The other day I got an invite to attend a yoga event. My initial reaction was “Yes!”…until I read through the entire event description. The yoga class would be held in a wine garden and attendees would receive a complimentary glass of wine before and after the class.
Ugh. Hard pass.
I’m sober myself, but my sobriety wasn’t the main reason I cringed in response to this event. Rather, I was alarmed by the deeply problematic messaging that alcohol is associated with health, wellness, and vitality.
As someone who works in the wellness sector, I feel that it’s my duty, along with other wellness professionals, to clap back at this messaging: Alcohol does not belong in wellness spaces. Period.
I understand this might be a hot take for some, but I hope you’ll hear me out.
A Culture Obsessed with Health and Alcohol
Culturally, we are obsessed with health and wellness. We read labels, shun processed foods, buy organic, go gluten-free, use natural skin care products, worry about fluoride in our water, practice yoga, meditate, drink out of BPA-free water bottles, journal, juice, cleanse, and collect crystals. Yet we drink alcohol.
Do you know what alcohol actually is? Chemically known as ethanol, alcohol is a neurotoxic, psychoactive drug. It’s used as an antiseptic in medical wipes and anti-bacterial formulas because it kills organisms by denaturing their proteins. It’s also used in paints, tinctures, markers, perfumes, and engine fuel.[*]
In other words, many health-conscious folks who won’t touch a non-organic veggie with a ten-foot pole are drinking, by choice, the same substance used to make engine fuel.
Alcohol has become so ingrained in our culture that it’s infiltrated every corner of society — even wellness events. It’s now commonplace to receive a complimentary pint of beer after a 5K. Wellness events with names like Vino & Vinyasa and Pilates & Pints are popping up left and right. Wellness retreats proudly advertise their organic wine offerings.
How can this be? How can an event that preaches wellness and serves only the cleanest organic food also promote drinking a neurotoxic, psychoactive drug…