At a material level wine has the ability to disorientate the
mind and loosen behaviour - its addictive qualities tend to
promote long term problems for some and the overall social
effect is negative. It is rejected and forbidden for Muslims by
the Shariat (Holy Law).
There appears to be almost a kind of reversal of this, when
we apply it to the wine of the spiritual sphere. When our body
fasts (refrain from food and drink) we may feel that our spirit
is being refreshed proportionately to our abstinence. The
body becomes lean but the spirit becomes healthy. In the
case of wine our abstention from its material form may help
make our spirit lighter and intoxicated but the effects of any
confusion are not that the mind becomes disorientated in the
ordinary sense, but our spirit becomes free of some of its
earth bound qualities, and tends to rise towards the Divine.
The least of its benefits is that it reduces negative thoughts
and thus brings about much good to the individual and thus to
his/her society.
However to truly taste the divine wine it is not enough merely
to abstain from its gross form, otherwise every dry pedant
and maulvi would be ever spiritually intoxicated. For this the
sufis turn to the Saki - the one who brings and pours the
divine intoxication into the vessel of our spirit emptied of self
by purification. The Saki is also known as the spiritual guide
or Murshid.
For the sufis the true inner wine can be said indeed to be "the
cup that cheers."