Welcome to the Month of Honor 171 – on Addictions!
In this Issue
Howard Colby Ives on Smoking
I remember as though it were yesterday another illustration of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s divine technique. I was not at all well that summer. A relapse was threatening a return of a condition which had necessitated a major operation the year before. My nervous condition made me consider breaking the habit of smoking which had been with me all my adult life. I had always prided myself on the ability to break the habit at any time. In fact I had several times cut off the use of tobacco for a period of many months. But this time to my surprise and chagrin I found my nerves and will in such a condition that after two or three days the craving became too much for me. Finally it occurred to me to ask the assistance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I had read His beautiful Tablet beginning: “0 ye pure friends of God!” in which He glorified personal cleanliness and urged the avoidance of anything tending towards habits of self-indulgence. “Surely,” I said to myself, “He will tell me how to overcome this habit.”
So, when I next saw Him I told Him all about it. It was like a child confessing to His mother, and my voice trailed away to embarrassed silence after only the fewest of words. But He understood, indeed much better than I did. Again I was conscious of an embracing, understanding love as He regarded me. After a moment He asked quietly, how much I smoked. I told him. He said He did not think that would hurt me, that the
men in the Orient smoked all the time, that their hair and beards and clothing became saturated, and often very offensive. But that I did not do this, and at my age and having been accustomed to it for so many years He did not think that I should let it trouble me at all. His gentle eyes and smile seemed to hold a twinkle that recalled my impression of His enjoyment of a divine joke.
I was somewhat overwhelmed. Not a dissertation on the evils of habit; not an explanation of the bad effects on health; not a summoning of my will power to overcome desire, rather a Charter of Freedom did He present to me. I did not understand but it was a great relief for somehow I knew that this was wise advice. So immediately that inner conflict was stilled and I enjoyed my smoke with no smitings of conscience. But two days after this conversation I found the desire for tobacco had entirely left me and I did not smoke again for seven years. (Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 45)
O Divine Providence! Bestow Thou in all things purity and cleanliness upon the people of Bahá. Grant that they be freed from all defilement, and released from all addictions. Save them from committing any repugnant act, unbind them from the chains of every evil habit, that they may live pure and free, wholesome and cleanly, worthy to serve at Thy Sacred Threshold and fit to be related to their Lord. Deliver them from intoxicating drinks and tobacco, save them, rescue them, from this opium that bringeth on madness, suffer them to enjoy the sweet savours of holiness, that they may drink deep of the mystic cup of heavenly love and know the rapture of being drawn ever closer unto the Realm of the All-Glorious. For it is even as Thou hast said: ‘All that thou hast in thy cellar will not appease the thirst of my love—bring me, O cup-bearer, of the wine of the spirit a cup full as the sea! (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 149-150)
O my Glorious Lord! Help me to refrain from every irregular inclination; to subdue every rebelious passion; to purify the motives of my conduct; to conform myself to that meekness which no provocation can ruffle; to that patience which no affliction can overwhelm; to that integrity which no self-interest can shake; that I may be qualified to serve Thee and to teach Thy Word. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, English Sources and Authenticity of Fifteen Prayers in the Dutch Prayer Book, Bahá’í Gebeden by Universal House of Justice 2001-10-22)
Alcohol and Drug Abuse: A Psychosocial and Spiritual Approach by Dr. A. M. Ghadirian is an updated take on spirituality and addiction which builds on Dr Ghadirian’s earlier book, In Search of Nirvana. While the former focused more on prevention, and especially dealing with youth, this book offers hope for recovery for people of all ages. It has become a foundational book for anyone looking for a spiritual approach to contribute to long-term sobriety! This book looks at extensive research on the issue in the last twenty years. It focuses on primary prevention and explores the roles and responsibilities of individuals, families and society in addressing the worldwide crisis in drug abuse. Both prevention and recovery have profoundly spiritual dimensions, and Dr Ghadirian explores both of these in the light of the Bahá’í teachings.
This month’s 3-minute video, from the Baha’i National Centre of the United States, features the story of Mercy. Battling addiction and apathy, he wasn’t sure where his life was headed until he realized there were people in the world who were worse off than he was.
Michelle Koay is an engineer and counsellor who works with men in the military (dealing with anxiety, struggling with interpersonal difficulties and various forms of addiction); young girls (enabling them to perform academically, excel in their talents, develop their character and help them shape their identity and vision for their future); and men and women dealing with issues of career and spousal relationships. She likes to work with clients using emotion-focused, experiential and expressive approaches.
Dr. Gail Lash is the brainchild behind Peace Brain, an organization that works with individuals, groups and institutions to help turn on their brains to peace. She helps you find your true self – your talents, your playfulness, your inner knowing, so that you can learn to walk, talk, think, and act in peace. Her training creates a peaceful sanctuary in your mind and heart, and a peaceful world around you – no matter what the circumstances.
Our Readers Write
Thank you Susan !!! I love your newsletter,, thank you so much for them , such a lot of wonderful collation of the writings in so many areas; it’s a wonderful service for us all , thank you again. (Rashmi Patel)
I am very grateful to be included in your communication o regular basis. I like your systematic approach. (Carla Thompkins)
Susan, FYI, the “Do Baha’is Celebrate Christmas” by Motherhood and More http://www.motherhoodandmore.com/2012/12/do-bahais-celebrate-christmas.html link was used twice, replacing the “Baha’i Blog” one at the top. Thanks! Kerry Echols
Thanks Rashmi and Carla for the notes of encouragement! And thanks to Kerry for catching the error! I need a secretary! 🙂