THE media are filled with stories of alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and the unfortunate results of these habits. A startling report recently stated: ``More than 20 million Americans use marijuana regularly, approximately 8 million to 20 million are regular cocaine users, about 500,000 are heroin addicts, a million are regular users of hallucinogens, and 6 million people abuse prescription drugs.'' 1 Yet despite such widespread use, it has become increasingly clear that none of these destructive methods of escape can provide real satisfaction or permanent peace. Surely most of us have, at some time, wished for release from a difficult situation. But clearly, artificial methods are not the solution. Many years ago an unhappy home and work situation led me to seek companionship with a group of colleagues who smoked, drank, and used drugs. As I began to spend more time with them, I began to experiment as well. Finally, I found myself driving home somewhat inebriated and was smoking more and more. Although I never used hard drugs, I continued to smoke dope, hoping this would give me a release from my unhappy life. Instead, each time I would become increasingly depressed. Although I had been raised as a Christian Scientist, at that point I was far from thinking or behaving like one. I began to realize that I needed to find permanent joy through a spiritual, not a material, sense of life. I knew that this could only come from the very source of our being, God. Instead of identifying myself as an earthbound mortal, I began to realize that my true, God-created selfhood was the perpetually satisfied offspring of infinite Spirit. Spirit, God, is the source of all that is gen uinely good. Perceiving my unity with this source of joy and strength, I saw that these qualities must be expressed in my life naturally and consistently. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy2 writes, referring to God as Mind: ``The depraved appetite for alcoholic drinks, tobacco, tea, coffee, opium, is destroyed only by Mind's mastery of the body. This normal control is gained through divine strength and understanding.'' 3 We have, then, a permanent, spiritually based cure available right now. Through turning in prayer to divine Love we can find healing. And that is what I did. As I looked to God, praying deeply to find a better sense of satisfaction, not only did I lose all desire to smoke, drink, or take drugs, but the difficulties at work and home were eventually resolved. Is this divine power really accessible to everyone? Absolutely! The Psalmist, praying to God, sang, ``Keep back thy servant . . . from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright.'' 4 Such prayer is supported by the eternal truth that God has given man dominion, and nothing can take that authority away. We have strength, through divine power, over any thought that we can be out of control or that we're subject to ups and downs. The strength and dominion that come from God, that we can feel when we are mentally still, enable us to rise up and conquer whatever would try to overpower us. Man, as God's offspring, is always upheld by the Father's tenderness and strength. As we realize this fact, we will more readily express all the courage we need. We don't have to fear being obedient to moral law. We don't have to fear we'll be deprived because we don't have material substances to buoy us up. We can't be deprived, because such things can never provide happiness. Nor need we fear that we haven't the strength to succeed. The prophet assures us of God's strengthening care: ``Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteous ness.'' 5 God never lets us go. His power is always with us, as Christ Jesus proved so conclusively for us all. We can recognize something of our perfect selfhood and express the joy that is naturally part of our being. We can be gladly obedient, listening to the Word of God that gives us strength to resist any paralytic fear or environmental pressures. Our actual, God-given, God-governed identity is sinless and eternal. Certainly we can be healed of the need to use any material substance for escape or fulfillment. What joy there is in seeing our permanent dominion! 1 U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control statistics reported in Parade Magazine, May 26, 1985, p. 17. 2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3 Science and Health, p. 406. 4 Psalms 19:13. 5 Isaiah 41:10.