In this post, would like to share a very in-depth response received to my earlier 'write up' on the subject. My young friend BhaiYousuf Rangoonwala is currently Brand Partner (Planning) BBH - Mumbai.
It is my good fortune to know Yousuf from his growing up years, and he has written with fervor and truth. His 'write up' makes us realize the problem of addiction from different perspective. How our young Proffesionals, working in very challenging and competitive environment, over come peer pressures, how difficult it is for them, and yet there are thousands, who have said NO to addiction in any form. Believe me friends, it is really very very difficult.
This post of mine is a humble tribute to all those young friends, who have shown courage and determination. It is on account of their upbringing in accordance with the tenets of our DEEN - their 'ohibboka ya Moulaya' elixir instilled from young age by their Parents. I salute all those Parents who have always been vigilant, aware and given their growing children advice with love and compassion. Parents who have been role models.
So please read and reflect on what this young Proffesional has shared, hope many like him will come forward, overcome their inhibitions and thereby help many of their mumineen brethren.
Thanks for putting up such a thoughtful post uncle. Really well-written. Some points I'd like to add-
A very critical point you mentioned is the feeling of euphoria that nicotine induces. One must ask, why is the euphoria needed? And why is its unnatural induction through nicotine harmful?
In the manifold answers to these questions lies the core of the problem - low self-esteem and the inability to cope with failure, limitation and mistakes. If you notice, most smokers cite stress as the reason to consume a cigarette and the likes. The stress is the result of a lack of belief that things can go wrong in this world, we all can make mistakes and we must not fear making them. The problem is compounded when there is a fear of reprimand for for even the smallest of errors.
Hence, to deny limitation, failure and mistakes whether it be in relationships, at work, at home or any other aspect in life, people want euphoria. They want to deny that they could have made a mistake, that the mistake will have consequences which must be faced and that they are limited and imperfect. They essentially want to deny the basic tenets of being human.
The dangers of such induced euphoria are, of course, shuddering - one suffers from low self-esteem because of not being brave enough to admit mistakes and associates a feeling of being a loser or failure with the actual mistake or failure. This causes fear. And fear clouds thinking. Hence, in the search for control, people can't see beyond the craving that you mentioned.
The euphoria also induces feelings of magnitude and, hence, megalomania in severe cases and a high sense of arrogance and narcissism in most. It also reflects self-hatred and, hence, a lack of compassion. You'll notice that people who smoke are harsh on others for even the smallest of mistakes, they are highly intolerant of change or difference and so low is their self-esteem that they believe they are limitless. They get angry easily and avoid getting emotional even for the right reasons.
Because the euphoria is short-lived but it tampers with the brain's natural ability to deal with change, failure, loss of control, etc, smokers find it hard to accept reality and have delusions. Delusions don't necessarily have to be of a hallucinatory nature. But they reek of fantasy - the constant need to prove intelligence, knowledge, superiority and rank: these are symptoms of fantasy as an escape from the humility of reality. And, hence, smokers keep craving for a smoke because they get jittery and nervous about the unknown, what's going to happen. How on earth can one expect smokers to believe in God? They believe they are always in control or need to be in control and can dictate the proceedings of their own life and can make anything happen. When things don't go according to plan, it's always others' fault and that everyone else is stupid.
A tendency that has also been noticed (although this is more with druggies, artists, alcoholics) is the development of maladaptive perfectionism which is a negative obsession with perfection. Smokers can't live in chaos. The irony is they think they are intelligent when errors, chaos, imperfection, bravery, compassion, faith and vulnerability are essentials for being creative and intelligent. Striving for excellence is very different from being obsessed with being perfect
I work in advertising, so I know this problem inside out because a lot of people in our business smoke and drink. They cover up for their mistakes through these addictions. They think making mistakes is bad and that they can't make them. They think smoking and drinking is part of being cool and creative. That's utter rubbish. Research has long proven that invulnerability or the inability to deal with mistakes and failure is the first and biggest deterrent to creativity. I've also noticed that the ones in our business who don't smoke or drink are actually the ones who are the best writers and artists. they are ready to keep trying, don't quit easily even if their work is rejected by clients or their bosses and are genuinely nice people.
I would strongly recommend watching the TEDTalk of Dr Brene Brown on the "Power of Vulnerability" and "Listening to Shame" for those who want to quit this habit, recover their lost self-esteem and lead normal and happy lives. Be brave. Quit smoking.
Also, Dr Jitendra Nagpal - head of psychiatry and addiction resolution in children and young adults specialist at AIIMS Delhi is an authority on this. I had met him as part of my interest in understanding how children think and personality development. He told me that addiction is a trap, because it makes you feel you've done nothing wrong, it reduces your ability to cope with mistakes. You feel you're getting over loss and failure yet what it is actually doing is dragging you further into it.
One last point, an addiction and religious affinity map of the world will reveal that atheism, religious discontent and discord, debt, weapons and breakdown of family structures and destruction of values for a harmonious society and, most importantly, depression, is directly proportional to places where alcohol and tobacco addiction and drugs consumption is high. The USA (barring the mid west) and parts of Europe are a prime example.
Creativity has a lot to do with failure etc so these areas and addiction have long been an interest of mine. Because, after all, I am also human and it often perplexed me that my habits and what I had been taught seemed to be quite the opposite of what the so-called creative people used to practice and preach. I was caught in a moral dilemma - excelling at one's work is also a virtue and one must do what it takes, yet we'd been told to abstain from such habits.
Often, I would also feel compelled to take to alcohol because I thought that would make me cool or more creative, but somehow I resisted it. maybe it was Moula TUS that came to my rescue. Over the years, as I forayed into understanding logic and imagination and creativity and the idea of being because these subjects seemed to be inseparable from my work, I realized that all along, I had been on the right path and that the source and the true king of all logic, creativity, knowledge, lateral thinking and imagination is our Aqa Moula TUS.
Low self-esteem is the cause of most problems on earth and we must consider ourselves SERIOUSLY LUCKY that Aqa Moula and his dawat work so hard (yet make it look effortless) to keep us from straying into the dungeons and abysses of shame, suffering and that nagging feeling that " I am not good enough, loved enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc".
Khuda behve moula TUS ni umr shareef ne qayamat na din lag daraaz karjo. Ameen
Yousuf Mohammadbhai Rangoonwala - Mumbai
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
References and sources for the above write up:
Dr Brene Brown's TEDTalk "The power of vulnerability" and "Listening to shame"
Castro, J.R.; Rice, K.G. (2003, February 9), "Perfectionism and ethnicity: implications for depressive symptoms and self-reported academic achievement", Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Melissa Jackson, (2004, June 19). "Why perfect is not always best". BBC News.
Martin P (2008). Sex, Drugs & Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure. London: Fourth Estate
Conversations with Dr Jitendra Nagpal, Head of Psychiatry (specialist in addiction resolution and mental health development in children and young adults) at Moolchand Fortis Hospital and Consultant Psychiatrist at AIIMS.