Undoing Drug Abuse

YOUNG people who see family members taking pills may see little distinction between filling legal prescriptions at the drugstore and getting illegal drugs down the block. Some of the more thoughtful observers of the current scene are saying that pervasive drug abuse is linked to an even more widespread habit in society -- dependence on drugs in general. A key step in dealing with drug abuse may well be growing public recognition that an overmedicated society has been fertile ground for the spread of addictive drugs.

If we are merely material systems, then it is not unreasonable that we should tinker with that system, putting in and taking out. But if, in fact, mental and moral attitudes are primary, and they are being ignored, then is it any wonder the system malfunctions when people are treated as machines?

I recall many years ago developing extreme headaches that sent me home from the job. At first it seemed there might be a purely physical cause -- possibly the fumes from the glue used in the layout of pages. But then an optometrist suggested this was a condition that needed to be cleared up through a medical procedure. As a Christian Scientist I felt that whatever the immediate physical cause might be, the basic difficulty lay in what I was thinking. And what I had been thinking was that the work situation was intolerable for a variety of reasons.

I prayed and asked for help through the prayer of a Christian Science practitioner. No medication was taken. After a day or two of this help, the pain in my head was gone and I had no fear it would come back. This proved, in fact, to be the end of the difficulty. At the same time I found my own attitude changing toward the job and fellow employees. The practitioner and I had been praying from the basis that thought needed to be improved, not with a dose of drugs but with spiritual truth.

The spiritual truth that man is never outside God's care corrected the error of fearing that I was in an unfulfilling and harmful environment. Since God is the supreme cause to man and this cause is always good, the effect on man must be entirely good. This surely isn't always immediately evident, but praying to understand this spiritual truth more deeply does improve human experience.

Is it really possible to cut back on the use of drugs when they have become such a commonplace of society? It is as we grow into a better model of man. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes, ``Scientific discovery and the inspiration of Truth have taught me that the health and character of man become more or less perfect as his mind-models are more or less spiritual.''1 Her long personal struggle with illness, which was finally won through a new view of the practicality of Christ Jesus' teachings, convinced her that the true model of manhood was to be found in the life of Jesus, who knew himself as the Son of God. This understanding of man made in Spirit's likeness enabled Christ Jesus to bring healing to others.

Each time anyone learns something more about the Science of Christ and its capacity to uplift and heal humanity, there is some reduction of overall dependence on drugs. This practical lessening of reliance on drugs, and on the mechanical model of man, is one of the most significant things we can do to help undo a drug-abusing society.

1The People's Idea of God, p. 7.

This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the March 12 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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