Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

DharmaN00b wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:44 am
Hazel wrote: Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:44 pm my teacher said that essentially you don't just one day notice a sudden change on your own, you see it in your interactions with other people, whether it's you reacting to them differently, or someone flat out telling you. At least that's how it's been for them - they speak in a very humble and personal "this is my experience" and rarely make grand statements about how the universe works.
My brother wanted me to sit with him the other day. I didn't have to drink but... "when in Rome". He likes to smoke up too. My mind was doing cartwheels and I'm trying my best to be mindful but I'm slowly turning into a frightened child. My mind was vegetating :crying: . The person in front of me isn't my brother. I'm sat with my family and they are just strangers. Later the headache comes on and the anxiety is worsened by the memory questioning what had I become what has my brother become. No more of this, the turning point has arrived.

Lets live our adult lives sober together. :smile:
:good:

I wish there was a solidarity fist emoticon.

We got this!
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

Sober for 46 days.

It's slowly getting easier.

I am taking up Tibetan calligraphy and making Mala. I'm also contemplating Tsa Tsa if that doesn't require a lung, but I should probably stick to only 5 hobbies at a time. ;) :crying:

Been in horrible moods, lots of irritability and flashes of anger along side extreme sadness and hopelessness. My psychiatrist increased my antidepressant which has made the irritability a ton worse. These moods are probably unrelated to the sobriety, but damn does it make me want to drink.

I think having "dharma friends" would help the whole sobriety thing. I have read a few times about the benefits of surrounding yourself with people of admirable qualities you wish to emulate.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It sounds like it might be a good idea for you to set an attainable goal of leaving the house say, once every two weeks or week to make either a Dharma-based recovery meeting, or a Dharma teaching.

No need to sweat which tradition or any of that, just go, listen to talk, meet some people.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

Day 74.

Has it really been this long? Wow.

Two days of partying at my house begins in about an hour.

Tara give me strength!

Any relevant prayers or sutras (or excerpts) to memorize*/recite? I had a ton of success turning to the Dharma last time I desperately needed it (on day 5? when I had a gig at a bar). I had an intense prayer/meditation session and then was not even slightly tempted for the whole night. Very few things have solidified my faith in the Dharma more than that night.

I know all the mundane non-Dharma stuff about how to remain sober at a party and will also be pursuing that.

* One of my favorite activities enriched by sobriety.
shaunc
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by shaunc »

Just get through it, one day at a time. If Tara works for you, keep calling on her.
Good luck and best wishes.
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

This might help
Beer and the others in its group5 are the source
of all harm.
Liquor, even if you boil it,
still possesses great faults.
Gradually, come to regard even beer as a poison.
From the book The Jewel Treasury of Advice by Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Hazel wrote: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:56 pm Day 74.

Has it really been this long? Wow.

Two days of partying at my house begins in about an hour.

Tara give me strength!

Any relevant prayers or sutras (or excerpts) to memorize*/recite? I had a ton of success turning to the Dharma last time I desperately needed it (on day 5? when I had a gig at a bar). I had an intense prayer/meditation session and then was not even slightly tempted for the whole night. Very few things have solidified my faith in the Dharma more than that night.

I know all the mundane non-Dharma stuff about how to remain sober at a party and will also be pursuing that.

* One of my favorite activities enriched by sobriety.
I’m gonna go into counselor mode for a minute:

In general it’s recommended that you not expose yourself to triggers like alcohol-heavy parties in early recovery, it’s kind of playing with fire. It’s not fun but sometimes the only safe road is avoidance. Only you know for sure if that’s the case here.

If you do, have an exit strategy, or at least a plan.

As far as Buddhist stuff, IMO aspiration prayers for other’s recovery can be powerful to your own.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

Thank you all for the advice so far, as always it is most appreciated.

I'm primarily looking for stuff to memorize as I enjoy doing that and it could be a fun escape from the party when I need to retreat to my room. I could also just keep going with the Sadhana I've been working on for what feels like forever now.

Anyone know what sutra the following is quoting?
The Buddha, therefore, included the downside of intoxication in a sutra: “One is to refrain from drinking even a drop of alcohol and taking intoxicants because they are the cause of heedlessness. If any Buddhists succumb to the lure of intoxicating drinks, they shall not consider me as a teacher.”
shaunc
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by shaunc »

Hi hazel. Just want to let you know that you're killing it and I'm sure that every one on here is barracking for you.
It's a pleasant change to go on a forum and hear that someone has a problem and is doing something about it instead of just whinging and bitching about it and playing the blame game.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Agreed, I enjoy you sharing what’s going on and being open about recovery stuff.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Ayu
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Ayu »

It is unexpectedly helpful and encouraging to meet people who dealt with similar problems. Talking to people who are sober for years and decades gives the impression it IS possible to leave that demon.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

Christmas was a success. Had a panic attack at one point each day, but I am proud that despite that I did not drink.

In about an hour I return to my old therapist after a few month long hiatus in our sessions.

I have been majorly neglecting my practice this week though, which is frustrating, but today is a different day.
Ayu wrote: Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:39 am It is unexpectedly helpful and encouraging to meet people who dealt with similar problems. Talking to people who are sober for years and decades gives the impression it IS possible to leave that demon.
In addition, I find that it can break down a ton of stereotypes.
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Ayu
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Ayu »

Hazel wrote: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:53 pm Christmas was a success. Had a panic attack at one point each day, but I am proud that despite that I did not drink.

In about an hour I return to my old therapist after a few month long hiatus in our sessions.

I have been majorly neglecting my practice this week though, which is frustrating, but today is a different day.
...
Congrats. Staying sober is a certain kind of practice as well, I think.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
avatamsaka3
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Hazel, I hope your recovery is going well.
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juexing
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by juexing »

Sorry if this suggestion is out of place since it comes mostly from the Chinese Mahayana tradition and it sounds like you practice in the Tibetan tradition, so just disregard this if so!

But if you enjoy memorization, then the Shurangama Mantra/楞严咒 could be a good project and would keep you busy for some time. If it seems too long, the Great Compassion Mantra/大悲咒 is much shorter (but not too short) and also definitely worth memorizing. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has some pdfs freely available with the pronunciation (and of course recordings on Youtube) that are probably the best learning materials in English, along with lots of talks of Master Hsuan Hua about the mantras.

As far as I know the Shurangama Mantra isn't widely practiced in Tibetan Buddhism, but the Great Compassion Mantra is (although not quite in the same form as the Chinese)
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Hazel
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Hazel »

81 days sober.

I'm loving this. I thought I was "getting old"; lack of energy, difficulty staying on task, general hopelessness, unable to complete a work day. But it turns out that getting drunk almost every night just wasn't good for me (who'd thunk?). It made all my underlying issues worse. I still have trouble with the things I listed to some extent/sometimes, but it feels more manageable. I feel much more optimistic about dealing with my psyche stuff. I think once I start increasing my ability to leave the house more and general socialization, I'll be in a pretty good place.

I have this weird feeling that I owe something to the Buddha and the teachings. Perhaps the feeling is gratitude? It's like when you're given a gift you are moved to give back out of appreciation for the kindness shown to you. Could you think of a more precious gift?

This journey has changed my life in a lot of ways. At the same time I know this was the journey I was always on and I'm starting to be confident that it is one I will continue to be on.
juexing wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:17 pm Sorry if this suggestion is out of place since it comes mostly from the Chinese Mahayana tradition and it sounds like you practice in the Tibetan tradition, so just disregard this if so!

But if you enjoy memorization, then the Shurangama Mantra/楞严咒 could be a good project and would keep you busy for some time. If it seems too long, the Great Compassion Mantra/大悲咒 is much shorter (but not too short) and also definitely worth memorizing. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has some pdfs freely available with the pronunciation (and of course recordings on Youtube) that are probably the best learning materials in English, along with lots of talks of Master Hsuan Hua about the mantras.

As far as I know the Shurangama Mantra isn't widely practiced in Tibetan Buddhism, but the Great Compassion Mantra is (although not quite in the same form as the Chinese)
Thank you very much for the suggestion :-). I haven't "picked a team" yet in terms of traditions. I'll probably end up with some form of Tibetan Buddhism, but I'm easing into it and am open to Dharma from all sources.
ford_truckin
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by ford_truckin »

Good on you Hazel, keep it up.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Dharma practice was what ultimately led to me giving up alcohol too. Really, there is nothing more precious, I'm on the same page.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
shaunc
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by shaunc »

ford_truckin wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:18 pm Good on you Hazel, keep it up.
I'll second that. Congratulations.
DharmaN00b
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Re: Quitting alcohol. Dharmic advice?

Post by DharmaN00b »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:03 am Dharma practice was what ultimately led to me giving up alcohol too. Really, there is nothing more precious, I'm on the same page.
I believe I had an epithany so I'm a bit behind Hazel in the running. That said I'm interested in your own experiences. What was it, if you don't mind?
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