Angelic Fruitcake wrote:I struggle with the precept of not using intoxicants. Not because I believe they are necessary to a good life, but because I am unable to do everything I want and I must prioritize. Drinking in moderation may not be ideal, but it seems it would be wise to prioritize other things first, such as being a good mother. And ironically, if you believe me, allowing myself a glass of wine helps me handle the stress better. Yet I somehow feel I don't qualify as a buddhist unless I give up alcohol, coffee and come to think of it, meat. Am I being too dogmatic? If not, how should I go about things?
It all depends on what your teacher has taught you, what lineage you belong to and how you understand them. The precepts, as I understand them (and how it was taught to me) are training in order to refine you, to better your path toward enlightenment. The vows I took used the word "abstain", which means "to refrain by choice". How much alcohol you chose to drink is up to you, and the only judgement of how much is too much comes from peoples opinions, not from the sutras (unless you are a monk/nun), so you need to honestly ask you self what you feel is right. A lot of people have judgements of what a Buddhist is/isn't and most of it is just hot air. Just be honest with yourself and never be afraid to question things.
On a side note, using alcohol to deal with stress is probably not the best. But that's just my opinion
. I'm a father myself and I don't drink.