinks every couple weeks. I wish I could, but I can’t. If I have two drinks, I'll be right back into it.

Karen – Canada 


“I’m so impressed with everyone in the group for making changes in their lives. So many people talk about making changes, but don't do it. It requires such courage to look at yourself, really stare yourself down, warts and all, and everybody in the group is doing that. 

“I used to wonder why I walked through the front door at 6pm and opened a bottle of wine when I didn't want to do it and said I wouldn't. That was a big motivator – to get out of that. For every time I drank and enjoyed it, there were ten times I didn't want to do it. If I use that as a benchmark, I'm absolutely far away from that. I’m now fully aware of every drink I have. I haven't given up completely, but every sip of alcohol that passes my lips, I'm completely aware of whether it's a glass or two glasses. I'm sure moderation is more of a head game than giving up would be. And I see myself giving up eventually – I can see that light drawing me in.

“I’m not there yet, but I also know myself. If I force things before I'm ready, it will backfire horribly. So I have to go as organically as I can towards that light of no drinking. Whether it takes me another year or another two years, I know that it's there and I'm happy about that. I don't feel stressed that I'm not there yet because I believe I will be. I feel very committed even when I waver, even when the ship's turning slowly, even when it's circular. In terms of the meditation, the difference in my life is huge. The difference when I don't do it is extraordinary. I didn't meditate yesterday and I just crashed through my day. Everything felt like I was skating; I felt completely out of control.  

“My life is better with meditation. It's better not drinking so much. It's better with everybody here in it. Like others have said, I don't do online forums. I barely use social media. Most groups I've ever been a member of, I've left and thought, no, not for me, not quite right. This group is like lightning in a bottle. You know, it happens so rarely that we just happened to have these extraordinary people. I feel my life is better and it's also been blown apart in ways I couldn't have imagined when I signed up for this course. Relationships work, everything, family history habits, behaviour patterns. I could never have imagined what a spotlight it would shine on all those things. I've used this word continuously over the past year – the profound difference it’s made to my life. Thank you everyone – and thank you Rory for the incredible thing you've created.”

Annabel – New York

“I don't even remember what I googled to find this because Rory wasn’t on my radar at all. I don't know what I did, but I came back from a wedding and I was hungover and said, I've had enough. I was dabbling in a bit of meditation and googled something to find Rory’s original 30-day course and at the end decided to sign up for the group course. Like everybody else, that first night we all got together, I was like, what the hell have I signed up for? And what if there's somebody on here that I know? 

“And then I logged on and it’s been the best thing I've ever done. It's been amazing and fascinating seeing everybody's journey. 

“At the beginning, I think I said I was going to stop drinking alone. My drinking was event-driven – I would go to a wedding or a birthday party or a funeral and my drinking would kick off and I would continue to drink for a few days afterwards. Then I would stop until the next event. It was a ridiculous cycle that I wanted to get out off. I stopped drinking from November until Christmas and then I went home and then broke my vow not to drink because we all ended up in quarantine in hotels.

“I got COVID and then when we re-grouped in January, I just said that's it. Then it was different because I wasn't white-knuckling it anymore. It was more that I wanted to give it a real shot this time. It started off with a bit of determination and then that changed into curiosity. I was really enjoying seeing how my life was changing and evolving without alcohol. It wasn't always easy, like going on the first holiday or the first family event. But all of those things are getting easier and easier and I’m having better and better and conversations. I'm so glad those conversations are now happening. Everything is on a better level.” 

John – UK

If you’re ready to make a lasting change in your relationship with alcohol, join the next Live Online Group program. There is one starting on January 8.

If you have any questions about any of our programs, don’t hesitate to get in touch here. 


READ MORE: Wise Monkey Way New Year Challenge.

READ MORE: Wise Monkey Way reviews and testimonials.

READ MORE: Meditation to stop drinking.

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