Alcohol Problems


Some Topics

  • The Good Person, Clear Mind

    The basis of solving a human problem is understanding the problem and wanting to solve the problem. The deepest motivation is the desire to become a good person, to avoid harming others and to seek your own happiness in the benefit you offer to others.

    We know that drinking alcohol in excess turns good people into bad people who can do much harm. We have acknowledged that alcoholics become outlaws. The decision to recover from addiction is a moral decision to stop harming oneself and others. The recovering alcoholic resolves to be a good person who does no harm.

    The world is full of good people doing good work and helping each other. Often recovered alcoholics in AA become good Samaritans who guide fellow alcoholics toward recovery. Recovered alcoholics can rejoin family and friends, heal wounds they have caused, or they have a fresh start, constructing a health lifestyle for the first time.

    The belief in higher power who guides and supports the effort to become a good person, can be interpreted in different ways. I prefer the mind development approach that leads to a deep understanding of the human condition, compassion and self control.

    The mind-study traditions found in Buddhist practice provide concepts and tools for working with experience and exploring our own mind. These are strategies that can alleviate suffering and promote the expansion of your consciousness toward a more universal common-mind, the goal of enlightenment practice.

    These are strategies that also guide research in cognitive neuroscience and are essential to ask meaningful questions about consciousness, thoughts, feelings, memory, goals and beliefs. Thus, the Tibetan Dalai Lama, a Nobel–prize winning Buddhist Monk, and neuroscientists are interested in each other and have had fruitful discussions about the nature of mind and its inner workings.

    The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize and his life-story has become familiar to millions people through the movies Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun, The Dalai Lama has become a spokesperson for sanity and human goodness. He holds each person responsible for what humans do or do not do.

    The Dalai Lama states that the pursuit of spiritual goals and ultimate liberation from suffering and evil requires the intention to be of service to others. Selfish goals and methods alone are not sufficient and inevitably lead to unhappiness. He teaches that each person can work with his or her own mind to develop a higher consciousness, characterized by compassion and ethical conduct.

    There is central hypothesis in Buddhism that humans are innately good and do bad deeds because of wrong assumptions about the nature of the really real, improper thoughts, lack of mind development and lack of self-discipline.


    Meditations are techniques designed to explore the mind. Meditation practice is a form of exercise -- mental, not muscular. Meditation is essential to informed self-awareness and self-regulatory skills are practiced by doing structured meditations. Meditations are a series of self-observation techniques that have evolved both in religious and in therapeutic traditions. The basic intent of meditation is to reveal something about the workings of your own mind: to develop "more consciousness", more choice and a calm center from which you can observe yourself and others with equanimity.

    Through this exquisite form of self-study, humans may be able to understand themselves better and modify the conditions that cause their suffering. Modern practitioners of the old techniques of yogis may not benefit from the mental discipline if bad food, bad air and noisy, chaotic environments disturb their brains. It is absurd to think of successful yoga and meditation after drinking three cups of coffee, smoking a cigar, drinking four bottles of beer, eating a pizza or even a chocolate bar. A bowl of rice and glass of water are better brain-inputs for staying calm and clear. The mind of an alcohol-intoxicated person is the opposite of the clear mind that one hopes to develop through meditation.

    • You are at Alpha Online, the host of the Alcohol Solutions Center. Topics are from the book Alcohol Problems and Solutions by Stephen Gislason MD.

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