On a recent trip to India, I visited the holy city of Sarnath, where Buddha preached his first discourse to his first five disciples. A central axiom of Buddhist thought is that of non-attachment. From a Buddhist view, the root of human suffering is attachment, which is fueled by desire. We live within a context of duality: I want/I don’t want. Our drives are motivated toward pleasure and away from pain. Addictive substances are disguised as pleasurable but invariably inflict pain.
It’s an average Wednesday afternoon. I decide to stop by my old recovery home to donate a bag of clothes to the residents. When I ring the doorbell, I find the whole house dressed in black attire. “A former resident died,” whispers the program manager. There’s a sinking feeling in my gut as I realize we have lost yet another soldier on the field who was battling a relentless enemy- addiction.