Christian Science treatment: The remedy for addiction

At an interfaith panel discussion in the town of Nashua in my home state of New Hampshire, I was struck by something said by Kelly Ayotte, then a United States senator from New Hampshire: “Faith communities have an important role” in the battle against drug addiction that government can’t fill (“Nashua church offers spiritual response to drug crisis,” The Telegraph, May 28, 2016).  

Her recognition of the unselfish work being done in faith communities to heal addiction and provide practical care for those afflicted came at a time when New Hampshire had one of the highest death rates from opioid overdoses in the United States.  

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Today, opioid addiction remains a serious problem here and across the nation, and every tragic passing from an overdose is yet another reminder to take our faith and prayers seriously—to continue praying and never give up. 

In my work as a foster parent, a Christian Science chaplain in the prison ministry, and a volunteer helping the homeless, I’ve been grateful to see difficult problems, often appearing utterly hopeless, solved and healed through prayer. Every victory is proof that we can take to heart the Apostle Paul’s promise, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13, New King James Version).

Many years ago, at the beginning of my healing ministry, a colleague at work who was a refugee from Vietnam found an escape from a lifelong addiction to nicotine—a habit he hadn’t been able to quit through human willpower. He was receptive to the healing message of Christian Science that I shared with him: God is Love, the one and only power or influence in our lives, and we are inseparable from this Love because we are the reflection, or image and likeness, of God. 

My friend had asked for help in Christian Science, and through this spiritual method of treatment he caught a glimpse of the fact that God is All—that nothing exists apart from God and His creation; that divine Love is the only real power and does not tempt us into habits that are harmful to our health and well-being, or allow us to be in bondage to drugs or other material substances. 

A colleague at work who was a refugee from Vietnam found an escape from a lifelong addiction.

Prayer in Christian Science treatment acknowledges that God is also divine Spirit and that Spirit is the only true substance, the source of our happiness, health, and peace. More than pleading with the Almighty for help, this prayer acknowledges God’s power and presence; it causes us to yield to God’s will, and to know and feel that God is good and that we, His children, are good and pure, whole and complete, lacking nothing. He has given us all we need for our genuine satisfaction. As Spirit’s image and likeness, we are dependent on Spirit and nothing else. 

The realization of these spiritual facts immediately freed my friend from the desire to smoke, without any aftereffects or withdrawal symptoms. This was solid proof of divine Mind’s—God’s—government of man, or what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, calls in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Mind’s mastery of the body” (p. 406).

This healing so inspired my colleague—so imbued him with a spiritual sense of existence and of his limitless potential as God’s child—that his life opened up in unexpected ways, and he embarked on a new, successful career path as an electrical engineer. 

Society treats addiction as a disease or “substance use disorder” that one may or may not be able to overcome or recover from. Yet, Christian Science, which is based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, takes the Master at his word that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). By healing in God’s name, Jesus demonstrated that faith in divine Mind, rather than in a drug, can heal human afflictions of every kind; it can end pain, fear, mental anguish, and sickness. His spiritual treatment of disease included no physical recovery period, but demonstrated the power of the eternal Christ, Truth, to stir thought to a spiritual understanding of man’s perfection as the unfallen son or daughter of God. 

This perfect man, created by God, is in a state of eternal harmony; he is not a failing mortal who can relapse, or who has done or experienced something from which he has to recover. Prayer in Christian Science begins with God, good, as the only cause and attracting power, and with man’s innate perfection as the son of God, rather than with a failing mortal. It redeems the past through a recognition of man as whole and untouched by lack, trauma, injustice, or any inharmonious human experience.

The powerful attraction of Spirit is all we can ever truly feel or experience. 

For more than a century, the Sentinel has been publishing firsthand accounts of healing that prove drug dependency can be—and is being—overcome through prayer. These testimonies show the effectiveness of prayers in which the omnipotence of infinite, divine Spirit is the starting point of thinking and reasoning. Such prayer releases thought from the seeming pull of matter—or animal magnetism, the term in Christian Science for the suggestion that there is an attraction or power apart from God, good. Mrs. Eddy, who founded the Sentinel, wrote in Science and Health: “There is but one real attraction, that of Spirit. The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing power or the attraction of God, divine Mind” (p. 102). 

In reality, the powerful attraction of Spirit is all we can ever truly feel or experience. God has given us the spiritual strength and dominion to resist every temptation to believe otherwise, and we have the opportunity to demonstrate this moment by moment. The Bible tells us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

As we claim our innate innocence and dominion as God’s own child, false attractions lose their seeming power or grip. We begin to feel the peace of Love and the spiritual strength of Truth that free humanity from every pain and hurt, and we discover more of our spiritual nature, expressed in grace, unselfed love, and service to God.

Building our lives on ­the rock of Truth
September 17, 2018

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