“ We are addicted to our thoughts . We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking, “ writes Santosh Kalwar.
Addiction is actually a physical or a psychological need for a habit forming substance, could be drugs, alcohol, food, sex , even shopping or even excessive physical exercise. No wonder the term gym rat has been added to our usage. In all these cases the initial engagement is pleasurable , but a stage develops when ingestion of the substance say alcohol becomes compulsive in nature and it interferes in normal routine working.
Anais Nin ( an artiste) says, “ This day is my kief , hashish and opium pipe. This is my day and my vice.” Gail Carniger yet another artiste , exults that,” I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books , the other needs books to make it through the day.”
Addiction is an unpleasant physical activity , yet the human body and mind demand another dose be it alcohol or drugs every a few hours. The addict throws up and consumes yet again . It is nothing but mental bulimia.
The afflicted person refuses to acknowledge the state and lives in a state of denial and not to accepting it as a malady or a disorder .
Addictions can strike anyone and is not class specific. Alcoholism or drug addiction is not a malady of the rich and it easily encompasses the hoi-polloi. But I focus on celebrities and wonder as to how noted writers , artistes , musicians , celebrities fall for various addictions despite being aware of the perils associated with the addiction. To begin with it impairs their performance , quality of life and contribution to the art world and society . In a drunken or stoned state addicts abuse their bodies and those of others . Pavement dwellers get maimed for life or worse, killed due to reckless driving by such celebrities ( it could be a commoner too) in that state of high. Such stars may resort to crime or harbour criminals or ultras. Subsequently they plead innocence before the judiciary and walk free from imprisonment . It could be because of lack of evidence, compromised investigation, exchange of money at high places or simply owing to their celebratory status.
These are gifted individuals and nature has endowed them with exceptional skills , which need to be explored but addiction distracts them from honing their talent. Even the society enjoys such actions with pure voyeuristic pleasure and provides the television viewer with some cheap entertainment. The biggest promoters of this voyeurism are our 24*7 TV channels for whom only TRPs matters.
After years of travails , tribulations , physical and mental suffering an addict becomes aware of the problem. The intellect awakens only through an inexplicable experiential phenomenon. It is when we realise our bodies and minds are sacred that the addict can take the first step. This can happen only through grace of the Divine or a Guru.
“ Take the first step in faith . You don’t have to see the whole staircase , just take the first step ‘’ said Martin Luther King Junior.
The addict needs to take one day at a time . One should not plan for unrealistic long term goals . What ever be the provocation , the afflicted should remain positive , engage in hobbies , divert the mind , keep harmonious company and engage in physical activity. Look for an environmental change . For instance do not take the same road back home from office ,just drive past a bar or a wine shop or that group of associates who can pull the wrong trigger.
There are several anonymous groups like AA, Smokers Anonymous, Sex Anonymous etc who help to wean away the addict from their programmes. Addicts are medically treated in rehabs to detoxify the system . Psychiatrists are providing special service to treat such patients. But in countries like India , the patient lives in a state of denial and does not seek medical attention. There is both lack of awareness and secondly one feels that he would be ostracised thus does not approach a doctor for help. Besides these self –help groups , families , friends have a pivotal role to play and convince the addict to seek medical help at the earliest .This has to be done with love , care and compassion and not with a whip.
It would be indeed beneficial to take up Art Of Living Courses , which has now offers a special programme to overcome addictions and detoxification. Breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya,meditation techniques, practice of Yoga and Pranayama( alternate nostril breathing) infuse fresh energy or prana into the mind and body of an individual to remain calm and detoxify the self.
As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says ,” When you consider life to be sacred , Nature waits on you.” And when nature waits on you miracles happen.
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