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Vipassana in the Fight Against Drugs
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I came to Dhamma Giri for a course and completed it. I emphasise the word “Completed” because an addict is a waster, a useless mass of flesh, who is no good to anyone, not even to himself. Now me, for example, I would start many things with good intentions but my addiction would just not let me complete anything. Sooner or later I would get fed up, bored and quit whatever work I had undertaken, causing a lot of tension to everyone around me. So, in that sense, completing my first course was like a rebirth for my self–confidence.
During the course, I had a lot of time reflection, reflection on the past, but most importantly, reflection on the technique of mediation. It appeared easy until I actually started doing it. It is hard work. But it brought home a few truths to me: that craving, aversion, and ego are dukkha (suffering). I felt that the technique was specially made for me. I was suffering from these defilements and I did not even know it.
My problem was Drug Addiction. If you analyse it, it boils down to one main fact, mental craving. The physical craving comes much later. In fact, the mental craving remains event long after the cold turkey (drug withdrawal) is through. Now this is where Vipassana comes in, teaching you how to deal with these problems when they arise. Furthermore, the discourses in the evening helped to clear out any ambiguity. All in all, after completion of the course, I really felt that now I have something, not only to fight this craving for intoxicants, but even to build a more cordial atmosphere around myself in daily life.
Coming back home, things were really good for some time. I found myself more relaxed, and that is a state of mind not a posture. But still it was not the end of my drug career. I was not doing it every day now, my use had become occasional. The mental craving was still there and at times I would succumb to it. At this point, I knew that this was my weakness and I resolved to do something about it (the second step of the Narcotics Anonymous Programme).
This craving or love–hate relationship with intoxicants air a very deep rooted defilement of the mind. The sooner a person realises this, the better. For from my experience, I can say one thing, there is a very thin line separation having and not having intoxicants, and I have one understanding now: that it is entirely up to me. Today I am leading a regular life in Bombay, I have a job, I work six days a week, a side of life which I had never seen earlier but which I really enjoy. I get a sense of satisfaction, a sense of achievement, which is topped off with a sitting at the end of the day.
Lastly I would like to say that Vipassana teaches you one thing. You have to fight your own battles. The only help given to you, And what a help it is, are the two weapons of Anapana (awareness of breath) and Vipassana (awareness of body sensation). The rest depends on how good your strategy is. No excuses are allowed because the weapons are always with you. And if the teaching is adhered to sincerely and diligently, no one can fail, because Vipassana is truly the art of living.