Alcohol & Cigarettes: the body’s cry for moments of stillness.

by Sue Kira, Naturopath, Gold Coast, Australia. 

When I am with clients who are suffering from fatigue, we discuss the things that may have been draining their energy.

Some share with me how they like to have a glass of wine or two at the end of each day to wind down. It can make the difference between them saying to their kids, “Ok it’s bath time darlings”, rather than angrily blurting out “get in the bath you little monsters or I’ll…!”

All they want is some peace and quiet at the end of the day. How often have we used a glass of wine, a cigarette or even a cup of tea or coffee to sit quietly and unwind? That moment when you have a sip of the drink, or drag on the cigarette and you are totally focused on the moment; think about it…the long drag in and then exhale with relief, or the sip, swallow and the ‘ahhhh’ as you breathe out with ‘relief’ and relaxation.

I realised that what people often miss when they give up these things is the time to simply relax and just ‘be’, because our bodies really crave moments of stillness.

I remembered how I did the same thing. These moments are our search for stillness, but the substances we choose to use actually take us away from true stillness. The caffeine in tea and coffee, the sugar in alcohol, and the nicotine in cigarettes, all make us racy, running faster inside than our natural rhythm.

At other times I would stop on my way home from work and just sit by the river to relax before going home to the family. It was a moment just for me; a moment of stillness to reflect and just ‘be’.

I chat with my clients about how easy it is to create moments of stillness that don’t have to be harmful to the body. By creating a space for ourselves of only a few minutes to sit, close our eyes, breathe very gently and feel our body, feet and eyes relaxing and our hands resting on our thighs, we can feel an absolute presence with ourselves. And then, by gently opening our eyes, we can hold that feeling of gentleness and presence and continue to be with ourselves.

When we share a few minutes of doing this together in the clinic, they are often amazed at how lovely they can feel in a very short time without substances, tapes or any cost and how they can do this at any time, even with their eyes open.

We may also discuss how being calm and present with children can bring them to gentleness and calmness. Some have noticed that when they are ‘actively present’ with their kids by maintaining eye contact and really connecting ‘with’ them, they are lovely and calm and less aggressive. They have also noticed that when they are stressed and cranky, the kids are harder to be with, which makes things worse for all.

While there is no need to speak about esoteric ways and esoteric healing or the fact that I learnt how to access stillness and presence through Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon and the many wonderful esoteric practitioners that I have had the pleasure to spend time with, it has been a deeply profound experience for me and for my clients to feel how easily we can feel this way any time we choose.

537 thoughts on “Alcohol & Cigarettes: the body’s cry for moments of stillness.

  1. It seems we are all wired to go, go, go and the idea of sitting for a few minutes and being still lis completely foreign to what we are used to. Quiet, and the stillness that is within are a preciousness that can’t be replicated with anything external.

  2. Stop and re-connect moments are incredibly valuable – it is amazing how even less than a minute can make such a huge difference. Maybe one reason we don’t do them so often is because there is no money in it so nobody is marketing them – although really there is lots of money in them as they are great investments and increase productivity and quality of life.

  3. Before attending Universal Medicine presentations I’d never heard the word “racy” used before, yet this word captured a lot of the behaviour that I was driving myself in. Even now I can see how I use behaviour that makes me racy, almost to stop me allowing myself to feel how I am. It is a strange opposite as being in more “stillness” i.e not having crazy thoughts but a settled body and mind is far more enjoyable, and yet there is a definite discomfort in feeling my own body with no distractions and one that I have definitely avoided.

  4. The expression ‘Stop the world, I want to get off’ is a realisation that we know our body seeks stillness. The Gentle Breath Meditation is a beautiful and simple tool to reconnect to our breath and to our body and feel the stillness within.

    1. Yes Mary and once we actually remember how to reconnect to our breath and this stillness within, the need or craving for something else to fill the void or emptiness we feel in the disconnection diminishes.

  5. Instead of the traditional ‘smoko’ – a break in the day’s work that became a widely acceptable thing to do, we should have ‘breathos’ – little breaks in our day where we can stop and reconnect with our breath and our bodies (without inhaling all the smoke!)

    1. What a great idea Andrew, in fact that is how I gave up smoking about 25 years ago. Stopping and closing my eyes, or if in company just placing my hands on my thighs, and focussing on my breath and connecting with my lungs.

  6. I’m convinced that this quality of presence described here works not only for our relationships with children, but with other people too. For example, those who we might describe as having ‘challenging behaviour’ and receive support from Social Care staff. I have observed how, those who remain calm in themselves, help those they support to remain calm too and that this ‘presence’ is not only felt, but has a direct impact on the relationship.

  7. The problem with a glass of wine in the evening to enable one to not be snappy with the kids is that one is no longer really there and the kids feel this absence. My kids recollection is that I was never there, but I was there physically, just inebriated, but energetically I was gone.

  8. I had a close friend once who smoked and the cigarettes were his friend, companion, solace and time out from life, though we could both see the harm they were doing, I never spoke up about it, as I too enjoined the escapism and time out, even though my body could not physically tolerate the cigarettes. It shows me how we can allow something deeply harmful, and even think it is fun, when we are avoiding dealing with what is truly affecting us in life, and learn instead that in fact we can reconnect to something far greater inside such that the world is not able to affect us and bring us down, – this is only something we choose once we have given up on the truth. and once we have given up on truth, there are a million offerings to keep us away from it.

  9. It is the busyness of life that has created this momentum of continuously going and not stopping, so you are absolutely correct to say those that smoke and drink use that time to get a moment of stillness. What they are not realising is that moment of stillness in truth is a moment of raciness in the body, which needs feeding and hence another cigarette or another glass of wine.

  10. We do like to fill life with many distractions, mostly to avoid that amazing stillness that is so naturally part of who we are. Yet we hold onto things like alcohol, cigarettes, food, to fill us up from feeling what is there in truth to be felt. What you are presenting here make a lot of sense.

  11. If we resort to the metaphor of us driving a car, it will become clear. If we spend the whole day pumping the accelerator, hitting it way too hard even when we are at a red light, at the end of the day we will find it very relieving not to hear the noise of the engine and we will do whatever is in our hands to disconnect from the feeling we had while driving. Instead, if we drive with ourselves in mind, and stay connected with the body during the day, at night there would be no need to disconnect from something we felt totally in sync with.

  12. I am far less stressed out than I have been in the recent past. A huge contributing factor was my job, and whilst I have recently changed jobs, this choice has allowed me to practise looking at how I take on stress, now that I actually have the space to witness it creeping in. Everything comes down to choices and how I deal with those choices. The need for me to ‘escape’ or long for the weekend has reduced significantly, simply because I’ve allowed myself the space to change how I do things in a way that supports me so much more than ever before.

  13. I never smoked and have given up drinking but I can recognise in what you say Sue, that I still have a craving to sleep and to eat yummy foods at times, that may seem true but it is actually my body missing this stillness. I seem to be getting so many messages right now about the importance of stopping and feeling me. This stillness is so beautiful, why on earth would I deny myself feeling this way? I don’t have to live like this any longer.

    1. As a once-proud non-smoker and drinker, I thought I was getting away from the methods many people had used to numb what was going on in their lives. What a wake-up call! The techniques, methods and strategies we use are always on tap to distract us from the quality that we can live and are often offered in the most refined packages. The choice is always there for the taking or leaving.

  14. Very true Sue, there are many ways in which we use something for that moment, just to be quiet with ourselves, to close the door on the noise of the outside world, although alcohol, and cigarettes only fill the void we feel from not being connected to our innermost. I have found the more connected I am to my body, the more I am able to hold a true stillness for myself without the need of anything else that I once used as a way to give myself time out, which was nothing like the stillness that I now feel.

  15. There is something about taking 5 minutes to be still and reconnect to yourself whereby the benefit gained is disproportionately huge compared to the amount of time taken to reconnect. In other words, 5 minutes taken to reconnect truly has a profound impact on the rest of your day.

  16. We underestimate the power of connecting to ourselves, of connecting to our stillness within, how this is an option and in fact the greatest antidote for the tension we all feel at any given moment. Taking a moment to stop, connect and breathe who we are is the type of medicine we do actually carry in our back pockets, all the time, regardless of what we are wearing, and what’s more is that it’s free of charge – literally, as such offering us more from that point of connection onward.

  17. In my self-abusive years to myself, which were many, I had taken up fishing, where you could spend extended periods in quite reflective time. But, I would have the essential kit, my cigarettes and my flask of coffee. The fishing was like a vacuum punctuated with moments of excitement. Today, without all the above distractions, I can simply stop and reconnect with myself, and carry on with all of me.

  18. I used to work in the hospitality business and there virtually were no breaks unless you smoked, so the moment where we would just stand for a moment and smoke (usually only half) a cigarette where considered our breaks. Looking back on it I can see how ridiculous this was but for us back then it was simply how we did it and no-one inspired us otherwise. How powerful is it that we now have people all around the world who through their own experience have learned what it means to truly stop and have a moment of connection and so through having this a spart of their way of life can inspire others to make those changes too.

  19. A great blog Sue highlighting how important it is to create space to check in with ourselves and take stock of how we are feeling in our body and how willing we are to be aware. There is much our body guides and supports us with when we allow it to communicate and listen to what is truly being shown.

  20. Yes creating those moments of stillness and quiet time is essential for being able to come back to yourself, to be able to bring a centredness to how we live and be able to cope with life.

  21. Such an awesome reminder Sue to realise just how important those moments are. I’m in need of one of those very moments right now as I feel very overwhelmed. My default response is to just keep going, adding more to my plate so I don’t have to feel just how much the overwhelm is taking over me.

  22. What is so lovely too is that if, in a small group, we choose to close our eyes and breathe gently for a few moments there is a deep connection that can take place between us and a feeling of that sense of well being with everyone. Smoking and drinking give us a false version of the same where we might think we are more connected but in truth it is just a mind thing and a belief that we feel good because that is what we want to believe.

  23. I didn’t take up smoking or drinking alcohol but I took on raciness instead. I was often very tired and grumpy with my children, it wasn’t until I started to take better care of myself and learn what it means to be in stillness that things started to shift. Learning to be more self-loving and caring was a massive support to being more energised and being more myself.

  24. I have watched a work colleague make some major changes with how she is expressing in our work place that has brought a new level of confidence she never had before. What is interesting to note here is that when she gets to feel this – the quality of stillness in her body and stay with it – has led to her decreasing her smoking breaks in the day.

  25. It is a beautiful confirmation of the power of stillness or taking moments to just be, when clients report such profound changes within their lives. Our bodies and our being can truly thrive when offered these moments that bring us back to our natural rhythm and allow us to come back to ourselves rather than move somewhat unsettled through life.

  26. I remember many moments I used a smoke to have some time out, to have a break at work, to step away from people at a dinner. All moments I could have chose connection but instead chose the illusion that I wasn’t connected.

  27. What a beautiful gift you offer us all with this blog, a gift that is more valuable than anything in the world. For you are actually offering giving us back to us, a moment to just be with yourself, just be you, without the pressure and demand of anything around.

  28. It’s interesting to note that the very things so many of us go to in order to ‘unwind and relax’ are in fact doing the exact opposite to our physiology… causing it to be more racy, stimulated or numbed. We have to ask the question in that case what it is we are really seeking when it is not a true moment of stillness or ease within us. I can recall many instances where my ‘go to’s’ at the end of the day were to relieve the discomfort/s of the day without necessarily addressing why it might be so. A level of honesty is required to even begin this self-enquiry, but without it, we continue to use our ‘go-to’s’ as the crutch they are in truth.

  29. I am wondering if a wine at the end of the day with its sugar hit actually winds you up all the more, not winds you down.

  30. hmmm… yes that is actually very well and wise spoken. We are out of breath almost everyday from being in motion.. motion.. and motion, only at the end of the realizing we need a moment of repose (rest).. What the teachings of Serge Benhayon teach is how we can have the very two combined together in our daily life, and meaning in balance, not just a moment or a sip at the end of the day..

  31. Brilliant Sue, I wasn’t a smoker and it’s been a number of years since I drank alcohol, but there are still many other habits that I do. Ones that spring to mind are using my phone addictively or going into my mind to checkout. To bring the understanding that these things occur because I miss this beautiful stillness inside is so powerful. So rather than following restrictive regimes or harsh reformative courses, all I need to do is just choose to amplify and magnify this Sacred and loving quality inside me.

  32. Us holding ourselves in stillness is the invisible support not only for ourselves but the those that are with us during those times when we are in absolute communion with God and the all.

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