Buddhism and alcohol

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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apophenia
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by apophenia » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:09 pm

Hello oncereturner. I just skimmed through the thread. I'm in AA (in Belgium) and have been sober now for almost three years. When you say you are going to give it another thought, it seems to me that you are overthinking it (and trying to fix yourself). Go to AA. Give AA a chance while you are "giving it another thought". Do 90 meetings in 90 days. It certainly won't hurt you, and it's free. It might even help you, but even if it doesn't, you won't lose anything by trying it.


:hug:

binocular
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by binocular » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:36 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:10 pm
But please tell me how to handle these obsessive compulsive thoughts. I think it's impossible without medicine. I guess I need an SSRI.
I'm not a professional, so I can't speak in that capacity.

But just as a suggestion -- you might want to look into Morita therapy -- although just reflecting on its principles could suffice:
The Naturalness of Feelings (Arugamama)
If we find out that we have just won the lottery, we may be excited and happy. But if we find out about the death of a loved one, we may feel sadness and grief. Such feelings are natural responses to our life circumstances and we need not try to “fix” or “change” them. Arugamama (acceptance of reality as it is) involves accepting our feelings and thoughts without trying to change them or “work through” them.

This means that if we feel depressed, we accept our feelings of depression. If we feel anxious, we accept our feelings of anxiety. Rather than direct our attention and energy to our feeling state, we instead direct our efforts toward living our life well. We set goals and take steps to accomplish what is important even as we co-exist with unpleasant feelings from time to time.

Feelings are Uncontrollable
There is an assumption behind many Western therapeutic methods that it is necessary to change or modify our feeling state before we can take action. We assume that we must “overcome” fear to dive into a pool, or develop confidence so we can make a public presentation. But in actuality, it is not necessary to change our feelings in order to take action. In fact, it is our efforts to change our feelings that often makes us feel even worse.

“Trying to control the emotional self willfully by manipulative attempts is like trying to choose a number on a thrown die or to push back the water of the Kamo River upstream. Certainly, they end up aggravating their agony and feeling unbearable pain because of their failure in manipulating the emotions.” -- Shoma Morita, M.D.

Once we learn to accept our feelings we find that we can take action without changing our feeling state. Often, the action-taking leads to a change in feelings. For example, it is common to develop confidence after one has repeatedly done something with some success.

Self-centeredness and Suffering
In Western psychotherapy there are a great many labels which purport to diagnose and describe a person’s psychological functioning - depressed, obsessive, compulsive, codependent. Many of us begin to label ourselves this way, rather than investigate our own experience. If we observe our experience, we find that we have a flow of awareness which changes from moment to moment. When we become overly preoccupied with ourselves, our attention no longer flows freely, but becomes trapped by an unhealthy self-focus. The more we pay attention to our symptoms (our anxiety, for example) the more we fall into this trap. When we are absorbed by what we are doing, we are not anxious because our attention is engaged by activity. But when we try to “understand” or “fix” or “work through” feelings and issues, our self-focus is heightened and exercised. This often leads to more suffering rather than relief. How can we be released from such self-focused attention?

“The answer lies in practicing and mastering an attitude of being in touch with the outside world. This is called a reality-oriented attitude, which means, in short, liberation from self-centeredness.” -- Takahisa Kora, M.D.

Ultimately, the successful student of Morita therapy learns to accept the internal fluctuations of thoughts and feelings and ground his behavior in reality and the purpose of the moment. Cure is not defined by the alleviation of discomfort or the attainment of some ideal feeling state (which is impossible) but by taking constructive action in one’s life which helps one to live a full and meaningful existence and not be ruled by one’s emotional state.

The methods used by Morita therapists vary. In Japan, there is often a period of isolated bedrest before the patient is exposed to counseling, instruction and work therapy. In the U.S., inpatient Morita therapy is generally unavailable, and most practitioners favor a counseling or educational approach, the emphasis of which is on developing healthy living skills, learning to work with our attention, and taking steps to accomplish tasks and goals. For this reason, Morita therapy is sometimes referred to as the psychology of action.

“In general, the stronger we desire something, the more we want to succeed, and the greater our anxiety about failure. Our worries and fears are reminders of the strength of our positive desires....Our anxieties are indispensable in spite of the discomfort that accompanies them. To try to do away with them would be foolish. Morita therapy is not really a psychotherapeutic method for getting rid of “symptoms”. It is more an educational method for outgrowing our self-imposed limitations. Through Moritist methods we learn to accept the naturalness of ourselves.” -- David Reynolds, Ph.D.

http://www.todoinstitute.org/morita.html
While I don't agree with everything they say, I think they make a very good point: one has to do one's work regardless of how one feels or whatever thoughts happen to come into one's mind.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:13 pm

Hi Binocular

What you wrote is not easy to understand, but I will read it though again. I write from the forest. Only here I feel better. No one is around, its so relaxing. But its cold, i must go home(?). To the ghetto. I dont want to go "home" , as always. Its better freezing than to go back

I have paranoid thoughts, which means I'm self centered. I have a continuous feeling of being under surveillance. This morning the police knocked on my door. I was scared to death. Someone scratched a car, they asked people what happened. Of course I was not me, I was sleeping all night. I often feel guilty and ashamed. Alcohol suppress these negative thoughts, but then I feel even more guilty. I can't undo the impact of childhood traumas, and parental blaming.
I have OCD.

I eat junk food, I try to substitute the missing nutritiens with vitamin supplements and whey protein.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:09 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:21 pm
The problem is you.
I agree.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

dharmacorps
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:14 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:09 pm
dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:21 pm
The problem is you.
I agree.
Don't make a problem of it. All this means is you need to get help outside yourself. No need for self-flagellation.

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:19 pm

bodom wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:47 am
And I love the Scorpions they're one of my very favorite bands!

:namaste:
The reality is different in eastern Europe. As far as I know thousands of people committed suicide when communism collapsed. I'm from a Communist military family. Communists built 700.000 homes and everyone had a job. I lost my home as well. 10 years passed and I still have dreams and nightmares of my lost home.

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

binocular
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by binocular » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:24 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:13 pm
I eat junk food, I try to substitute the missing nutritiens with vitamin supplements and whey protein.
Try to eat more wholesome food. It's cheaper and healthier.
Some studies show that OCD (and several other problems) is made worse by eating junk food.

oncereturner wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:13 pm
I often feel guilty and ashamed. Alcohol suppress these negative thoughts, but then I feel even more guilty. I can't undo the impact of childhood traumas, and parental blaming.
You don't need a perfect past to have a good life.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am

apophenia wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:09 pm
Hello oncereturner. I just skimmed through the thread. I'm in AA (in Belgium) and have been sober now for almost three years. When you say you are going to give it another thought, it seems to me that you are overthinking it (and trying to fix yourself). Go to AA. Give AA a chance while you are "giving it another thought". Do 90 meetings in 90 days. It certainly won't hurt you, and it's free. It might even help you, but even if it doesn't, you won't lose anything by trying it.

:hug:
I heard that there's an old famous beer called Delirium Tremens in Belgium. It's good to hear you are sober for a long time.

I guess alcohol should be illegal. Fortunately every other drugs are illegal in my country.

There's a campaign against nicotine. People can buy cigarettes only at the "national tobacco stores". People under 18 can't enter. I wish these horrible stores would turn into Buddhist temples. They sell alcohol too. Supermarkets and other stores are not allowed to sell tobacco. Smoking is forbidden in offices, public transport, hospitals, restaurants, parks and even in the pubs.

Drinking on the streets is a crime, but there's no such limitations in the stores. Beer is cheap. There is no warning messages and pictures of corpses on the bottles, which can be found on the cigarette boxes. However the government introduced zero tolerance, which means when someone drives, his blood alcohol must be no more than 0.0%. Alcoholic drivers receive several penalties. I think alcohol abuse is much more dangerous than smoking.

I hope that they will expand this campaign, and in the future alcohol will also be restricted.

I'm sober this week. I confessed my errors, and progressed a lot. I can see now I am such a fool. I should never drink again.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm

I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

Garrib
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by Garrib » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:48 am

oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
wrong choice my friend!!!! Take it one day at a time.

You know how meditation teachers always talk about the breath - it doesn't matter how many times your attention slips away, what matters is that whenever you recognize that your mind is wandering, you bring it back to the breath. At the same time, your goal is always to KEEP the attention on the breath (so you can develop better mindfulness and hopefully sometime: enter jhana). Perhaps the same is true for alcoholism and other addictions. No matter how many times you slip up, as soon as you recognize your error, you brings yourself BACK to your commitment to get sober. If you keep doing this, and keep up with your intention and effort, then hopefully you will reach the point that you are actually sober.

binocular
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:22 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
Have you noticed a pattern here?

When you declare victory like you did here --
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am
I'm sober this week. I confessed my errors, and progressed a lot. I can see now I am such a fool. I should never drink again.
soon after that you tend to fall down.

This could be something to explore and work with.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:48 pm

I was sober for some days, and at the same time I lowered the amount of benzos. It seemed to be a good idea, but my body got used to the sedative effect of these substances. As a result my nervous system lost balance, and I became very anxious and oversensitive. It was a dangerous condition.
Immediate stop can be done only in hospital. I tried it on my own a hundred times, it doesn't works, just as Bodom said.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

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oncereturner
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by oncereturner » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:03 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:22 pm
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
Have you noticed a pattern here?

When you declare victory like you did here --
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am
I'm sober this week. I confessed my errors, and progressed a lot. I can see now I am such a fool. I should never drink again.
soon after that you tend to fall down.

This could be something to explore and work with.
Doctor said I have a bipolar personality disorder. You pointed out that...(huh English is not easy...) I think in an unusual way. The same pattern is true for my drinking habits. Sometimes I don't drink at all, then I get drunk. Controlled drinking, or the middle way would help me a lot. 2 drinks a day, not more. This would prevent withdrawal symptoms, and hangovers as well. Controlled thinking would have also several benefits for me.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

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bodom
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Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:47 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:03 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:22 pm
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
Have you noticed a pattern here?

When you declare victory like you did here --
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am
I'm sober this week. I confessed my errors, and progressed a lot. I can see now I am such a fool. I should never drink again.
soon after that you tend to fall down.

This could be something to explore and work with.
Doctor said I have a bipolar personality disorder. You pointed out that...(huh English is not easy...) I think in an unusual way. The same pattern is true for my drinking habits. Sometimes I don't drink at all, then I get drunk. Controlled drinking, or the middle way would help me a lot. 2 drinks a day, not more. This would prevent withdrawal symptoms, and hangovers as well. Controlled thinking would have also several benefits for me.
Hi oncereturner

Unfortunately there is no such thing as controlled drinking for an alcoholic. It sounds like a great idea and literally all alcoholics have tried it including me. This is clearly a sign that you have a major problem. Most people do not have to worry about controlled drinking. They can take the drink or leave it. Not an alcoholic for One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough. There must be complete abstinence from alcohol.

If you want to try to reduce your intake until stopping completely then by all means do what you have to do, but Please do not buy into the illusion that you can control your drinking because it is obvious that you cannot.

This is the great obsession of every alcoholic: that they can somehow, someday, control there drinking again. It doesn't happen. Many drink themselves into the grave trying.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Buddhism and alcohol

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:30 pm

oncereturner wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:03 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:22 pm
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I failed, it's game over. I give up the fight against Mara. This demon is invincible. I go to samsara, in my next life I will succeed.
Have you noticed a pattern here?

When you declare victory like you did here --
oncereturner wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am
I'm sober this week. I confessed my errors, and progressed a lot. I can see now I am such a fool. I should never drink again.
soon after that you tend to fall down.

This could be something to explore and work with.
Doctor said I have a bipolar personality disorder. You pointed out that...(huh English is not easy...) I think in an unusual way. The same pattern is true for my drinking habits. Sometimes I don't drink at all, then I get drunk.
No, the pattern I see is that you declare victory too quickly, and then fall down. This points to a general phenomenon that doesn't specifically have anything to do with you or the personality disorder you might have; it's just a pattern that occurs.

It's similar to, for example, if you would begin to learn how to drive a car and then, after a few hours of practice, would do quite okay -- and then declare that you know enough to drive on your own; but then crash the car because a few hours of practice are simply not enough.
Another example: If you would learn how to play the piano, and would learn how to play one song, and then say that you've mastered playing the piano. It wouldn't actually be true, because apart from that one song, you wouldn't know how to play anything else.

Chances are this pattern occurs elsewhere in your life as well, not just in regards to drinking.
Controlled drinking, or the middle way would help me a lot. 2 drinks a day, not more. This would prevent withdrawal symptoms, and hangovers as well. Controlled thinking would have also several benefits for me.
Which means that you think that drinking is normal, good, wholesome. That's the problem.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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