Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Early childhood
- 3. Getting addicted to alcohol
- 4. Depression setting in due to drinking alcohol
- 5. Tryst with the Divine
- 6. Starting spiritual practice and giving up alcohol
- 7. Transformation through spiritual practice after giving up alcohol
- 8. Present situation
- 9. Improvements since starting spiritual practice
- 10. Final thoughts
Regardless of whether we consider ourselves social drinkers or have been diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), binging on alcohol can have serious physical and mental health consequences. People struggling with alcoholism can affirm how their dependency on alcohol makes them so helpless that even functioning normally is difficult without consuming alcohol. Through spiritual research, we have found that the root cause of addictions is often spiritual in nature.
Given ahead is a case study of Mr Fintan Kenna from Ireland (in his own words) which shows how giving up alcohol is possible by doing spiritual practice.
2. Early childhood
I (Fintan) was born in Ireland 30 km outside Dublin in 1976, and I am the eldest of 4 children. My family was religious, and my grandparents were especially so. When I was 11, I remember going off to mass on my own without telling anyone and I felt peace at mass. Nobody knew about this, and I continued doing so for many years up to my late teens. I was very shy and did not really enjoy school.
Most of my early years were spent playing football after school and during weekends. After I finished school, I began working in a factory before moving to London when I was 19 to work on construction sites.
3. Getting addicted to alcohol
I was very shy while growing up and had some social anxiety, especially when meeting new people. I played football, which gave me a good outlet and I became good friends with people in London. There was a big drinking culture among the Irish people living there and I had begun socialising and drinking during weekends, usually spending most of my wages in doing so. The alcohol helped me to feel more comfortable in people’s company. There were no thoughts of God at this stage and my drinking got progressively worse, with me spending Friday after work, Saturday and Sunday in the pub. Then I would go to work on Monday with a severe hangover. I would have insomnia and I would get sleep paralysis along with nightmares on many occasions after binge drinking.
I returned to Ireland after 3 years in 1999. My drinking habits continued for a number of years with me staying out all weekend. As I grew older, the hangovers got worse; I would not be able to sleep and had nightmares after 3 days of weekend drinking. I would wake up the morning after drinking trying to recollect how I got home, who I was talking to the previous day and where I was drinking. As a result of drinking for hours, I often completely blacked out.
4. Depression setting in due to drinking alcohol
I met Tara in 2001, who is my wife now. We had children along the way, which gave me more responsibility. We would go to a special occasion and have a few drinks, and then the next day I would go to the pub selfishly without any sense of responsibility. I could never go out for one night and leave it at that. I always went for 2 to 3 days and nobody could say anything to me. I loved the time I spent drinking, but I would be in a very depressive state afterwards. I was very selfish, and I also had pride, anger, negative thinking, and insecurities. The construction industry hit a recession in 2007 and so I got a taxi license, which meant I had to start giving up alcohol by curbing binge drinking as I needed to have a clear mind to drive on the road for long periods. Needless to say, I found this very challenging.
5. Tryst with the Divine
In 2009, we had our 4th child, a daughter who was born with a heart defect. She needed intervention treatment before she was 1 year old. She needed intensive monitoring at home and weekly visits to the hospital. During that year, Tara and I felt a deep sense of peace even though it was a worrying time. I felt my ego was left to the side and we were living totally in the present moment. It also led me to believe that we are not in control of everything in our lives. I remember thinking that it would be great if we could live like this all the time.
For the next 12 years I drove a taxi in Dublin, often working long shifts of 10-16 hours per day to pay the bills. Our family home was fairly negative spiritually. We would have the TV on all day, there would be some quarrels and one of our children used to have frequent nightmares. My drinking episodes became less frequent. However, giving up alcohol entirely was not possible for me and I would invariably spend time drinking. I was working long hours, getting up at 4 am to work for 12 hours and my mind was in a negative state with me driving all day chasing money. The taxi industry was very competitive, and I would have outbursts of anger towards other drivers while competing for customers. Then I would spend weekends going to my children’s sports games to watch them. Yet, the time I spent with my family was of poor quality and the weekend was often used to catch up on sleep.
6. Starting spiritual practice and giving up alcohol
In 2014, Tara went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes (in France) with her friends. I asked her how it was when she returned. She said she had an overwhelming experience in the sanctuary where she began crying for no apparent reason and this lasted for a few minutes. This stayed at the back of my mind as I still believed in God, but I was not practising. I had tried meditation, listening to relaxing music, going to the gym and even Reiki. I found that these were all short-term fixes. By now I had given up playing football as I was 37 years old. I was searching for that peace of mind, and to be rid of anxiety and negative thinking.
So, I picked up the Bible again and started reading it at work when I would have a break. I tried to read it from cover to cover. I was never good at studying and I would often forget what I had read the week before or I would lose concentration and fall asleep. I was attending regular mass. I would pray to God saying, “Come on God, there has to be more to life than this” or “Come on God, I’ve done my time.” I had a deep feeling that I had to do more than what I was doing. It was around this time that I came across the SSRF website. I cannot remember exactly how but it was through social media. The articles resonated with me straight away. I read about the root cause of addictions and destiny and I asked several questions on the ‘Ask a Question’ facility on the SSRF website. When I read that the root cause of alcoholism can be spiritual in nature and spiritual practice can help in giving up alcohol, I started spiritual practice. I started with chanting God’s Name as recommended by SSRF. Due to God’s grace, I gave up drinking alcohol completely in August 2016. I was learning about the root cause of many of the problems that I had, and found effective methods to overcome them.
I believe that God answered my prayer at this time.
7. Transformation through spiritual practice after giving up alcohol
A year later, I visited the Spiritual Research Centre and Ashram in India to attend a workshop. The Ashram felt like a different world far away from the busy streets of Dublin; the seekers were all good-natured and all were practising Spirituality. The workshop was excellent, and I learned all about personality defects which I had and how to chant for faster spiritual growth.
During one of my stays in the Ashram, I had the good fortune to meet Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale. I felt a lot of positive energy in the room when we met Him. Initially during the satsang, I felt uncomfortable and had a lot of heat on the back of my neck and head. I felt restless and then realised that this was because I was being exposed to very strong healing energy coming from Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale.
The next day I was sitting with a few other seekers, but I was not really listening to what they were saying. I was staring out of the window thinking of God when I suddenly started crying for no reason. My chest filled up with strong emotion and tears were flowing from my eyes. The other seekers just smiled and said nothing. They knew what this was. I learned that it was spiritual emotion (bhav). This increased my faith in God, and I remembered Tara having the same experience previously in Lourdes.
After that life changing spiritual workshop in Goa, India, I returned home and started practising Spirituality earnestly. We had weekly online spiritual meetings with guiding seekers, and I learned about my defects that were holding me back from experiencing happiness such as pride, expectations from others and fear of public speaking. I also learned that the spirits of departed ancestors were adversely affecting me and the family.
I began doing spiritual healing remedies every morning for 15 minutes before I went to work. I also did the box remedy, chanting, and burning SSRF incense sticks to purify the premises. When I returned from work, every day I would do saltwater remedy in the evening. Over the next few months, I slowly began increasing the amount of time I spent doing spiritual healing remedies to 1 hour and then 2 hours. I knew it was working because I was constantly yawning which I had learned is a sign of healing. I was chanting the Name of God according to my religion and the protective Datta healing chant for ancestral distress. I felt my concentration was gradually improving. I had no interest whatsoever in drinking again. It surprised me that giving up alcohol was really quite simple after starting spiritual practice.
I returned to the Ashram again a year later with my wife in 2018. I brought my 3 sons again in 2019. They all had a great experience. They were amazed by meeting Saints in the Ashram. The next time I met Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale, I felt a great sense of peace during the satsang. I received guidance that I am making good spiritual progress.
8. Present situation
In 2018, I gave up full-time work to look after my 1-year old son. Tara wanted to keep her job after the baby was born and this allowed me to increase my spiritual practice and help more with the spread of Spirituality. My main goal in life now is to grow spiritually towards God and help others to do the same. My faith has increased, and I express immense gratitude to Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale for helping me overcome the obstacles in my life through continued guidance I received in online spiritual meetings, giving Autosuggestions and doing spiritual healing remedies. In the last 5 months of 2019, I feel I have been able to help others a lot more now and the negative distress has decreased.
9. Improvements since starting spiritual practice
Since beginning with spiritual practice, I realised that not only was I able to overcome alcohol addiction, but also that the negative personality traits in me which I had felt would never go away started to reduce considerably.
9.1 Giving up alcohol addiction
Spiritual practice saved my life.
I feel that without spiritual practice, I would not have had the spiritual energy to give up my alcohol addiction and it would have ruined my life.
9.2 Being able to overcome fear of public speaking
I was always reserved especially when attending big events where there would be a big crowd. I would hold back when meeting people. To be able to stand up and talk in front of many people is something I admired in others and something I definitely could not see myself ever doing. I learned that this is a major stumbling block in my life, and I needed to overcome this obstacle. I began taking A3 Autosuggestions and in due course, a situation came up where I was asked to read in front of approximately 200 people. I realised that God was at work and that this was a test to help me to overcome this fear. I was able to speak confidently.
About 6 months later, another opportunity arose where I was asked to go into secondary schools and talk to students who were graduating. This was a cause for worry, but I knew that it was another test. I continued with the Autosuggestions and got through it fine. I felt there were many instances where I could clearly see God’s hand at work.
I never thought I would say this, but now I am confident when speaking in front of a crowd and the insecurity which I had has almost completely gone.
9.3 Experiencing calmness through chanting
My mind was always busy, and I would be plagued with endless thoughts that were often negative in nature. I would have outbursts of anger for no apparent reason when I was working. When I was driving a taxi, I would be aggressive towards other drivers when trying to compete for customers. When I would try to read Holy texts, I could not concentrate for more than one paragraph. My mind would wander off thinking mundane thoughts and the time assigned for reading the text would be spent daydreaming.
When I started chanting, I realised that it was a simple tool that did not take much effort. I could do it anytime or anywhere. I started chanting while I was driving my taxi. I also chanted in the morning while doing spiritual healing remedies to remove negative energy from my mind and intellect. I later learned that the negative and endless thoughts I had were due to a black subtle negative covering around me. After a couple of months of doing regular healing remedies in the morning, I noticed that the thoughts were beginning to reduce. This encouraged me and I increased the time I spent doing the healing remedies. I was feeling calmer during work. I had stopped listening to the radio in the car. By taking Autosuggestions regularly, I am not reacting to any instances of aggression on the roads or any negative comments from any disgruntled customers. The chant was helping to purify my mind and the Autosuggestions were helping to remove any defects that would cause me to react. I was burning SSRF incense in the car intermittently during breaks and when my car was parked. Thus, my driving became less rash than it used to be.
Other passengers often said that they felt really peaceful in the car and it often prompted a conversation about the healing nature of the SSRF incense sticks and the SSRF website.
10. Final thoughts
If I had some of this knowledge about Spirituality when I was a young adult, I certainly could have made wiser and better-informed decisions. I am grateful to have experienced this positive change in my life and I earnestly hope that this article can help others in their spiritual journeys through life.