Prayer for Strength
O Lord, I do not pray for tasks equal to my strength:
I ask for strength equal to my tasks.
Japji Sahib – Pauri 27 contd.
I Overcame Addiction
I always had a problem with alcohol and drugs. When I moved to England at 27, I was determined to make a fresh start. But within two years, I was drinking and using heavily again.
I lost several jobs and my wife of 4 years was sick and tired of the situation. I was desperate and tried medication, therapy and support groups. All of these worked some, but I would always slip back. I saw many other people like me in these groups, who looked normal enough in everything else, but when it came to drinking or drug abuse, they were helpless and acted like insane people.
Many a time I went to gurdwara and did ardaas. It always helped, but I would soon forget how close I had come to disaster, and went back to drinking and abusing.
The whole family was suffering and I had almost given up hope that I would ever get sober. After one particularly nasty bout of drinking, my wife said she had had enough and was leaving with our daughter. It was after a lot of begging and absolutely humiliating myself that I managed to persuade her to give me ‘1 more chance’.
A family friend took us to an elderly Sikh who lived about 50 kms away. I was told I must do whatever the old man told me. I have cut my hair and expected the old man to scold me about it. But he treated me like a normal person, not condescending, not lecturing or talking down at me, almost with respect. He didn’t tell me I should become an amritdhari Sikh, or how I was ‘patit’ and ungrateful for all the sacrifices our gurus had made for us. I feel he could see my plight more clearly than most of the people close to me and somehow had more sympathy for me than anybody I had met who did not himself drink. I felt he understood, yet he did not talk down at me. He just told me to do as much path as I could (not 5 banis) and do ardaas frequently. I think I said something to the effect that is it good to be always begging, asking the Guru for one thing or the other. He said it was okay, that who will a son go to if not his father. Then he opened a book and showed me a shabad:
meri sangat poch soch din rati
In my simplistic way, I understood it to mean: I admit I’ve been in bad company, that my life has become sinful, but please don’t forget me God, I am your charge. Please get rid of my problems; I won’t leave your feet till you do. I am in your protection, please show yourself to me.
My initial cry was out of desperation and self-pity. Later on, I guess, some more love came into the ardaas, and true humility, even as I developed more confidence in worldly affairs.
This shabad was like an anchor, it grounded me, gave me roots again, put me into touch with what I had learned as a child growing up in a Sikh family. I recite it every morning, and it gives me strength to know that He looks after His own.
Japji Sahib – Pauri 37
Japji Sahib – Pauri 36
Japji Sahib – Pauri 35
Japji Sahib – Pauri 34
Japji Sahib – Pauri 32
Japji Sahib – Pauri 28
Japji Sahib – Pauri 27B