A Christian Science perspective: How a journey of spiritual discovery led this writer to freedom from addiction to cigarettes.
Recently, The Christian Science Monitor reported that the problem of heroin addiction has skyrocketed in the past several years among young people (see "Why heroin is spreading in American suburbs," March 23). For me, that news was a wake-up call to pray for a solution. I found a starting point in my prayer with an idea that came to me when, many years ago now, I needed freedom from addiction to cigarette smoking.
I had been addicted for years. When the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, was introduced to me, I found it helped me understand the concept of prayer that heals in the way Christ Jesus healed. One cold, dark night during that time, I awoke abruptly at about midnight with a sudden urge to get up and smoke a cigarette. My immediate thought was, “What can force me to put my feet on a cold floor, sit in the dark all by myself, and smoke? What does that book tell me?”
Gratefully, I knew that Science and Health is based on the Bible and its message of inspiration, hope, and healing. Suddenly I remembered the statement in the Bible that dominion, or spiritual strength, was given by God to man, not to an addiction (see Genesis 1:27, 28). “Well, isn’t that nice!” I thought. I turned over, fell into a peaceful sleep, and never smoked again, nor wanted to. The healing was permanent.
What happened? How could freedom from addiction take place so quickly and effortlessly? The fact is it may have been quick, but it wasn’t effortless at all. I was working hard to understand concepts of spiritual power presented by the Bible and Science and Health. Those two books were feeding me with such spiritual inspiration that I couldn’t get enough. I studied diligently. I asked questions and found answers in those books. I was gaining a practical education of spiritual ideas, and sometimes it wasn’t easy. But it was always simple. The adventure of self-knowledge, or understanding man’s relationship to God as His beloved and protected image and likeness, is the coming of the Christ. Although I was working hard at understanding that concept, which was so new to me, I felt no condemnation, only a sense of God’s unconditional love.
The more spiritual education I gained, the less cigarettes attracted me. I learned, and continue to learn, that as we gain deeper understanding of the great goodness and power of God, divine Love, old habits must fall away. Slave-like thinking cannot occupy thought filled with fresh, new, God-given ideas. The more we move forward spiritually to the freedom divine Mind provides, the more we leave enslavement behind.
Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Every step of progress is a step more spiritual” (“The People’s Idea of God,” p. 1). Those steps may require work, but they lead to the dawning of the Christ in individual thought. We gain mental emancipation. The slavery of addiction is left behind.