By Valerie Minard
When 13 year-old Susan was found staggering around the family barn, sick to her stomach, she counted the night of consuming alcohol as a victory rather than an embarrassment. Typically a shy teen, the alcohol had removed her inhibitions and she had become witty and outgoing. But that one night not only marked her introduction to alcohol, but also led to her dependence on it. By her early 20’s she was drinking regularly at lunch time just to get through the work day.
A so-called “high functioning alcoholic”, it took Susan nearly 20 years to realize how it was affecting her — a fight with her husband, a quarrel with her sister, and harsh words with a friend. She wondered what was happening to her and what her purpose was in life.
Susan’s story isn’t unusual. Over 17 million Americans abuse or depend on alcohol. Millennials, those people born between the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, account for 53% of the alcoholics in the US with 12% of that group labeled as binge drinkers.
As sobering as these statistics are, some fear these numbers are about to increase due to the introduction of “Palcohol” — a powdered form of alcohol that has recently been approved for sale in the US. It has the potential of greater misuse as it is easy to hide and consume in places where drinking is prohibited; making it easier for underage drinkers to abuse.
Whether these addiction rates will rise or not is unclear. But, with or without an increase, there remains a serious demand for freedom for 53% of the population. That’s what Susan wanted. When she finally recognized her problem, she could have chosen any one of a number of methods to come clean— join a support group, take meds, or participate in a 12 step or detox program. These approaches have helped millions. Yet, many of them offer only a way to cope or manage addiction to avoid relapse. Total freedom remains elusive.
Susan says she was looking for thorough transformation and permanent relief. Although not religious, when she reached her lowest point she said, “If there is a God, show yourself to me. Because there must be something better to life than what I’m experiencing.”
About that time, a friend, out of the blue, gave her a book that helped her gain a new view of God. Instead of envisioning some old guy in heaven taking notes he’ll use to punish her, she began to see God more like a loving Father and Mother. “He was actually expressing Himself as me,” she said. “ I realized: Wow, I’m the very image and likeness of Love. And I felt that connection.”
As Susan continued exploring more spiritual perspectives she was discovering that her joy and self-confidence didn’t come from alcohol. “God was the source of my self-worth and self-esteem, not some beverage,” she said. I was longing to identify myself differently, looking for a sense of goodness and holiness to counteract the way I felt.” The book her friend gave her, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, gave her new insight and appreciation of the Bible. Through this study, she said she found “A whole new me.”
Eventually, the cravings for alcohol and drugs left. Her life began to change. Her relationships became more secure, grounded on a deeper foundation. She began to think more about giving rather than consuming and her life took on new meaning.
If you are a Millennial struggling with drinking, you are not alone. As Susan experienced, full transformation can come with a change of perspective. A spiritual viewpoint can break the chains of addiction, give meaning to life, and bring freedom!
Valerie writes regularly on the connection between consciousness, spirituality, and health. She is a Christian Science practitioner and the spokesperson for Christian Science in New Jersey. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @valerieminard.