Out of the wilderness
ABOUT eight years ago I found myself wrestling with alcohol and drugs. Daily consumption seemed to ease my tensions and make a difficult world easier to bear. But when I ``came down,'' I always felt stranded in an abyss of loneliness and depression. I was at a crossroad. I knew that at the rate I was using these drugs I would either plunge deep into dependency or I would have to get off them completely. In this time of need I did something I hadn't done since I was a teen-ager. I asked God for help.
Not long afterward I traveled home to be with my family for Christmas, bringing with me plenty of hard drugs to carry me through the holidays. But the vacation took an interesting turn. I met a musician who had been healed of years of drug abuse through his study of Christian Science.
After spending New Year's Eve unconscious in my parked car, I called him for help. He talked with me about Christian Science and how it had helped him grasp his true spiritual nature. He told me that I, too, was a child of a God who cared deeply for me. He explained that I didn't need drugs to be at peace in the world and that I didn't have to be a slave to this habit. What I needed was a better understanding of my true being.
Though I understood little of what he said at the time, his words seemed to pierce through and awaken something within me. And for the first time I began to grasp this promise of Christ Jesus: ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.''1 What was true about me was really what I'd been searching for all along, even while under the influence of drugs.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, includes this spiritual definition of wilderness in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Loneliness; doubt; darkness. Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.''2 I had experienced the first part of this definition. Now spiritual sense was beginning to unfold the reality of my identity as God's offspring, dependent solely on Him, governed wisely and lovingly by Him. Bondage to material dependencies was disappearing while a sense of spiritual freedom was appearing. This was my wilderness experience.
I began studying the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, and that same day carried a cache of drugs to a bridge and tossed them over.
The change that followed was slow, and sometimes difficult. There were many temptations to return to my former life style. Sometimes I had to wrestle with feelings of boredom and loneliness. But I clung to a passage from Science and Health that gave me strength and that finally broke the spell of these suggestions: ``It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion.''3
To me this meant that there was something more powerful than all of these screaming temptations and that I could depend on God to give me the strength to overcome them.
Today I am peaceful, secure, and productive. I have a way of praying and working for a world that, years ago, overwhelmed me with its bleak prospects. I can now help others struggling with problems similar to those I once faced. And my family is amazed at the change I've undergone.
My newly discovered relationship with God is more satisfying than any drug experience I ever had. I'm moving forward on a spiritual journey, full of joy and elevating experiences, so I didn't lose anything by giving up drugs.
1John 8:32. 2Science and Health, p. 597. 3Ibid., p. 97. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I waited patiently for the Lord . . . He brought me up . . . out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.