I've been thinking over how to present this post for a great many days. I'm still not sure what exactly I want to say so I'll just muddle through as usual.
One of the things you stop doing on the PCP is drinking. Alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories considering you aren't getting any nutrition out of the beverage. People in the business refer to these as "empty calories" and they are the first thing to go when you want to cut fat and get lean.
It was also one of the harder things for me to let go of. One of the nicest parts of my day was getting home, kicking back and having a cold beer. It's probably the most prototypical male thing I did, actually. Always just one beer. About 5 times a week give or take.
I noticed that I was looking forward to that beer more and more, especially during stressful times. I would start thinking about it first on the way home from the station, then it would be on the train home, then it would be in my last class before getting on the train, earlier and earlier.
This puzzled me because I never drank more than one beer, and was never really tempted to. My craving didn't seem to be just the drug content of the alcohol, although surely that was part of it. I think it had just gotten to be my routine. And I didn't realize how attached to it I was until I had to break it up with this project.
But I just stopped. I had one beer on day 15 and that was it. So I was satisfied that it wasn't a physiological thing, like my body had to have beer or anything. Why then was it such a big deal for me to give it up?
I try to winnow down my attachments every day but beer still sticks around. I pass the cold beverage aisle now without even going down it, because if I do I really crave a beer. But just one. I don't get it.
If you take the novice vows of Thich Nhat Hanh's order, which Gwen and I have, you promise not to consume stimulants of any kind, all the way from cocaine to beer to mind-polluting TV shows. We grilled a young nun about what was so bad about having a glass of wine with a good meal. The nun explained that every time we spend our money on beer or wine we support a system that ruins untold lives through alcoholism, drunk driving, liquor fueled violence and domestic abuse. If we are truly mindful of all the pain that our choice to drink comes with and can still enjoy that glass of wine, then we are quite free to have it.
This argument gets me pretty good, because it is the same one I use to explain vegetarianism to people. "If you can truly understand all the stuff that happened to that animal for it to arrive on your plate, then you are welcome to have it. But if you're just eating it carelessly there's something wrong with that."
The nun's explanation is an extension of the Buddhist concept of interdependence. Every action results in numerous consequences, most of which we have no way of guessing. But some we can see if we just look a little deeper. The negative effects of alcohol and supporting the alcohol industry being one of them. So I feel really guilty whenever I dwell on that side of my beer routine. But I also really like beer. So I go around and around about it.
I know most people think this is far too much analysis over something as small as a can of beer after work. But that is what the PCP is all about. Not just accepting things being "pretty alright" but being the absolute best you can be. Setting high goals and not accepting mediocre results. Most people will think it's overthinking the issue but that has stopped bothering me. Many of those people are the same ones who don't understand why anyone would do the PCP to begin with.
High-reaching goals that require all of my resources and creativity are the only kind that interest me recently. Maybe I can make getting beer out of my life forever on of those as well. I'm still undecided and sitting with the issue. This is usually the only way I can resolve anything, so I'll let "just sitting" do its magic