This is the story of a guy who loved the good things in life. Hated drugs. Then feel deep into them. Got lost. And found his back way out again.
This is my story.
They say one must never say never. That life has a weird way of making you do the things you never thought you’d do. Drugs and me were like that.
I was fortunate to be an early achiever in life. Growing up in remote Army cantts, there was little to distract my interest in wanting to learn. Slowly that grew into a good academic record the highlight of which was topping CBSE boards all India in class Xth. Like any other excelling science student, medical and engineering were the options I was told I had. Being good at studies, and taking two attempts at it, I managed to land in IIT Kanpur.
I tell you all this to share what kind of a person I was – The quintessential nerd. Books were my love, staying inside my own head my favourite passtime. So it was easy to judge anyone else who was not like me. Especially people who did things which seemed like a waste of time, namely, drugs. I remember one day screaming off at my girlfriend for even being around people who did drugs (no, she never did them).
Fast forward to 6 years after having passed out of college.
I’d grown faster than I’d thought. A big manager in a big multinational company. Very successful, and on path to even bigger success and growth, I was living the the king sized life. But I was miserable inside. The stress of the job, the anxiety of not knowing where I was going with my life, my self imposed expectations and sense of disconnectedness with my work, all were combining in intricate ways to make me very unhappy indeed. I would lose my temper at the smallest of things.
One night I was hanging out with my college friends drinking and listening to music as usual. Till one of them got out a joint out that got passed around. That’s when I had my first smoke of weed.
What an instant relief it was! My mind felt light and so relaxed. I was floating on clouds.
Reluctant at first, then more interested to explore the experiences it brought to my mind, I slowly started doing weed more regularly. The experiences were bizarre. Sometimes painful, often joyful, and sometimes just a trippy combination of the mind seeing patterns and knowledge in my life events. My brain would start racing through thoughts and imaginations when high.
But most of all it provided a break from my normal life and its pressures. From its monotony and its demands.
It didn’t take too long for the downsides to show though.
From slurring of words while the drug worked itself out through my system, to lapses in memory, to often finding out that acting on the ‘insights’ of my high brain didn’t seem to work out that well, and instead started getting me into trouble. My energy also started being more erratic. I would go into bouts of excessively energised modes when high, followed by up to a week of very demotivated personality unless I was smoking up again.
And yet how could I let go of the one thing which was giving me the hours of relief and joy in otherwise increasingly feeling more disconnected life?
Then happened one of those accidents of fate that end up changing one’s life. My company organised an Art of Living course for its employees.
My first thought after doing the Sudarshan Kriya was , “man! I’m high”. But it wasn’t the same high I’d felt on drugs. It felt more ‘cleaner’, purer, and it didn’t leave a downer. I didn’t feel excited or carried away by my own thoughts like I did when high on weed. I just felt happy. And calm. And centered.
But bad habits have a habit of being hard to get rid off.
Even though I’d found a much healthier way of feeling happier, energised and more engaged with life, I couldn’t let go of my weed habit instantly. I had to observe those same negative side-effects grow much worse before I realised that they weren’t worth spoiling my life over. Specially when a much healthier and better way existed to bring joy and genuine lasting happiness into my own life.
Took me about 6 months after doing the first Art of Living course to fully get rid of it. And having been there and now being here, I know I’m telling the truth when I say that this place is way better than that place. More stable, more enjoyable, and more promising of a better future for me and my family. For all that drugs gave me, they took away much more. Not at first though. But slowly they’d started eating away at all that made me, me. They’d slowly made me dependent on them for my ‘high’ in life. And THAT is a power I never want any substance to have over me again.