How I prayed about my son’s drug use
I lay in bed, racked by anxiety about my son, whom I had not heard from for a while. My many phone calls and messages had gone unanswered. A few weeks later I was informed that he had been using methamphetamine (popularly known as crystal meth), a highly addictive substance destructive to health and clear thinking that has led to many deaths.
Not only was I deeply concerned about my son’s health, but he had just begun a promising career, and now it appeared in danger of being derailed. But my greatest anguish was simply not being able to be in touch with him.
I contacted a Christian Science practitioner, who began to turn my thought toward the fact that God is everyone’s true Father. Christ Jesus’ instruction “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9) helps to lift parents above a feeling of personal responsibility through the realization that our heavenly Father governs the actions and life of all of His offspring. The Apostle Peter encourages us to cast “all your care upon [God]; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:7). And that care includes our children.
Anxious thoughts would especially surround me just before I went to bed at night. One night, picking up the Christian Science Hymnal, I opened to the words of Hymn 382 (Emily F. Seal), which turned out to be a perfect means of prayer for me, and a life-buoy in a sea of worries. The hymn is reproduced at the end of this article. Here is how I used its message in my prayers in the weeks that followed.
The second line, “Child of the perfect One,” immediately turns thought away from a feeling that parenthood is burdensome, and to the perception that God, the perfect One, is caring for all creation. I prayed to see my son being cared for by his heavenly Parent, the Being who governs all.
As I read the next two lines, “What is thy Father’s plan / For His beloved son?” my fears about my son’s future prospects would lessen. My son had begun on a good career path, which drugs threatened to terminate. In so many addiction stories reported in the media, any planning for the future becomes murky and uncertain. And yet, the message of Jesus is that we are God’s beloved children. Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Now this self-same God is our helper. He pities us. He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers” (Unity of Good, pp. 3–4).
I prayed to see my son being cared for by his heavenly Parent, the Being who governs all.
Drug users are often known to lie, or at least to try to hide from their families their situation and their struggles. Even before I lost touch with my son, I had begun to notice some dishonesty and that he was hiding things from me. Prayer in Christian Science involves replacing the human or material concept of a person with the correct understanding of their true, spiritual, Christly identity.
In Truth, in the purity of God’s kingdom, God’s children speak only the truth, and are not tainted with covertness, dissimulation, or deception. I endeavored to replace the mortal picture of my son that was continuously presenting itself to my thought with the spiritual truth that he was “Truth’s honest child,” with a “pure and sinless heart,” and that he walked “undefiled / In Christly paths apart.”
Disorientation, dreaminess, and loss of mental clarity often accompany substance abuse. And my worries intensified when I read an article suggesting that methamphetamine could permanently impair a user’s mental ability. My son’s work demands a lot of critical and clear thinking. But the hymn’s third verse assures us that our life is not dependent on a brain or a personal mentality capable of “vain dreams,” but instead emanates from divine Truth, infinite Mind. I also found reassurance in these ideas from Mrs. Eddy’s writings: “A drug cannot of itself go to the brain or affect cerebral conditions in any manner whatever” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 301), and “The blood, heart, lungs, brain, etc., have nothing to do with Life, God. Every function of the real man is governed by the divine Mind” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 151).
Whenever I would turn to this hymn as an aid to prayer, I felt reassured by its emphatic concluding declaration that man is not in thrall to error—to the error of believing that our lives are in matter rather than Spirit, God. I saw that matter has no real substance or law behind it, so it could not hold my son or anybody in its grip through a belief of addiction. We are spiritual and therefore have God’s gift of dominion over all the claims associated with drug use. This conclusion echoes the first line of the hymn, which speaks of our birthright as the children of the perfect One. Since our heavenly Father is perfect, we can, with divine authority, claim humanity’s freedom from addiction and any other harmful, negative belief.
A few months after taking up prayer on this basis, I rejoiced to hear from my son and learn of his recovery from what had threatened to be a permanent affliction coloring the rest of his life. Today, I am grateful to say that he has long been on a fruitful career path, enjoys his job—which requires handling complex tasks on a daily basis—and is valued for his skills and contributions.
But what has been most important to me is the restoration of my loving relationship with my son. I am grateful to the Christian Science practitioner who assisted me during this time, and for the realization that prayer in Christian Science can dissipate the “vain dreams” and fears of addiction by revealing the truth of our life in God
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HYMNAL, NO. 382
What is thy birthright, man,
Child of the perfect One;
What is thy Father’s plan
For His beloved son?
Thou art Truth’s honest child,
Of pure and sinless heart;
Thou treadest undefiled
In Christly paths apart.
Vain dreams shall disappear
As Truth dawns on the sight;
The phantoms of thy fear
Shall flee before the light.
Take then the sacred rod;
Thou art not error’s thrall;
Thou hast the gift of God—
Dominion over all.
—Emily F. Seal