A few months ago, I picked up on Timothy Leary's writings on various mind-altering substances, and I remarked that he had criticized the use of narcotics, and more than occasional use of alcohol. I thought this seemed like wise advice. I got quite a few comments, and some of them mentioned that Leary did not always follow his own advice.
Diana Trimble posted an addition comment on July 25, and it's worth quoting here:
As others have pointed out, Leary was not only a drinker, he was a BIG drinker! A lot of what he wrote was super idealized and not to be taken as a template for how he lived himself. When Owsley Stanley's group went and hung out at Meadowbrook (Rhoney Gissen talks about this in her biography) this was one of the main contrasts - the Leary crew were all drinking Martinis and smoking cigarettes being quite the East Coast sophisticates whereas all the California people were tripping their brains of and never touched booze.
I knew Leary personally and there was always tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, etc. around. One time in the last few years of his life, I remember going up to the house on the hill and I was at the time doing 12 step sobriety which I told him right off the bat, but throughout the evening he kept either forgetting or he was being a prankster (you couldn't always tell, it was part of his charm) because he just kept offering me drinks, joints, and each time I'd say "yeah, I'm kinda doing the sober thing" and then an hour later "still sober Tim!" and the offers would be harder and harder drugs....nitrous oxide...mescaline...?. He finally offered me straight up heroin by the end of the night! In retrospect, it was pretty hilarious though at the time I was like, "Jayzus! You don't offer an ex-junkie smack!"
Other psychedelic scenes and individuals I've known though, have definitely steered away from alcohol. I like to include it in a come-down from psychedelics but not at the same time.
There are really no hard and fast rules. Excessive alcohol use does indeed dull the mind, not to mention fuck with the physical body, but I believe it has its place on the shelf with all the other natural intoxicants.
I'm also an old friend of R.U. Sirius who obviously also knew Leary (we've even hung out with him together, ha ha. good times!). You can check directly with him if you want to know first-hand verification that what I say is true: whatever he might have postulated, IRL, the Professor loved a stiff drink and he continued to dabble in all sorts of drugs, not restricted to the psychedelics or "good" drugs, right up to the end of his life.
And quite happily too I might add!