“I always had a cigarette in my mouth. The first thing I did in the morning was light up.”
Bob was addicted to smoking. He was a “four packs a day” man. He knew his habit could destroy his health but that didn’t seem to make any difference.
“I was having difficulty breathing. I would run out of breath just walking up stairs,” he recently recalled.
This all changed after Bob talked with a friend of his family. The friend was a Christian Science practitioner, someone who prays with others to accomplish healing.
Bob said, “The Christian Science practitioner explained to me that God is my Father-Mother and that He is only good; and that God created me in His image and likeness and that this likeness was spiritual, now and always.”
The words made sense to Bob. The practitioner then gave him Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and he began to read it. The book is based on the Bible. Its author, Mary Baker Eddy, explains how the healing works accomplished by Jesus were not just past marvels but point to the present possibility of healing and helping ourselves and others.
While freedom didn’t come overnight for Bob, a few months after first speaking with the practitioner he finally found himself to be a “no packs a day” man. But more than just getting out of the habit of lighting up, Bob no longer even had the desire to smoke. It just fell away. Now, years later, Bob’s professional life is devoted to helping others overcome their fears, pains, and addictions as a Christian Science practitioner.
The list of addictions plaguing mankind is long. Alcohol, gambling, illegal and prescription drugs, and pornography are just part of the inventory. Each causes havoc on the lives of the addicted and those close to them. Because of this, it's important to conquer addiction with urgency. Neglecting a need is not an option.
Many others have learned the lesson that Bob learned - that a growing spiritual understanding could beat a seemingly tenacious addiction. One man, for instance, found freedom from an addiction to Internet pornography. In describing his spiritual journey of healing, he pinpointed what he felt were three particularly important aspects en route to finding his freedom.
First, he wrote: “I saw that the addiction was actually unnatural... not part of my true spiritual being. ...acquiescing to the addiction had deadened my spiritual perception, limited my ability to express affection and other Godlike qualities, and curtailed much of what was good in my experience.”
Second: “[I] simply [had] to stop doing the things that …were being revealed to me as clearly wrong—as the total opposite of spiritual good. ...The pull of online pornography was magnetic and overwhelming at times. But as I progressed spiritually, I became more aware of the authority I had from God to stop acting in such an immoral and demeaning way and instead to live my life with dignity and love.”
Third: “I recognized that if I ever stopped forgiving myself for making mistakes, then I would be inviting an endless cycle of guilt, resentment, and self-hatred to play out in my thinking and my life.”
This man learned he had to keep loving himself as God loved him. As he did, he began to understand that he could never be separate from God’s love and, therefore, was able to rise above anger and self-loathing, and he found his freedom.
Despite the perceived attraction of whatever we might seem to be addicted to, divinity alone provides the foundation for a spiritually fulfilled and deeply satisfying life experience. Because we are actually spiritual beings, God is not just a substitute for the habit we believe can fill the hole in our lives. God is the very source of everything we truly need for life, health, and joy.
An understanding that addictions are unnatural for God’s spiritual man and woman frees us to utilize our divine authority. Exercising this authority enables us to stop participating in self-destructive acts and to find and love what God has made us to be.
If you are wrestling with addiction, you, too, can find help, not just for coping, but for healing.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com