Chakra Discussions

Alcoholics Anonymous Led Me to Krsna

by Haridas dasa

Posted October 28, 2003

My humble obeisances to all you Vaisnava devotees of the Lord, and all those that ever were, are and ever will be, with special emphasis on Shilas Prabhupada, BR Sridhara, and BV Narayana Maharajas.

I was struggling in AA when my first teacher Bimbasya dasa gave me Krsna. I owe big time. This is the main reason I'm posting this article. The recovery stats in AA are one in 44, yet this is the best program known around the world. There is only one that is better and it is not largly recognized. And that is Krsna Consciousness as outlined by Shila Prabhupada. In the twelve step recovery programs it recognized that one who 'gets the program' is generally one who gets the 'God' connection or one who totally surrenders'. I personally never surrendered to anything in my life, [before AA], and therefore I couldn't really surrender to a door knob or any kind of higher power until I new more about this entity I was surrendering to. I thank Bimbasya and Prabhupada every day for giving me the little bit of Krsna that I have.

The majority of the 43 of the 44 who walk through the doors of AA that don't make it, are dry drunks. Same actions as drunks, same thinking, as drunks, only without the booze or drugs. They still have the lust, envy, hatred and the stinking thinking behind the drinking, only they don't drink. Does this sound a little bit like some of the devotees we know? The only difference in them is they chant Hare krsna once in a while. Granted not drinking is a lot better than drinking and chanting Hare Krsna even once is inconceivablely better than not however there is more.

The problem in AA is, we know we have to surrender because we became powerless over alcohol,[in my case I had become powerless over everthing], our lives had become unmanageable, and we have to turn our lives and will over to God. But what is this God? Who is this God? There in lies the weakness of the AA program and in essence provides my preaching platform for Krsna Consciousness, or 'God aware ness'.

Krsna Consiousness is the Maha recovery program.

However in our family of devotees we have a reverse situation. We know who God is. Prabhupada has given us the answers. But we refuse to surrender in total.

I've read a few articles submitted to Chakra by devotees, on this subject and they are beautiful. They have the program. They have the humility. They know we are still 'recovering' as opposed to being 'recovered'. People thinking they are 'clean or recovered' is the main problem in AA and I'm sad to say, in our devotee community as well. A good measure of our wellness is, 'how envious are we of those that are following Shila Prabhupada's instructions,' and 'how we find ways to bad mouth them, or support them.'

I think we can learn a lot from AA because no matter what problems we have personally, principles come first in AA and the main principle is the same as Shila Prabhupada's - Always extend our hand to those who are still suffering [in distress]. This also includes those in our family. We have a saying in AA. What happens when you sober up a drunk horse thief? You get a sober horse thief. One of the main things we work on in AA is 'the stinking thinking behind the drinking', the main commonality between a poop-in-his-pants back street wino and me. 'Oh woe is me', attitude can be diminished if not altogether eliminated by the full knowledge of Karma and the fact that even the cause of our miseries is self inflicted, even if it seems to come from others or nature.

I would like to extend my hand to the Prabhu who wrote to Back to Godhead about his problem and for that matter to any who are still suffering. In order for me to keep my sobriety I have to pass it on. In order for me to keep what little sanity I have [Krsna], I have to share as well. When I asked Bimbasya once why he picked me for a student he replied 'because I had a big mouth'.He meant because he knew I wan't a miser and if it was for real I would pass it on.

My email is, haridas@telusplanet.net. We have a long ways to go. Let's try to do it together which is also the plan for success in the 12 step recovery programs. It's called 'group' recovery. Or in our case 'congregational' chanting or 'Kirtan'.