Do those dependent on alcohol have it in them to stay half-an-hour without alcohol?
Alcoholism is a pestilence and I was afflicted by it for several years. The disease impacted me immensely. It was only my wife and parents who stood by me, offering support in my most trying moments. My wife enrolled me for the Part 1 course of the Art of Living while I was posted at Jaipur.
Winter had arrived in Jaipur and the weather was chilly. Any stock individual would have preferred the warm climes of a quilt. Yet my wife faithfully dropped me to the centre and picked me up from there for seven days when I had undertaken the course. Like a zombie I used to attend the course.
There I learnt the unique rhythmic breathing technique of “Sudarshan Kriya”, cognated by the spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Today, by the grace of the Master and through the breathing technique I am sober for over a decade. As a faculty of the Art of Living I have been able to conduct courses for alcoholics and drug addicts.
Addicts need to upend the pyramid, detoxify their minds and bodies and once again discover love in their lives. It is paramount that they discard feelings and emotions of futility, guilt, inadequacy and self-rejection. They have to strengthen their minds and make it robust to eschew dependency on alcohol.
Such craftsmanship and techniques are encompassed in the Pragna programme of the Art of Living and is providing succour to addicts. Various Art of Living programmes address different sections of society to provide alternative and holistic therapies to ameliorate the physical and mental conditions of overwrought people.
How does one conduct the course for hardened alcoholics and drug addicts, who are in a perpetual state of self-denial? They look at the teacher in the most disgusted manner possible, with disbelief writ large on their faces.
Courses of the Art of Living for addicts need to be supplemented with regular follow-up sessions. The breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya and the knowledge points of Gurudev begin to unfold, with a salutary impact on the minds of the addicts.
Slowly, the determination to metamorphose and transfigure their lives and eschew dependency on the substance begins to develop.
What really touches the heart is when an addict takes the first step. They break down as they seek help. “Sir, aap humko chod kar jaoge toh nahin?” (Sir, you will not forsake us?) “Sir, aap roz aoge na?” (Sir, will you come and meet us every day?) is the common refrain, as they develop a bond with the teacher.
One recalls the gloomy but riveting movie, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest; how the inmates lodged in a mental asylum had reached a state where they were determined to break the bondage and run away. Similarly, the youth and middle-aged persons with families and children back home yearn for love and affection and pine to be with their loved ones. The addict becomes determined to break the four walls of the rehab centre.
Normally the mind of an alcoholic borders on futility, guilt, a gargantuan burden of inadequacy, self-rejection, self-depravation and self-dejection. After the initial treatment at the rehabilitation centre and subsequent exposure to the unique rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya they began to believe in the ‘Power of Now’, the efficacy of ‘Living in the Present Moment’.
Every day is a new day, a harbinger of hope and the addicts realise their self-worth and the “Power of Love and Acceptance” and begin giving themselves positive strokes.
The concepts of the “Power of Now” or the “Present Moment” have been postulated by several masters of the past, in the oriental and occidental world. In India, Maharishi Patanjali, Gautama Buddha, the Advaita saint Adi Shankara have written and spoken about it extensively. In present times the quintessential rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya transmogrifies the human mind to the present.
Authors like Eckhart Tolle, Robin Sharma, Deepak Chopra and Louise Hay too have emphasised on reengineering the human mind to remain in the present moment to combat various challenging situations in life.
In Gorakhpur is a centre run by a doughty lady whose husband was an alcoholic. As a goodwill gesture the couple inaugurated the centre and have made it their mission to provide shelter and comfort to those suffering from alcoholism.
The inmates of the centre could remain half-an-hour without alcohol, can you? This is the question that resonates in my mind, the question I pose to any addict. The answer is simple; it is possible only through surrender to a higher power, the supreme intelligence of the Universe.
“If you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.