Living with addiction

Acharya Prashant
5 min readMay 23, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): What is wrong with taking a stimulant — like nicotine or alcohol?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Nothing. Stimulant is just an expression of what you are, a bored one. Because I am bored, so I require to stimulate myself, so stimulant is not right or wrong, you need to figure out what brings you to the stimulant, your boredom, is that right for you? Now, if you are bored, obviously you will require something to excite you. The stimulant, the object of excitation cannot be held as right or wrong. In fact, it is predetermined that you will be drawn towards centers of excitement if you are bored. Given that you are bored, what else is your destiny? That you will go to places of excitement, entertainment, stimulation. Why judge those places or things? You would rather look at the mind that is drawn towards those things. What is the quality of that mind?

Q: Where does that boredom come from, actually.

AP: Obviously! That’s what we need to inquire into.

Q: And, what is that boredom all about

AP: What is that boredom all about.

Q: At this moment, it can be addiction also. At this moment, you might not be bored, but…

AP: No addiction can work if the one who was addicted does not continue to be his old self. No stimulation can work unless you continue to be the same old bored self. Behind every addiction, there is an addict, right? If the addict has changed, can the addiction remain the same? If the bored one has changed, can the object of stimulation remain the same? You are addicted to narcotics later, you are firstly addicted to lifelessness, to boredom. People miss it when they say that, “We want to have freedom from drugs.” We should not have centers that offer freedom from addiction. We should have centers that offer freedom from boredom, from lifelessness. If you can have places that can relieve you from an absence of these, then no relief from any substance, any drugs, any kind of alcohol is needed. And that is why, you see, it is so very difficult to rid a person of his addictions, because he will return to the same old life, and the pattern of life is such that it will again turn him dead and numb. You are alive, you…

Acharya Prashant