According to ancient eastern texts the Definition of Addiction as described many years prior:
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals….”
Addiction is a chronic or relapsing condition for many patients. The recidivism rate for many substances, such as nicotine is up to 70%. If it is Chronic and relapsing, then how is it possible to bring somebody (here an addict) to the platform of being able to tolerate the ‘Urges of the tongue and the mind’s demands?’
What did the eastern thought process, of meditation know, that would allow one to get to the point of becoming sober. What is it about their processes that we can learn?
Current U.S. based model for addiction shows episodic intensive treatment for medically supervised substance withdrawal and/or stabilization, followed by time-limited outpatient care. When looking at this model and the recividism rate across the country for drugs and drug relapse it is obvious that we are far away from creating gentlewomen and gentlemen that have the ability to tolerate the urges of the body.
Public and private health care systems and clinicians are starting to recognize that chronic or relapsing addiction, like chronic physical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, typically requires continuing, long-term care. They are also starting to recognize that addiction is a disease, like others and should not be stigmatized.
So, although there is a change in the view, simple lack of judgement is not enough for these individuals.
So, what is?
They key here is that those that were considered sober in the eastern system of thought, were also practiced.
What did they practice?
They practiced, eating, drinking, sleeping, all as a meditation. Their constant lives, although filled with the same activities that every one of us completes on a daily basis, was one which was focused on one goal but many activities.
So what was the focus?
The focus on Service was prime. The number one way to rid themselves of all bad habits was to inculcate the ideas of service. This was key in the fight against addiction to anything. Infact, this is what made those incredibly rich, and those incredibly renounced.
As I read through the literature of those who are very elevated, such as St. Francis of Assissi state....
We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather, we must be simple, humble and pure.
This focus on wanting to become humble and pure ultimately turned a man, who had no control, into someone who was wise automatically.
The meditation on the desire to become humble and pure ultimately turned a man, who had no control, into a man who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger, and the urges of the tongue and genitals.