The years of my youth were difficult because my father was a heavy drinker. Family life was unpredictable, and there was mental and physical abuse in our home. I was always on edge, as the atmosphere was not pleasant and there was little joy.
It was accepted in the family that the problem was clearly the fault of my alcoholic father. He had overindulged in liquor since his teenage years, and nothing had ever helped to free him from this behavior.
Years later, in a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, on a Wednesday night, I heard a remarkable testimony. A woman gave thanks for the healing of her husband’s alcoholism. I listened intently as she described difficult times trying to deal with her husband’s drinking. One night, as she wholeheartedly and humbly turned to God in prayer, she got an answer. The thought came to her that the problem she needed to address was not her husband’s, but hers. In her own thinking, she needed to correct the false belief that anyone could be an alcoholic. How could she label someone an alcoholic when all of God’s children are made in His image and likeness? God never created an alcoholic, so how could she attach that erroneous concept to God’s man?
When I heard this, a giant light bulb went on in my thinking! And I took on the challenge. No longer would I try to change my father’s behavior. Rather, I would concentrate on correcting my thought about him. I needed to know my father as God knew him.
On pages 476 and 477 in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.”
These were my marching orders. Over the next few months, every time I thought of Dad, I prayed to see and know him correctly, as the perfect man of God’s creating. Then one spring day, as I walked down a sunny street, I had another light-bulb moment. I clearly realized that all the alcohol my father seemed to have imbibed over those many years had actually never touched him! Since God, Spirit, is the only power, alcohol had no real power. Human experience is a dream, not reality, so my father was untouched, intact, complete, whole, and innocent.
These realizations brought me strong feelings of joy and freedom. My steps were uplifted, and I felt like singing. I knew that I was healed and that Dad was fine, even though nothing had yet changed for him. Sometime later he proudly said to me, “I no longer drink, and I no longer smoke!” He had naturally stopped both addictive habits. I knew that my prayers to heal myself of a wrong perception of my dad had truly blessed him and brought him healing.
This was a clear lesson for me on the importance of keeping guard over my thought. As Mrs. Eddy instructs us, “Watch, and pray daily that evil suggestions, in whatever guise, take no root in your thought nor bear fruit” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 128).
I am so grateful for the freedom my dad gained, and for Christian Science, which gave me the tools to correct my thought and see through that ugly, false claim. The truth of man’s God-given purity and innocence can be applied to every case of addiction, and it does heal.
Charlottesville, Virginia, US
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