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addiction

Haribol, PAMHO

I'm new to KC, started coming in 2009. I have absorbed all the basic philosphical teachings and have been trying to apply them in my life. However, I also have been struggling with addiction to food and sexual behaviours, as well as anxiety and depression, and I am starting to get really discouraged because I feel that I have tried so many times to stop doing those things, but the memory and the habit of having done them for so many years remains engrained in my mind and all it takes is the slightest thing to "trigger" me or for my chanting to be a little weak and I will start getting the old urges again and then fall back into my old behaviours.

I'm really depressed right now because after a really good week of chanting almost 4 rounds a day and following my recovery program (I have to follow a meal plan and gain weight) I suffered a really terrible relapse today and am feeling that my behaviours are so abominable that it would be almost and insult to pick up my sadhana again.

It always seems that if I don't chant in to morning my day is shot. I eat things that I shouldn't in ways that I shouldn't and I do other things that I am really ashamed of (against the regulative principles.) The problem is these things that I am addicted to are things that I have done since childhood before I knew there was anything "bad" about them. At least I didn't know about hell at the time so I didn't worry about it. But now these behaviors are really interfering in my life and I need to stop but I feel I can't on my own.

My question is: does anybody know of some devotees who have knowledge of addiction or mental/behavioral reprogramming or psychology that I could have counselling with? I would really like to work with someone who understands the devotee perspective. I am afraid to go to the psychiatric ward because I've already been there once as an inpatient and I had to eat meat. I know they will just adjust my medication or give me more medication and I really don't want that.

Thank you so much in advance,
Hare Krishna
D.

Thank you

Thank you for the kind replies :-) I can't believe how far I've come in my recovery since I wrote this!
HARE KRISHNA

hare Krishna... I would

hare Krishna...
I would rather say that you must try to do 16 jaaps a day...it would rather be benifitial...definitely you"ll see a dramatic change in you..iam sure...

HARE KRISHNA..

Be addicted to Krsna

Hare Krsna.

My most humble obeisances and respects to you. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

First of all, I would like to honour your bravery for admitting this about yourself. It requires real courage to be able to do this and I deeply honour you for your honesty. Thank you for being so honest!

Addiction, yes. You will find that there are many things in the material world that are attractive, and some will attract you so strongly that you will become entangled by the ropes of addiction. But here's an opportunity placed in your path to constantly remind yourself that Krsna is the most attractive, and nothing in the material world compares to the attractiveness of Krsna. And believe it or not, Krsna, who is the all-attractive, actually puts in a lot of effort to try to distract us from material things that seem to be attractive, and try to attract us to Himself, while He is already the most attractive of all! We are so blinded by material attraction that we sometimes forget that the most beautiful being does so much to pull us closer to Him through His pastimes, His name, form, qualities and devotees.

So your addiction to food or sexual behaviours is a chance for you to give this up and become addicted to Krsna. Here's an opportunity Krsna is giving you to be using your addiction transcendentally.

Of course, this is easier said than done but using Srila Prabhupada's saying, "Why give into weakness?". If there were no hardships on our spiritual path, how could we become spiritually stronger? How could we become better devotees? And how would we be able to surrender to Krsna? We couldn't and we wouldn't. Everything would be too easy and there would be no difficulties, no opportunities to help us grow. So the all-attractive would continue trying to attract us, but we would still be addicted to what we're addicted to, without feeling any guilt or regret - and what we'd be addicted to wouldn't be Krsna.

You say you chant japa. This is brilliant! When you chant, you can take this as an opportunity to meditate on this addiction problem. When chanting, ask Krsna to help you. Just put your hands up in the air and say, "Krsna this is too difficult. I can't do this on my own. I desperately need Your help." Pray to the holy name to help you to overcome this addiction and to gear the addiction towards Krsna instead. Ask the holy name to help remove all obstacles in your path that increase the distance between you and Krsna. The holy name is unbelievably powerful and merciful, and as you regulate your chanting everyday, you will see the effects taking place.

Have you heard of the saying, "Obstacles are what you see when you lose sight of the goal"? This is very true. Try not to focus on your addiction. Focus on Krsna. Pleasing Krsna is our ultimate goal so whatever you do, keep that goal in mind, not the obstacle of addiction itself. Otherwise, whenever urges strike, you will constantly try to refrain, which will actually make you focus on the addiction itself and cause you to give in. So when that happens, focus on Krsna.

Krsna, Krsna, Krsna - He's the goal. Focus on pleasing Him. And Krsna is pleased when we do our best to remain in the mode of goodness. Giving into your addictions, and hence giving into maya, is in the mode of ignorance. We want Krsna, not maya!

You also say you feel ashamed. Don't worry. As a devotee, it is very natural for you to feel that way. This shows you are regretting these sinful activities that are taking you away from Krsna. This guilt is actually very good if it helps you deal with the addiction.

Our conditioning is very strong and we have the habit of doing things that take us away from Krsna for billions of lifetimes. Can you believe it?! We have been practicing how to distance ourselves from Krsna for billions of lifetimes! So we're used to functioning that way. But Krsna conscious practices, such as chanting, are the weapons against maya. We are now training ourselves to function in the "devotee mode" so it will eventually come. Don't worry. Just do your best. Krsna will be pleased with your efforts and intentions to become pure. And He will, undoubtedly, help you.

I hope what I have said has also helped you and I will pray that you succeed in all your efforts, not to overcome your addiction, but to gear that same addiction towards Krsna instead.

Your well-wisher and servant,
Bhaktin Roma

Beautiful, as if Krusna is talking through you!

Hare Krsna

Much gratitude for the comment. I understood clearly how the conditioning can take us away from Krusna consciousness. I was feeling bit of stagnation in chanting. It is not regular. Believe me, I was asking Krsna what to do that how much ever i try i am deviating due to laziness, stress of worldly work etc. As if he has put a thought in my mind, I logged in Krusna.com and felt as if he himself guiding through this beautiful comment.

Surrendering at the lotus feet of Shri Krusna
Methuna

Meditation on chanting

Hare Krsna,

Thank you very much for your kind words and generosity.

Actually, I was also having some difficulty with my chanting lately but the key is determination. If we are determined to please Krsna then focus on japa will come. If you suffer from lethargy and laziness when chanting then keep reminding yourself that Radha and Krsna are personally present when you chant Their names. You are personally serving Them as They enter the altar of your heart. While I was chanting yesterday, I had a wonderful realisation, which may help you also. When you chant your rounds - 4, 8, 16 or more - see those rounds as garlands you are offering Radha and Krsna. Each maha-mantra is a flower, and 108 flowers make up one garland. Now you are serving Radha and Krsna by hand-picking these flowers, making a garland and placing it on Radha and Krsna's necks. So it is up to us how we serve Them. We can pick the flowers hastily, making the garland without focusing and throwing it to Radha and Krsna; or, we can pick the most beautiful flowers, arrange them with care, focusing on this service, and then placing the garland lovingly around Radha and Krsna. Chanting is exactly like this. We can chant with focus and love, knowing that we are personally serving Radha and Krsna, or we can serve Them lazily, without caring. The choice and free will is given to us by Krsna, so let's choose to serve Him with full determination! As Srila Prabhupada said, "If you take one step towards Krsna, He will take ten steps towards you."

I was meditating on this and it really helped me with my chanting. I will pray this also helps you.

Personally at your service,
Bhaktin Roma