The choice to reject drugs

YOUNG people are often pressured into assuming there is one major weekend activity drinking and other drug use. Prevailing definitions of social life appear to have become synonymous with drug abuse. But though it is not highlighted on bulletin boards or in the corridors of gossip about ''what's going on,'' many young people are quietly and thoughtfully making their own choices not to depend on drugs. Often their decisions have a tempering influence that they are unaware of. Their choice may simply follow an example set by some adults-parents or teachers or friends. But it is often a natural rejection of the terrible effects of drug use, including addiction, accidents, disease, fragmented lives, sometimes suicide. Decisions to reject the drug scene deserve more support and appreciation, and on many campuses and in many organizations this attention is beginning to be given.

The highest and most secure motivation for separating oneself from the mesmeric impulse to go with the crowd comes from a deep conviction that man is actually God's offspring, and as such is spiritual, not a material organism needing compensatory highs. Because man is a spiritual entity, his joy, completeness, originality, love, do not depend on psychological or chemical highs or lows. In order to feel vital, to have fun and feel unselfconscious, it is possible to draw on God-derived qualities-joy, unselfishness, intelligence, integrity-to make us feel attractive and poised. And ultimately, this is the only way to find genuine satisfaction.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and author of its textbook, Science and Health, writes: ''There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance.'' n1 By claiming our spiritual identity as the man of God's creating, and thus disclaiming the pull of materialistic impulses, it is possible to resist the pressure to lose ourselves in the crowds of blurred distinctions and conformity. True identity recognizes genuine authority-our right to choose what we innately know is the most satisfying. This spiritual power is not self-conscious, not apologetic, because it is God-derived. We are able to make our own choices, not in order to please other people but as a conscious acknowledgment of and alignment with the power of good-good motives, good feelings, good as cause and effect.

n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 134.

During her years in an extremely sophisticated high school a young woman was one of the few students who didn't drink or take drugs at parties. She made no particular point of it; she simply had a better time talking, listening to music , and dancing without drinking or drugs. Her home influences had given her an underlying sense that as the child of God she naturally included good, and her joy came from within, not from substances added. It didn't seem intelligent or necessary to follow the crowd.

In her senior year she received a letter from a former classmate-a fellow who had been expelled for drug abuse. They hadn't been close friends, so she was surprised to hear from him and was touched by what he had to say. After being expelled, he had felt desperate about the need to ''clean up my act.'' He kept wondering how he could possibly do it, and then her vitality and spiritual poise came to mind. He recalled a time they had briefly talked about drugs and she had effortlessly, quietly said she just didn't need drugs. Her conviction and obvious happiness made a definitive impression that it was possible to get along without drugs or artificial help. The letter was to say he had finally pulled out of the drug scene, and to thank her ''for being there and planting that seed.''

In a letter written centuries ago to the Corinthians, Paul said: ''Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.'' n2 This spirit is always available to us. It gives us the ability to make our own intelligent choices. And we can be sure they will be consistent from one Saturday night to the next.

n2 I Corinthians 2:12.

Anyone can adhere to the spirit of God. It is always present-available to the honest and perceptive thought. We do have authority over our choices, behavior, friendships, and satisfaction. And we may never know just when our own yielding to spiritual power and turning away from the worldly and material pull will help someone else. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirt, in faith, in purity. I timothy 4:12thians 2:12.

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