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Seeking answers to addiction

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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The number of afflicted is staggering. An estimated 20 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. Millions more are addicted to overeating, sex, and gambling. The price – when you total in lost wages, the costs to public healthcare and the criminal justice system – is an even more staggering $524 billion for a single year.

Last month MIT hosted a small, invitation-only conference for professionals addressing addiction-related issues. The focus was on drugs now in development that, some experts hope, will be the solution for people addicted to other drugs. Not all experts feel that's the best direction to take. Both perspectives found room in Sunday's The New York Times Magazine.

To its credit, the magazine gives more than a token nod toward treatments that must seem downright quaint to the neuroscientists and clinicians at the conference who are in pursuit of an anti-addiction pill.

The fact is, it's not time to write off treatments that incorporate reliance on a higher power, or that are drug-free. For instance, the president of the Betty Ford Center, John Schwarzlose, says, "Nothing even comes close [to 12-step treatment]. And until something does, we like to try to keep most of our patients as drug-free as possible."

Beyond the scope of the conference are the spiritual resources so powerfully illustrated in the healing ministry of Christ Jesus. There, the themes of freedom, escape from bondage, and deliverance from a host of shackles through the power of the Almighty, are on display as neither quaint nor mythical but practical and repeatable.

The bondage of addiction is no match to the liberating power of Christ.

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