Because this is such a sensitive topic for many people, I want to emphasize that this post is not a general opinion or judgement—this is only about me and my personal experience.
One Sunday morning in April, I woke up feeling off and immediately thought: there’s no room in the simpler living plan for a hangover.
My love/hate relationship with alcohol has included a few year-long stretches without drinking, the last one ending around 7 years ago. Since then, it’s been a slippery slope and I’ve made excuses to myself with varying success by thinking:
- I only drink when I’m happy.
- I’m mindful to never drink when stressed or sad.
- I’m more disciplined if I drink moderately than not at all.
The last drink I had was four months ago: May 2/2015. Shortly after that, I started to call bullshit on what had been my belief regarding food: everything in moderation. There is nothing neutral about me eating cheezies (my junk food weakness) in moderation. And there is absolutely nothing neutral about me consuming alcohol. It can only be negative.
Some simpler living content I’ve read approaches reduction or elimination of alcohol with frugality as the primary reason. For me, this is bigger than saving $ or reducing my middle-aged belly.
I drank heavily from 19-35 and it generated a lot of suffering. I don’t want to risk generating more in this way. How lighter my life could have been without the shame and guilt I ignited. I forgave myself long ago, but how differently would I have felt about myself if I had exited my nine-year marriage bravely and respectfully, rather than under the influence of cowardice and alcohol?
A Buddhist topic I am curious about recently is the merit gained through taking and keeping vows. In my practice, I’ve set my intention most recently with the Bodhisattva vow. I’ve realized there is a very personal vow that I want to make out loud and by posting here.
There is no room in the rest of my life, simpler or otherwise, for alcohol. I don’t want to “take the edge off” life this way. I take a vow never to have another alcoholic drink.
May it be of benefit.
References and Related Links
- cheezies: generic term used in Canada for cheese puffs.
- Bodhisattva Vow: a formal commitment, in front of others, to aspire to be a Bodhisattva for the benefit of all sentient beings. For more info, see Chögyam Trungpa On the Meaning of the Bodhisattva Vow (source: Shambhala Sun).
- Merit: “that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts, or thoughts and which carries over throughout the life or the subsequent incarnations. Such merit contributes to a person’s growth towards spiritual liberation” (source: Wikipedia).