I talked to Jeff Rice recently, and he shared with me his story of addiction and finding his way out. He told me, “My life was a shipwreck waiting to happen. I used to walk around with a lot of fear and anger. I turned to drugs to feel good. I started with marijuana, and that quickly escalated into harder drugs.”
Rice was eventually addicted to crack cocaine, which he used for many years. Finally, at a point of desperation, he broke down and prayed, “If there is a God, please help me!” Not long after that, he was arrested. Rice reasoned that jail was a good place – actually keeping him safe from further drug abuse.
He told me, “I realized I needed to either live from a more spiritual basis or die from drug addiction.”
His time in jail gave him the opportunity to reevaluate his life.
“One day, after released from jail,” he continued, “I went into an automotive store and noticed some socket wrenches. In the past, I had used [stolen] socket wrenches as drug paraphernalia and had shoplifted a bunch of those from the store. The memory of using them that way brought back to me the craving for drugs. But then I thought that I should pay for the sockets I stole, and in spite of the fear of possible consequences, I did just that. I’ve never had a drug craving since then.”
There was a change in Jeff’s perception of himself – he began asking himself the question, “Isn’t there more to me than drugs?”
He told me, “My life was changing. One day I received a book that belonged to my grandmother, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. There is a sentence in that book that resonated with me, ‘The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer.’ That confirmed everything I was doing – my efforts to change my ways.”
This is an important idea: to separate who you really are from the behavior and then identify the goodness that is you – your spiritual identity. There is more to us than habit or physicality. There is a spiritual identity. Inherent in each of us are all sorts of good qualities that actually define who we are.
Finding this identity and living from that basis is vital to success in finding mental and physical health.