Effects of Alcohol

James E P, modified 9 Years ago.

Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 31 Join Date: 6/17/11 Recent Posts
This tends to happen when my practice gets really heated up. I get into a very equanimical state, I'm pretty unflappable and alcohol just does me in. I mean doesn't matter, just one or two drinks, I find myself down, I find myself in what feels like the Dark Night nanas. This is when I am usually sensitive to things like suffering, the moment, I start becoming more and more compassionate to people, my metta gear gets changed into high gear and it takes alot to feel all those feelings with no regard to getting sucked into them.

This actually happened yesterday, I went out and had two drinks at a meet and greet type thing. I look around and see people just blurring their edges, blurring their perceptions, I find this is the primary effect of alcohol on people, at least myself, although loss of some inhibition takes place, mostly people become less sensitive and the mechanism of positive feedback becomes blurred.

Anyhow, I finish up my 2 drinks, head home, decide to meditate. I only was able to meditate for a few minutes, before deciding to lay down (I had a 12 hour work day). I was laying down and in my usual way, I was observing my thoughts as they were coming up, the funny part about it was the parallels between the story of Buddha's awakening and what went on next. I was laying there any my thoughts were coming to me, I was staying detached from the content, but the content was alluring, it's like my brain kept feeding me stuff to allure me, my mind kept saying, this isn't you, it won't help, it's unsatisfactory. I felt stronger against the nature of these thoughts, I also realized I was more concentrated and seeing them more purely, after laying down for a while I decided to get up and do some work around my place and then I started getting sucked into them again as I wasn't as mindful.

Overall I realize this is the acute effect of alcohol on my mind when I am more into the general "flow of things". Just wanted to know anybody else's experiences or thoughts.
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
There is a reason why part of the noble path is to 'avoid fermented drinks that cause heedlessness.'

I'm not going to tell you not to drink, but here's my 2 cents.

Meditation is the study of the mind. Not just any mind, mind you, but there very mind doing the minding. That is, apperception and introspection. Alcohol dulls the senses when they need to be sharp, causes detachment but does not destroy clinging. You may have been mindful and 'watchful' during your lay down, but you also just may have been tired and relaxing. Meditation requires pinpoint precision and effort, and ultimately alcohol will get in the way.

How can you properly do the science when both the scientist and subject are being poisoned, altered?
James E P, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 31 Join Date: 6/17/11 Recent Posts
You share alot of my own observations, in general You share alot of my own observations, in general I feel exactly the same way about what you have said. I guess when practice tends to bleed into walking life, which has been the case for me more and more so with each day and you are being very mindful of things that arise and fall, it causes negative reactions, at least in me, when you take something in.

In general I don't like drinking too much, I can do it, I've done it all night, but I find it quite hollow and the risk-reward is off for me, I mean you get dulled senses and are tired and or hungover after, doesn't compute at least for me. I guess my question, if you could succintly summarize this into one is, do you find being more mindful as a result of practice yields and increasingly negative reaction to alcohol?

I mean I am trying to seperate my innate biases and the fact, that I am not a huge fan to begin with.
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
in the theravadan tradition, it is impossible for a stream-enterer to imbibe alcohol.

That seems a bit silly to me, but it is food for thought.


Personally, I think that practice leads to Insight and Clarity, and this Wisdom leads many to realize the 'truth' about alcohol, albeit a personal truth. Maybe drinking just isn't your thing; no need to look down on the frat bros and i-bankers who get shitty every night and drown their troubles. Alcohol is alcohol, and practice gives us the ability to see clearly. It is entirely possible that this 'seeing clearly' could result in someone realizing they truly love and want the stuff.
James E P, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 31 Join Date: 6/17/11 Recent Posts
No hate here brother, do your thing and trust me, I'm talking about myself when I say this and the inspiration for this post is because once I get into a thick practice, where I am day-in-day-out, just being as mindful as I can be, I tend to hit tranquil state and it's disrupted and I want to know what the specific effects for everyone is for this.... it could just be me, but yes I realize that it's all up to the individual. Thanks.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
I think it's just a personal thing. I don't like drinking small amounts of alcohol as I don't get any benefit from it - just feel kinda sleepy and dull. Getting drunk once in a while can be fun, and I've woken up in spectacular moods the day after, even despite a hangover - not sure why, maybe it's cause alcohol relaxes your muscles and I was totally relaxed (even with head pounding), or maybe cause I took my mind off things for a bit if I was drunk and not mindful. Being drunk and yet mindful can be interesting... I find that any altered state of mind is interesting to meditate in since it's something 'different' than usual. Watching as the alcohol takes effect + peaks + fades, and being mindful of that, can be an object of meditation just like anything else. Or watching your thought processes or bodily sensations and noticing in what way they are different than normal.

On the other hand it is quite easy to lose mindfulness as a result of alcohol so you have to take that into account. EDIT: One more thing is that mind-altering substances might tend to break up your day... so instead of practicing continuously, you practice one way when not under the influence of alcohol, and another way (or not at all) when under the influence. And that can break up continuity/momentum, which is important to make effective progress.

Use your best judgement, in other words. If you find yourself quite tranquil and doing well, and when in the past you had 2 drinks in that state and it led to regression/dark night, then perhaps you shouldn't have 2 drinks this time if that's not what you want to happen. This is a personal thing - 2 drinks might affect someone else differently or the same, but that won't necessarily change how it affects you. Being mindful will let you figure these things out for yourself. This post is neither an invitation to drink nor an admonishment not to.
James E P, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Effects of Alcohol

Posts: 31 Join Date: 6/17/11 Recent Posts
I agree with that you are saying, I'm not a 2 drinks kind of guy, I guess it's particular and can be specific to where I am at any one time. THere is a positive from time to time. Alcohol tends to have a slightly more negative effect on me, I guess by and large. I do find the altered consciousness thing does help as well helps shift things slightly and this can give you some perspective.

Thanks for the input.