Buddhist Sajja

Is a Buddhist Sajja vow the Solution to Addiction?

ajja (sometimes written as saccha and pronounced more like satja) is a Pali word that refers to truthfulness; a sajja vow is a solemn promise to do or refrain from something. A temple in Thailand called Thamkrabok is using this vow as a means for treating addicts. This Buddhist detox monastery has been involved in this type of work for decades and in recent years there has been a rise in the numbers of addicts arriving there from western countries.

The Sajja Vow of Thamkrabok

Thamkrabok has received a lot of attention in the western media for its unique use of a medicine that makes the addict vomit as part of the detox process. This emetic is only a small aspect of the treatment program though and according to a previous abbot the detox only accounted for 5% of the overall treatment at the temple. More important is the sajja vow. Once you make such a promise it is not permissible to break it and then repeat the vow; the sajja promise is a once off event and there are no second chances. It is a widely held belief in Thailand that keeping such a vow will bring prosperity to a person’s life but breaking it will lead to a less favorable future.

Addicts at the temple will make a sajja vow soon after their arrival. It is usually a promise to refrain from either drugs and alcohol or both for the rest of their lives. This promise is made as part of a ceremony with a Buddhist monk and is conducted using a mixture of the Pali and Thai languages. There is no need for the person to be Buddhist to make such a vow as they can direct it at their own concept of a higher power.

The Success of the Sajja Vow of Thamkrabok

Many people have managed to escape their addictions following treatment at this Thai temple. These individuals frequently claim that keeping their sajja vow has meant that their life in recovery has been full of happy events and success. The monks are keen to promote the idea that there is something magical about this vow that just attracts good things into a person’s life so long as they keep it; karma is often used as a means of explaining why this is so. It is claimed that if the person believes in their vow it will connect them to a higher power that will lead them to peace and happiness – belief is key to the success of the sajja.

Not all of those who have attended treatment at Thamkrabok have been able to keep their sajja vow. It is pointed out that the power of the sajja is tied in with the strength of belief in it; this means that there is sometimes less concern with the negative consequences of breaking the vow among westerners. Some of these people have gone on to have success with other treatment options.

caffeine addiction

How to Break a Caffeine Addiction: The Effects of Caffeine and Caffeine Withdrawal

Coffee, tea and chocolate have been diet standards in Europe and America since the 17th century, giving that extra kick necessary to survive in the Industrial Era and beyond. But the side effects of caffeine–or the dark side–warrant a closer look as someone starts to feel that he/she is consuming too much caffeine in any of its many forms. Here is how to break a caffeine addiction.

The Effects of Caffeine

Coffee and other caffeine-containing treats, including chocolate, do their work via three stimulating compounds: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which all serve to release excess amounts of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter dopamine by obstructing the brain chemical which blocks dopamine release, known as adenosine. The result? We know all too well: a few hours’ reprieve from the sluggishness and mental torpor that we increasingly suspect found their genesis in our daily—perhaps several times daily—ritual. When a person reaches the point where caffeine or coffee is more the cause than the answer to his/her chronic mood and energy slump, it’s time to take a hard look at what it means to experience caffeine withdrawal, and what the other side—life without caffeine—might look like.

Compounding a caffeine addiction are other enticing, and addictive, substances in one’s caffeine-containing drug of choice. Soft drinks include sugar and colorings—both stimulants—while chocolate might lure us with its sugar content, its high fat content, its phenethylamine (a mood-enhancing stimulant), or all of the above.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Tolerance is a phenomenon as naturally occurring the body with sugar or caffeine as it is with nicotine or heroin, and in looking at how to break a caffeine addiction, understanding it becomes key. The negative feedback system of the brain, in place to prevent overstimulation, habituates to the caffeine and serves to undermine the stimulating effects of caffeine by shutting down receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine; in response, caffeineophiles naturally jack up the dose. A daily cup of coffee, clocking in at 100mg of caffeine, can escalate to a daily coffee-shop confection hammering hundreds of milligrams of stimulants into the central nervous system, encouraging hypertension, increased blood sugar and cholesterol, insomnia, and dehydration. Moreover, even a seemingly low-grade coffee habit—just 100mg—can cause caffeine withdrawal systems including headache, fatigue, and poor concentration.

Breaking a typical caffeine addiction takes just four days; in this time, the brain brings additional dopamine receptors online until they approximate the level typical before the habit began. Below we will look at how to overcome a caffeine addiction through natural alternatives.

How to Overcome the Addiction

A gentle reduction of caffeine can sidestep the unpleasant effects of caffeine withdrawal. Black tea contains less caffeine than most coffee, and green tea still less so. But even green tea fosters the same cadre of nasty side effects when overused. The answer? Glutamine, an amino acid known as an addiction-buster (and, incidentally, improves mental performance), provides a gentle kick similar to that provided by any stimulant; Dr. Hyla Cass and Patrick Cass recommend taking two to five grams between meals.

underearning as an addiction

Compulsive Underearning as an Addiction: When One Does not Have Enought Money to Take Care of Basic Needs

A compulsive underearner does not earn enough money or have sufficient income to support themselves. When a persons income does not cover basic needs, sooner or later one is to incur unsecured debt, like credit cards or personal loans.

How does Underearning Affect Us?

Being a compulsive underearner and consistantly not having anough money creates a belief cycle, of not feeling good enough to deserve more money than one is currently receiving, or feelings of despair from not being able to meet financial goals or deadlines.

Like alcoholism, compulsive gambling, or overeating, underearning can err on the side of an addiction. One becomes so familiar, yet not necessarily comfortable, with not generating enough income to cover basic needs, that underearning becomes a part of who one thinks they are. Years, even just months, of living constricted lives due to financial restrictions can cause one to lose vitality and their sense of self worth.

Underearning can, and does, destroy relationships. Asking friends and family for money cover them until the next paycheck creates unhealthy relationships of dependency, with the end result being hurt and resentment.

Signs of Compulsive Underearning

  • Resenting being in a position where one dislikes their job or is not being paid what they are worth, yet not asking for a pay raise or changing jobs
  • Having more basic weekly/fortnightly/monthly expenses like bills, groceries, fuel, education and secured debt repayments (mortgage, car) than the income one is actually bringing home (not including credit card and personal loan repayments)
  • Using credit cards to “tide them over” until the next paycheck
  • Asking friends and family for money to bail them out of financial hardship on a regular basis
  • Believing one’s salary is not important to their wellbeing, but constantly worrying about money
  • Working overtime for hours to do a job more perfectly than one is getting paid to do
  • Overcommiting time and energy to volunteer activities
  • Feeling discouraged or resentful towards others who earn more than they do
  • Being so afraid of failure as to not attempt a new career, or even undertake training

Recovering from Compulsive Underearning and Having More Money

Recovery from underearning as an addiction is both possible and closer to fruition than one may currently believe. Like other addictions, the road is seldom smooth and certainly not without personal trials, and maybe even circumstances need to worsen before they can improve.

Recovering from underearning does not necessarily mean one becomes wealthy overnight, but that one’s income increased, needs are met, along with having the means to nourishing oneself with new clothing, holidays or vacations, taking up hobbies and becoming more effective.

Acknowledging oneself as a compulsive underearner is the first step to recovery. There are self-help programs and 12-step fellowships specifically for underearners worldwide.