By Nayaswami Narayan
March 27, 2018

Do you know someone who has successfully overcome addiction? What were the keys to their success? I suspect one central ingredient to overcoming addiction is surrender to a Higher power as outlined in AA’s 12 step program.

It occurred to me we can all be part of another therapy group called “EA” or “Ego-holics Anonymous.” We are working on overcoming the addiction to our egos! I can see an introduction in “EA” going something like:

“Hello, my name is Narayan and I’m an Ego-Holic. I’m in crisis as I realized that I’m a pawn to my environment and cling to my ego’s coping mechanisms, rationalizations, and subconscious reservations to preserve the delusive attachment to my little body and bundle of self-definitions. My mind is fickle and unruly. I excessively depend on reason as a guide to understanding and consequently am confused and steeped in delusion.

“However, through the grace of God I have come to the realization that I need help. I cannot get out of this mess alone. Now I fully, actively, and consciously surrender my will to the will of God.

“Since the Lord has heard my prayer demand and realizes my soul call is serious, He has sent me my guide, my Sat guru, who has solved the mystery of life and who can guide my footsteps to eternal freedom and ultimate liberation.”

In addition to surrender, one of the best ways to overcome addiction is to replace it with a higher one. If you’re going to be addicted, certainly addiction to God is the best opium in town! Swami Kriyananda tells a story to this end in Conversations with Yogananda:

“It is better to do something good than nothing at all! I once met a disciple of my Guru who had been an alcoholic. He loved God, but was unable to overcome his addiction. He decided, therefore, that at least he could try to practice Kriya Yoga. He had the requisite sincerity, but lacked the strength necessary for self-control.

“This man would literally sit for meditation with his kriya mala (meditation beads) in one hand, and a glass of whiskey in the other! In time, however, the joy he derived from Kriya became so great that he left off drinking altogether.

“As my Guruji said, “The way to overcome temptation is to have something better to compare it with.” It is difficult if not impossible to change oneself in the absence of anything better than one’s present habitual tastes.”

What could be better than our “present habitual tastes” than the sweetness of God’s presence? The scriptures describe final freedom in God as “having that which no other gain is greater.”

There is no more fulfilling addiction so let us surrender and rejoice in Him alone!