The high that takes you down!
“For a decade, I was into smoking, drinking and drugs.When I was about to complete my school, I picked up my first cigarette. Whereas in college it became a status issue, ego issue and it’s not cool if you don’t smoke! Regular smoking was followed by my first drink during the outings. As life progressed in college days, smoking which was more of a fun element became a habit,” says Ujval Shankar.
Meet Ujval Shankar once a hardcore addict, who threw all his habits away with the help and practices, taught on the Art of Living courses.
Friends can make or break...
Ujval highlights the beginning of this habit and he says that it was all co-related. Friends, peer-pressure, fun, ego and status-quo made him enter the world of smoke, drink and dope. “When I went to degree college, I got into a lot of other habits and also into doping. People are doing it so you also want to try it out and you feel that it’s the real high of life. Then you slowly start trending in the company,”he shares.
Ujval’s mental and physical health deteriorated. He also suffered from relationship problems while ties with his family also became strained. He blames it on the addiction, six years of drugs and a decade of smoking and drinking.
Then,the ‘change’ knocked his door!
Ujval returned to Bangalore, his hometown, from North India after completing his first year of job, where he met a friend who suggested that he undergoes the Art of Living Course.“He saw me and said that there is something wrong with your health. Physically, you’re fine but mentally you’re very weak. He said I should do the course. I thought to myself that I am the last one to do this, get in touch with a saint or do yoga! So it took me two years to do the program,” he said.
“When you feel that life is beyond, I also wanted to come out of it in the end. With my friend’s persuasion, I finally did the Sudarshan Kriya,” he says with a smile.
Sharing his experience of the first Kriya, Ujval smiled: “I felt a lot of heaviness was cleared off my head and for almost 30 minutes I was crying just thinking that I wasted so much of time.” He pauses and smiles.
The process that worked...
“It was four days after the program and I was out of alcohol and drugs. About five days of the practise taught in the course, my body didn’t want to take it. I thought that in the morning I practise such a nice thing and in the evening I am smoking? It really clicked in my mind that Kriya is so pure and I dropped smoking. Also the values & teachings of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on practical ways to drop habits is one of the key factors for me to quit …". He beams.
This is his tenth year in the organization and that was the last smoke of his life. “Prior to that I was proud and famous because of the few substances I consumed among my friends but today the recognition through service that I can give back to the society is so much of a high, doing something for people around you and have a channelized energy,” shares Ujval, who also conducts the Art of Living’s special courses for de-addiction.
It’s the mischief of illusion!
Speaking of alcohol he says that at the end of five working days, we go for a drink. “We end up sleeping too much and feel so tired when Monday starts off. With this the same office cycle continues where you go out, smoke and come back but the stress and pressure has not gone permanently, it’s just being pushed under the carpet. But with these techniques the root cause is eliminated,” he highlights the importance of the yoga, pranayama and breathing techniques that helped him a great deal.
‘We Be I’ – for an addiction-free society!
“I believe that there are huge chunk of people who are waiting to come out of it but are very ignorant and just revolve around the viscous cycle thinking that is the real high! Every person who is smoking wants to quit the habit,” he opines.
Currently, Ujval is involved in The Art of Living’s initiative for ‘Volunteer for a Better India’ which includes de-addiction as one of its agendas.
“Make a difference, join the movement where ‘We Be I’ ~ we support every individual to come out of their addiction,” Ujval states as he signs off!
The Art of Living marked the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ with the inaugural of the cancer awareness drive at the Art of Living International Centre. In its effort to curb addiction, The Art of Living has initiated a special seven- day workshop for tobacco cessation called 'Stop Smoking and Start Living'. Studies by Mr. Harish Rawat, Clinical Researcher at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Clinical Research Data Management Department, Noida, have reported that the workshop has been effective in abating the addiction.
Writer : Monica Patel
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