I don't want to consult any doctor about my obsession. I do not even want to speak about it to my family and friends. I wish to get an answer tailor-made for me about my obsession with getting dead-drunk and practicing self, the meditation.

Please don't take it otherwise but a question to Buddha & his disciples. I am so fed up of the dependence of me on drugs. It happens, believe me (i have seen many others, too). Please provide/mark/show/point wordings of Buddha if he has said something near to this. If any modern Buddha is reading this than please share actual revert of you with example. I am standing at a dead-end (may be here's some way ahead but my thought isn't going beyond my confusion.

My philosophy about buddhism says that it's a way of living that is worth living. I am practicing meditation in routine in early morning timings. The rest of the day i depend on drugs to stay connected to the will of mine to become a Buddha, it appears like a bridge that i can walk and i walk across it, everytime.

How is it possible to leave behind my obsession with drugs? I want to quit my drugs. I wish to be free.

  • This isn't an answer to your question, but I hope it will help you. A great many of your sentences above are "I" sentences, -- about your relation to things -- and the pain it causes: many wants and desires. This is natural, and is the way everyone is. Consider these in turn, even the innocent looking ones, and how they cause pain. Don't think that it's a good or bad thing or that they need to be stopped or focus on the sadness or beat yourself up over it or trying this or that when you do it.
    – Dan
    Mar 12, 2015 at 20:16
  • 1
    When you really understand/internalise those connections. not just think them, then it should start to become more natural like pulling your hand out of a fire. The obvious one is "what pain is wanting drugs causing you and how?" But don't forget "what pain is wanting to be free causing and how?", "what pain is not wanting to talk about it causing and how?" "what pain does being at a dead end cause?" "what pain does being you and not another cause?" and so on. And good luck to you!
    – Dan
    Mar 12, 2015 at 20:20
  • Edit: Fixed some spelling/grammar and added a tag and paragraphs to increase readability. Feel free to roll-back if not suitable.
    – user2424
    Aug 2, 2015 at 17:37

10 Answers 10


You start by saying, "I don't want to consult any doctor about my obsession".

I suggest that what you want (and what you don't want) are part of the problem: and should not be considered as a reliable guide for what you ought to be doing. It is your using "what I want" as a guide that has led you into this situation, from which you find it difficult to escape by yourself.

Perhaps you should follow (i.e. look for, and then follow) someone else's advice, for a change, even if their advice doesn't sound like something that you want.

The Kalama Sutta for example suggests that greed will arise, aversion will arise, ignorance or delusion will arise. Their arising is inevitable, but what you must do is to not be "overcome" when they arise.

You might be in the habit of thinking,

I want X: therefore I shall have X.

Whereas it would be better to think,

The thought that 'I want X' has arisen, nevertheless I shall (bear up and) continue to not have X.

Continuing the Kalama Sutta, the kind of person who you should trust as a teacher on this subject should someone who is not greedy, not aversive, and not delusive: i.e. an "ungreedy person, not overcome by greed, his mind not possessed by greed" etc.

Such a person might be a doctor, or a monk, or they might be people at a "12 step program" meeting.

My guess is that you may have social needs (need for family and/or friends), that meeting new people might be good for you.

In summary, don't trust "what I want" and "what I don't want", and instead look for advice that is 'blameless', 'praised by the wise', and 'skillful'.

Regarding your 'will to be a buddha', I think that the last part of the Kalama Sutta says that you are more able to practice the immeasurables (i.e. compassion etc.) after you are 'free':

"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of greed, devoid of ill will, undeluded, alert, & resolute — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with good will. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

Apart from the mistake of following 'what I want' and 'what I don't want' when what you want is intoxicating (poisonous), another mistake is to "bargain" or try to negotiate, e.g. to say things like, "I will behave better after I make a new friend" or "after I'm rich" or "after I get advice that I like", etc. Some problems with that bargaining are:

  • It's possible that you will never in the future feel satisfied enough
  • It's possible that being sober is a necessary precondition to being skillful enough

I sympathize that you are likely to have problems other than your drugs or drinking:

  • Because everyone (including you) does: the first noble truth is that 'suffering exists'
  • Because your suffering must have been bad for you to have started with this habit
  • Because this habit makes your suffering worse (by causing new problems and by making you less able to address existing problems)

But don't tell yourself, "I will stop this habit when I stop having other problems." It sounds like you'd be better to stop this habit even though you still have other problems. "Accept" that those other problems may persist for a while even after you begin to learn how to live without this habit.

I think that Buddhism doesn't claim to be the cessation of suffering, it claims to be "the Way towards" the cessation of suffering (third noble truth).

Buddhism says that what we do habitually make a difference. For example, the Dhammapada says,

  1. Think not lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.

  2. Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

The present moment is what we have. I hope you find freedom, now.

  • Excellent answer, focusing on what the OP needs and asked for, not what they want.
    – Mazura
    Mar 13, 2015 at 2:34

I would like to answer this not from the perspective of a knowledgeable Buddhist, but from the perspective of someone who has been clean and sober for over 9 years. Disclaimer: I am a recent Buddhist and know very little about the mechanics or the theory of it all. I simply practice daily meditation with the intent of awakening someday in this lifetime (or the next, or the next...). I also do not claim that what worked for me will work for you. That said, I know how to get and stay sober from a practical perspective and feel obligated to share that path when someone asks.

The only thing that worked for me was to get involved with a 12 step program. Built into all 12 step programs is the concept of "prayer and meditation." I had to turn over my life to a higher power who I didn't really think existed and in whom I had no confidence. And I had to take action by working through the steps. But I was amazed early on that by doing so, I was relieved of my compulsion to use. By taking small, simple daily steps every day and following good, orderly direction, I have managed to stay away from any mind altering substance for quite a while now, and I hardly ever think about it at all. I cannot even begin to describe to you how much better my life is since I made that small decision back in 2006.

A key detail about 12 step programs is that you don't have to believe in any one particular conception of God (or higher power, or whatever you think to call him/her/it). All you have to do is believe that there is a power greater than yourself and that you ain't it. This means that the programs welcome Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics...anything you like. And this is what made it acceptable to me. If it were strictly a Christian thing I would have been screwed.

I have thought a great deal about whether or not it is possible to recover from addiction through Buddhism...I assume by reaching a certain level of non-attachment. But for me, I know that 12 step programs work so I am not about to go screwing around with a proven formula. The stakes for me are just too high (haha).

OTOH I am VERY interested to see if my compulsion for foods like cookies, candy, ice cream, bread and meat will be abated through continued practice of meditation. I'm hopeful, but in this case it isn't likely to kill me nearly so fast as going back to active addiction is.

I don't know what your particular substance of choice is (or should I say, substance-of-non-choice...once I start to use, all choice is out of my hands and I am engulfed). But there is undoubtedly a group in your area that you can connect with. And even if you live out in the middle of nowhere, in today's world there are hundreds of meetings and support groups available online for just this purpose. Use Google to find that is appropriate to you.

I wish you the best. You are brave for coming on here and baring your sole. Keep reaching out and exploring and you will find the answer that is right for you.


I do not feel qualified to answer your question in depth.

That is why i would like to point you towards these video talks by Ven. Yuttadhammo:

These are very informative videos and i think they could help you out and cast some light onto this topic from a theravada buddhist perspective.

Are you familiar with the doctrine of dependent origination?

It would be a good idea to study that doctrine since it will tell you how the links in addiction is created and how they can be broken and stopped at various parts of the cycle. Of course this studying needs to be combined with insight meditation practice.

You can find a discourse on dependent origination by Mahasi Sayadaw here.

May you be happy, peaceful and free from mental and physical suffering.



Not really about addiction, but in the spirit of "alcoholics looking for sobriety shouldn't live where there's a bar":

[...] From there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, "Bhikkhus, I will teach the method of the forest. Listen and attend carefully, I will teach.

Here, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu abides in a certain forest stretch. When abiding there, unestablished mindfulness does not get established, unconcentrated mind does not concentrate, not destroyed desires do not get destroyed, and the not attained noble end of the yoke is not attained; as for the four requisites of life for the one gone forth, robes, morsel food, dwellings, and requities when ill, are collected with difficulty. That bhikkhu should reflect:

'I abide in this forest stretch, to me abiding in this forest, unestablished mindfulness does not get established, unconcentrated mind does not get concentrated, not destroyed desires do not get destroyed, and the not attained noble end of the yoke is not attained; as for the four requisites of life for the one gone forth, robes, morsel food dwellings, and requisites when ill, are collected with difficulty.'

Bhikkhus, he should not abide in that stretch of forest, he should leave it by night or by day.

-- MN 17 Vanapattha Sutta - Jungle Thickets


From experience, the Buddhist path is a very effective and useful tool for helping to alleviate all forms fixation, obsession, or addiction with the specific knowledge that fixation is the cause of suffering. Addiction is suffering. It is dukkha with the volume turned up.

You may be interested in Noah Levine's Refuge Recovery. I also recommend looking into teachings on shenpa as taught by Pema Chodron, I have found them beneficial. You may also be interested in the Buddhist Recovery sub-reddit forum, where there is a lot of information about how the Buddhist path relates to recovery. Please do go check it out.


You need to consult a medical professional. You can't meditate your problems away.You can't be more concerned about emptiness,not self or the progress of insight.this is la la land advice.you need to deal with the elephant in the room which is your drug problem. Your sila.Dont bypass sila.I am in the health industry and you need professional medical advice which I am not qualified to give.Its always beneficial to meditate and hear the dhamma but get yourself to your GP.Don't worry about Not Self, Buddhahood,and meditation their not going anywhere they'll still be here after you get cleaned up and you can still practice during the process.Use the dhamma for support But don't substitute it for professional medical help.Understanding reality such as Not Self can really free one from suffering but your not going to get there if your under the influence or if you skip sila.This is why you need to focus on cleaning up your sila.Cleaning up from drugs is liberating.


Buddhism (Vissudhimagga, more specifically) distinguishes three "trainings":

  1. morality training, which we'd today probably call "personality development" int the broad sense: that includes biological, psychological, social, relational, ethical arrangements which makes the next two steps possible.
  2. concentration training (samatha) which leads to tranquility of mind, and is a prequisite for the next one (in some traditions concentration is trained simultaneously with vipassana, but is still conceptually dinstinct).
  3. insight training (vipassana) which leads to freedom from suffering.

Drug obsession is a problem of the first training; get rid of that obsession using suitable means (I'd give +50 points to Jeff's answer, it is great); they are designed for that -- by smart people who knew something about drugs.

Meditation is not designed for dealing with drugs; while it could theoretically help (since it cleanses craving in general), in practice one would not be able to handle the strain of suffering being brought up, since a relatively stable psychological basis is missing. Even MBSR will not let you in unless you are 1 year clean; and that is relatively light practice.


You are changing after some sensation or the other through these chemicals. The addiction is to the sensations the chemicals create.

1st you have to identify the craving for these sensations and try to resist as much as possible and try to keep your equanimity.

You need to get all the help you can get. Hence seeking medical advice is also a good option to compliment any route you take through meditation.


The fifth precept explains about this subject.

If an individual is addicted to alcohol, it does not yield any positive results.

It leads to an unstable mind, giving up on goals, wasting time, squandering wealth, and also causes one to engage in other negative actions.

That’s why Buddha advised those who use these substances to stop, because of the negative effects on all aspects of life. It leads to wasting that very rare human life without doing any valuable things.

So, avoiding alcohol/drugs helps an individual to have a clear mind, stop wasting time and wealth, achieve their goals, avoid other bad actions that can occur due to the unstable mind caused by drugs and also do more positive karma in their life without wasting time and losing their mind


I agree with Orion that you must first take Medical help. Yoga or Meditation , does not help you stop a bleeding wound or a life threatening disease.
Conventional Buddhism and Hinduism , tells you that you need many Births or many life times of Spiritual Evolution to achieve Enlightenment or Liberation . You don't get it in one life time and that too , without overcoming your bad habits.
It is possible ,however ,according to Vajra Yana Buddhism (ref- Wikipedia) and Tantra System of Hinduism (ref- Wikipedia). But these practices may be easily confused with Satanic Worship of the West .Also these practices require close interaction with a Guru or a Spiritual Teacher . So you have to tell about your obsessions to your Guru and leave it to him to find out a suitable technique of Meditation, Physical Exercise ,Medication and method of control of your day-to-day activities for optimum results. Vajra Yana or Tantric practices , without a Guru , can lead to permanent Insanity or Death .Ramakrishna Mission ,a Hindu religious organisation ,accepts the Tantric or Vajryana practices for spiritual development . You may get in touch with them , through their website.

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