Monday, August 07, 2006

More on the drinking thing

In thinking through further the discussion from last week, about whether drinking changes you or reveals who you really are, reading two more articles on CNN were illuminating. The actor's friends, some of them Jewish, are insistent that it was the "disease" talking. And the arresting deputy, himself Jewish, is sure "that stuff is the booze talking."

I'm becoming more and more convinced that these external substances are just a bad idea all around. There's nothing redeeming about them.

I'm reminded of Mary Baker Eddy's comment, "Strong drink is unquestionably an evil, and evil cannot be used temperately: its slightest use is abuse; hence the only temperance is total abstinence" (her Miscellaneous Writings).

I used to think she was reflecting some Victorian more of her day, that she had just led a sheltered Puritanical life and therefore labeled everything outside it as evil. But then I read in Gillian Gill's most excellent biography that Eddy had to deal with alcoholism in her own family, with both a brother and a brother-in-law. She saw the misery alcohol caused first hand. Her conclusions, then, were not some teetotalling prissiness, but actually based on observation.

In my own life, too, I've seen just too much of it. Not so much the extremes of the being out of control, but the minor shifts that take place when you get even a little of this stuff into your system. I grieve when someone I love or respect allows their true nature to be muddied over with something so useless and wasteful. On occasion, in my naiveté I've been on the receiving end of some supposedly positive character changes and thought they were really how the person felt about me, only to find later that whatever intensified affection they'd shown was the chemical talking.

Joy, love, enthusiasm, happiness, relaxation, buoyancy, wit, freedom—these are spiritual qualities. They cannot be acquired by a chemical. Our yearning for these qualities is natural, but turning to a chemical to find them is a dead-end. These qualities, which we all deserve, are sourced in Spirit, and it's only through Spirit that they can be found.

The irony is the actor in question has an active spiritual life. He's well known for being devoted to his religion, and he recently gave us one of the most compelling depictions of Christ Jesus ever committed to film. I believe *that* is who he really is. The one thing he could do to make a difference is perhaps to talk to the millions who admire him about the dangers of substance abuse. How it makes you do things you wouldn't ever do. How it makes you feel things about yourself that are untrue. How it makes you have to pay for actions done "under the influence" that were never really you.

Today, to fight the evil of substance abuse, I'm going myself to look to Spirit for all that I need. And make myself available to share what I've learned with anyone who asks. And to commit to seeing the real person, even if they don't see it themselves.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/07/2006 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on, Laura! You cover the ground very well.
In my own life, despite a religious upbringing and a spiritual tilt, I got into alcohol seriously at one spot of my life and it took getting into Christian Science to help me understand my way out of it. Still a weakness, though; occasionally I've succumbed to having a drink of wine and immediately feel the changes it makes in my personality...and the mistakes it inevitably leads me into. --ObiDon

At 8/07/2006 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

This came in over email:

What perfect timing!! I was just dealing with this yesterday. I was having a very stressful day and my husband brought home some beer. I thought what will one beer hurt-- today has been so crazy- what is wrong with it anyway? Then I thought nope I am not going to give into one evil thought (the stress of life) with another (the beer) So I started working on the idea that I already had everything I needed for every situation. ANd God knew everything that I needed and was supplying that at every moment. That is much more than what a drink can give, with a drink you just end up thinking that you need more -never satisfied.


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