>That still small voice tells me I need to quit drinking entirely, watch what I eat and take care of myself...I will benefit mentally and spirtually from this.
Oh yeah. Definitely.
There is something I'm not totally against though, and this is a strange viewpoint for some people. I am NOT against making use of power plants for spiritual purposes. In other words, in a shamanic and controlled environment under SKILLED supervision. I have no problem with someone making use of marijuana and hallucinogenic plants (NOT man-made chemicals) for the purpose of learning to function in altered states of consciousness. I rarely do anything like this myself, but from what I've seen and 'remembered' from other life times, this is an effective tool when used responsibly. Of course, it's not for everyone. I'm completely against people using these plants for recreational purposes, however. I see that as disrespectful to those plant spirits. The main thing I've noticed in my own work, is that if all the person intends to get out of interaction with those plants/plant-spirits is a 'warm fuzzy feeling' then that's all he/she usually ever gets. But when the skilled practitioner makes responsible use of them for the purpose of learning, the results are drastically different.
The Basic Idea behind this type of practice:
The plant takes you to an altered state and you learn to work with and in that altered state. Then, later you find it easier to achieve that same state WITHOUT the assistance of the plant, since you already know what that state feels like. Practitioners NEVER use these plants on a daily basis - THAT'S what causes brain damage in the irresponsible drug addicts of our society. It's just too bad that the vast majority who don't understand how to properly make use of something that nature has provided for us have made it bad for the rest of us who do. Native Americans made use of those substances for centuries without any problems because they understood and respected them.)
(To the person being spoken to in the original email):
I actually dislike most alcohol now, but I still feel the same way toward natural substances that come from the Earth. Such a practice definitely isn't for everyone but as long as they are responsible supervised and safe, I see nothing wrong with it.
Final Notes - later addition:
Too often, when I tell someone that they can make better use of their 'herb' intake by directing it toward spiritual goals, they instantly assume this to be an excuse to smoke weed EVEN MORE OFTEN than they already do since they enjoy it so much. When they start doing that they've missed the gist of the message and shown to me that they have an addictive personality disorder (and are attempting to self-medicate aspects of their personalities rather than confronting their psychological issues directly) and are not responsible enough to work with power plants yet.
Bottom line: Deal with your problems rather than trying to drown them in a drugged haze, whether with 'drugs' or alcohol. Recreational and 'self-medicational' use of plant teachers will only result in avoiding your personal issues in a self-destructive joyride. I speak from experience here. Power plants are teachers, not 'toys' for your amusement. The experienced practitioner has no need of them once he/she learns to consciously reproduce the feeling of those particular states of consciousness on his/her own.