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Defeat drug addiction

From the April 4, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


These days reports in society of widespread addiction to drugs, including heroin and prescribed painkillers, can feel overwhelming. However, we are not helpless in our desire to help remedy this problem. Prayer can bring healing. But this requires more than a superficial look at the issue. We need to get at the real root of the problem and address the kinds of thoughts and beliefs underlying drug use in the first place.

Now, I know a little bit about this. When I was in my teens, I felt as if I didn’t fit in. The educational system didn’t seem to work for me, and I didn’t see any viable employment prospects on the horizon. I was generally unhappy and angry, and I felt pretty hopeless. So I looked for a way out and turned to drugs, just to feel a little better. Along with this came addiction.

I sensed all along that there had to be something to my identity beyond what the physical senses were telling me. I just didn’t know how to tap into that, and now I had this addiction problem. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Christian Science that I found freedom. And that freedom came naturally. 

I was glimpsing a deeper and truer sense of reality.

I began reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and learned things about God and my relationship to Him that were pretty amazing. The most revelatory idea to me at the time was that as the child of God, my identity was completely spiritual, made in His image and likeness, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. Science and Health sums it up this way: “Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man’s dominion over the whole earth” (p. 14).

At the time, I wasn’t really thinking that what I was learning would heal the desire to get high. I just knew I was glimpsing a deeper and truer sense of reality, of man’s dominion, than what I had known previously. But it did heal me; the addiction just fell away within a month or so.

What had happened? As I read the Bible and Science and Health, I was discovering my spiritual identity. I learned not to think of myself as a mortal with all these problems. Suddenly the limitations and hopelessness I had been feeling so hemmed in by just dissolved. Christian Science had opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities of good, which I hadn’t been able to see from my previous limited perspective of looking to matter as the source of my being and satisfaction.

Through this understanding of man’s identity and value as the spiritual child of God—who is divine Life, Truth, and Love—I became comfortable with myself, and suddenly there was hope on the horizon. In the years since this healing, I have remained completely free from any desire to use drugs of any kind, and I was led to a fulfilling career.

Having seen firsthand this healing power of scientific Christian prayer, when I read or hear about addiction problems facing our society, I immediately go prayerfully to the root of the problem. I start by affirming that God’s man, each of us, is the reflection of divine Mind. This is the basis for our dominion over any false claim of the material senses suggesting we are governed by the whims of mortal mind or material belief. 

Being just a belief itself, mortal mind lacks reality, and as such it lacks authority over Mind’s creation. It cannot tell us what is true about spiritual man, who, as the idea of the omnipotent God, has no weakness, but reflects the strength of God, divine Soul. 

The shackles of addiction, not being from God, good, have no claim on any of us, because we are governed by the only true power—Spirit. Each one of us is a cherished spiritual idea; there are no unwanted children in divine Love. Each and every individual has an inherent worth, purpose, and opportunity from our Father-Mother God: to express Him.

Acknowledging these spiritual facts is a powerful counter to a sense of hopelessness or being stuck. And we naturally start to feel the infinite promise of divine Love and to see that we have no need—or desire—to depend on matter for satisfaction and pleasure. 

We are governed by the only true power—Spirit.

I have found this statement in Science and Health very helpful: “Reform comes by understanding that there is no abiding pleasure in evil, and also by gaining an affection for good according to Science, which reveals the immortal fact that neither pleasure nor pain, appetite nor passion, can exist in or of matter, while divine Mind can and does destroy the false beliefs of pleasure, pain, or fear and all the sinful appetites of the human mind” (p. 327). This passage has helped me see that pain, cravings, fears, and matter-based pleasures have no real hold on us, because they are not of God, divine Love.

The belief that anyone can or should be trapped by material appetites has no divine authority. It is a suggestion that tries to keep us believing we are merely physical beings—material bodies subject to the woes of mortal thoughts and existence. But that belief about ourselves is destroyed through the understanding of Spirit and of our real identity as immortal ideas of God. Science and Health says, “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love” (p. 57). 

Everyone is entitled to feel that joy. This happiness isn’t a temporal euphoric state of the human mind, but a deep spiritual sense of satisfaction. Its source is infinite Love, and it is the reflection of the satisfaction God expressed when He acknowledged the essence of His creation “and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

When we pray about these things, affirming the spiritual facts about God’s creation, we’re counteracting the mistaken beliefs that man is a helpless, hopeless mortal, and that true satisfaction is elusive and temporary. This blesses ourselves, our neighbors (those we know and don’t know), and our community, and elevates the thought of mankind. We may not always see immediate change, but I know that the recognition of my spiritual identity lifted me out of the bondage of substance abuse. This encourages me to expect that claiming these truths out of love for others must inevitably have a similar redeeming effect.

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