Drug addiction is everyone’s problem

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When I asked Melissa Thompson to sit down with me and tell her story of recovery, I knew it was going to be a tough one.

Melissa and I are close in age -- she is just a few years younger than I am. We played sports together in school and had seen each other around over the years. I knew she had two children, but until recently, I hadn’t seen her in awhile.

She came to a substance abuse council meeting in October and introduced herself as a recovering drug addict and her story touched my heart. I knew if I could get her to talk to me, that her story could touch the hearts of others, too.

I sent her a message on Facebook and asked if she’d tell her story through me for our readers. I had no idea what her answer would be, but just a few minutes later, she sent a response that was just one word “yes.”

We set up a time to meet and talked for two hours about her journey and struggle with drugs.

I’ve never been a drug addict, so while I could not personally relate to some of the things she was telling me, I could feel her pain as a daughter and as a mother.

That’s the thing. So many of us non-users think people who are addicted to drugs are nothing like us. But they are. We have something in common with all of them, we’ve just made different decisions in our lives.

This drug problem is OUR problem. Not just the users, but everyone in this community and we need to work together to find a way to help the situation. Not to point fingers, not to think we have all the answers and certainly not to believe there is a quick and easy fix.

To me, Melissa’s story speaks volumes. There are so many people in this community that are just like her. They want a way out and they don’t know how to stop. And once they detox, they need help in staying clean. They need encouragement, a place to go, people to talk to. They need friends -- good friends, clean friends and non-judgemental friends.

I pray that Melissa’s story has changed someone’s life and that her story -- the honesty, the ups and the downs, will continue to show people that there is hope. Recovery is possible.

After I posted a link to Melissa’s story on our Facebook page, someone commented with helpful information for people who are facing the same struggles or know people who are.

They said, “Lifesprings offers outpatient services and has offices in other neighboring counties that offer more intensive services. Also, Hoosier Hills Pact offers outpatient treatment services, as well as a Community Transition Program to assist offenders transitioning out of prison. There are multiple AA and NA meetings in Salem throughout the week. A weekly support group is also available at Pact on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m.”

If you are someone who could benefit, please call Lifespring or Hoosier Hills PACT and see how their services can help you.

Melissa, keep on, keeping on. Thank you for sharing your story with your home town. I’m proud of you and wish you nothing but the best in this life.

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