Finding a deeper sense of identity, overcoming drug addiction

Looking beyond the physical senses for his sense of worth and identity lifted today’s contributor out of hopelessness and brought freedom from substance abuse – an experience that inspired his prayers for others facing such issues.

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When I was in my teens, I felt as if I didn’t fit in. The educational system didn’t seem to work for me, and I didn’t see any viable employment prospects on the horizon. I was generally unhappy and angry, and I felt pretty hopeless. So I looked for a way out and turned to drugs, just to feel a little better. Along with this came addiction.

I sensed all along that there had to be something to my identity beyond what the physical senses were telling me. I just didn’t know how to tap into that, and now I had this addiction problem. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Christian Science that I found freedom.

That freedom came naturally as I learned more about God and my relation to Him – things that were pretty amazing. The most revelatory idea to me was that as the child of God, my identity was completely spiritual, made in His image and likeness, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis.

At the time, I wasn’t really thinking that what I was learning would heal the desire to get high. I just knew I was glimpsing a deeper and truer sense of reality, of our dominion over unhelpful influences, than what I had known previously. But it did heal me; the addiction just fell away within a month or so.

What had happened? As I read the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy, I was discovering my true, spiritual identity. I learned not to think of myself as a mortal with all these problems. Suddenly the limitations and hopelessness I had been feeling so hemmed in by just dissolved.

Christian Science had opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities of good, which I hadn’t been able to see from my previous limited perspective of looking to matter as the source of my being and satisfaction. I became comfortable with myself, and suddenly there was hope on the horizon. In the years since this healing, I have remained completely free from any desire to use drugs of any kind and have had a fulfilling career.

Our bodies cannot tell us what is true about God’s spiritual creation, which includes each of us. As the offspring of the all-powerful God, we reflect the strength of God. The shackles of addiction, not being from God, good, have no claim on any of us. And there are no unwanted children in God, divine Love. Each and every individual is worthy of His care and has an inherent purpose and opportunity: to express God.

Acknowledging these spiritual facts is a powerful counter to a sense of hopelessness or being stuck. And we naturally start to feel the infinite promise of divine Love and to see that we have no need to depend on matter for satisfaction and pleasure.

I have found this statement in Science and Health very helpful: “Reform comes by understanding that there is no abiding pleasure in evil, and also by gaining an affection for good according to Science, which reveals the immortal fact that neither pleasure nor pain, appetite nor passion, can exist in or of matter, while divine Mind can and does destroy the false beliefs of pleasure, pain, or fear and all the sinful appetites of the human mind” (p. 327). This passage has helped me see that pain, cravings, fears, and matter-based pleasures have no real hold on us because they are not of God, the one divine Mind.

Everyone is entitled to feel the joy and freedom that isn’t a temporary euphoric state of the human mind; real joy and freedom come from a deep and steady spiritual sense of satisfaction whose source is infinite Love.

When we pray about these things, affirming the spiritual facts about God’s creation, we’re counteracting the belief that we are helpless, hopeless mortals and that true satisfaction is elusive and temporary. This elevates the thought of humanity. We may not always see immediate change, but I know that the recognition of my spiritual identity lifted me out of substance abuse. This encourages me to expect that affirming these ideas with a genuine love for others must inevitably have a similar redeeming effect.

Adapted from an article published in the April 4, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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