I resolve ...

Resolutions to leave behind bad habits need more than human willpower. To succeed, they need to be based on man's innate spirituality.

We often hear it said that an individual is "swearing off" some undesirable trait or habit. But what does "swearing off" involve? Too often we are led to believe that in order to be free from enslaving habits, a personal force called willpower is needed to break the despotic grasp of evil.

I once listened to a panel discussion about alcohol. Although the discussion dealt with so-called problem drinking, the illustration could fit any indulgence. At the close the moderator asked panel members what they would advise someone to do to overcome problem drinking. Several agreed that if the victim would forcefully declare each day that he would not take a drink he could overcome that habit and eventually be free.

One individual, however, who had counseled problem drinkers, took issue with this exercise of will as a lasting solution. It had been his experience, he said, that such a procedure was actually harmful because it kept reminding the person of the habit and soon he indulged in alcohol again. And this failure only further convinced the individual that he was totally lacking in the power to help himself be free of the addiction. The reason for this is described in a passage from Miscellaneous Writings by Mrs. Eddy: "There is not sufficient spiritual power in the human thought to heal the sick or the sinful." Mis., p. 352.

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You are clean
January 4, 1988

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