Sober Gaze

Alexander Lyadov
2 min readMay 21, 2024
Aishath Maldha Mohamed

Drunk people don’t like having a sober person at the table.

One reason is that they sense their own vulnerability. Alcohol dissolves cultural inhibitions. People start saying and doing things they usually can’t but always desperately want to.

It’s like an Austrian sauna — strip naked or leave.

The sober person sees them as they really are, while his essence remains a mystery to them. No wonder this asymmetry makes the drinkers uneasy, scared, and angry.

But the same phenomenon happens every day without alcohol.

Ideology, dogma, or a victim mindset acts as the intoxicant. These give people an “indulgence” that frees them from punishment for breaking cultural norms. Now, they can do anything.

The only thing that ruins their “party” is the sober person. Even if he just watches silently. His attentive gaze is a reminder that unbridled behavior is not normal.

A dilemma arises: to eliminate the burning gaze or sober up.

This is why “witch hunts,” or the persecution of dissenters and the unwanted, aren’t just a medieval phenomenon. Human nature remains unchanged, whether in the age of stone axes or the age of AI.

It sounds grim, but there is good news. If you value sobriety, know that you’re not alone. You will find That gaze everywhere if you look. Remember: there is sun, even when it’s night all around.

Note that any intoxicant can be beneficial if it’s not used for escape or entertainment. Some cultures have healed PTSD, depression, and addictions for thousands of years with psilocybin, cannabinoids, and DMT.

Sincerely yours,


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I write about creativity, freedom, and meaning.



Alexander Lyadov

As a business therapist, I help tech founders increase the value of their business by unlocking the potential of their personality.