Little Zombie Town
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words drug addiction?
Perhaps a feeling was just provoked rather than a conscience thought. Maybe the words triggered anger. Or perhaps a sharp pain surfaced as those words have caused endless amounts of devastation to you personally. Maybe among the words that rose to the forefront of your mind were “lost”, “hopeless”, “thief”, “friend” “mother”, etc.
I don’t need to tell you about the drug problem in our city and surrounding counties. I don't need to persuade you that this is an important issue because you already know. You feel it. You fear it. You're affected by it. The epidemic has garnished us national attention when Investigation Discovery aired the Documentary, The Vanishing Women in 2016 that explored our city’s drug problem after six women in our community came up missing in the period of one year. For such a small town, those statistics are staggering.
Prostitution, crime, poverty, orphans; a short list of the problems that lie in the wake of our community’s drug epidemic.
I can’t turn a full circle in my daily routine without landing my eyes on someone personally devastated or closely affected by drugs. My husband, who is a police officer on the night shift, arguably sees the worst of it.
A few summers ago, a man pulled a knife on my then five-year-old son at my kids' favorite park. I’ve found needles on the ground where the kids play. When we bought our new property, within a week, empty prescription pill bottles were littered onto our new driveway. We've had our car broken into, and money stolen from our home. We adopted our dog, Winston after a drug bust left him owner-less.
Heart wrenching are the stories I could tell about my city.
Drug addiction is a difficult problem to address, to gather supporters. What other humanitarian cause are the victims also the perpetrators? In my own experience, I have to admit my patience has grown wearily thin, my personal resources depleted, my compassion hanging on by a thread at times.
So many more people are affected by this than just the addict. Like the baby who is left alone at night while the mother sneaks out to find her next fix. Or the mother and father who put their children in God’s hands night after night because they haven't seen their adult children in months, or know their whereabouts. I can’t imagine that level of anxiety but I know too many parents in that very situation.
The aftermath of addiction is insatiable. It is not content to swallow the addict whole. But it plows through families, schools, communities, inflicting it's irreversible damage.
Yet out of the ruins, in recent months, I have sensed an overwhelming sense of new hope. For over a year I've been harboring an idea to combat this atrocity. This past week, something incredible happened. I spoke it out loud.
I told one person my idea. Then I told another person. Today I told one more. Since it took me a whole year to muster the courage to speak the idea out loud, I decided to write today's post as a way of burning bridges. If I tell enough people, I will no longer have the option of not moving forward.
This is my town. This is my watch. I can no longer do nothing.
After meeting with an intervention specialist this week, it is starting to feel like more of a reality than just a passing thought. A few months ago I had a surge of new hope for our city and surrounding counties. And it came courtesy of my five year old son watching Lord of the Rings.
We were curled up on the couch watching Return of the King. In the Battle of Pellanor fields, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were gearing up for war where they were being mightily overtaken by Orcs.
On the eve of battle, Aragorn learns that in a nearby cave abides an Army of the Dead. Also called Oathbreakers, their restless souls inhabit the mountain because they were disloyal in life. Bound to the mountain, they will answer only to the heir of Isildur.
Aragorn rides off into the mountain with his faithful stalwarts Legolas and Gimli. No one had ever before returned from the mountain. But Aragorn knew there was hope for the Dead Army to redeem their treacherous lives. He extends an offer to them to come with them and fight.
Gimli says, “You waste your time, Aragorn! They had no honor in life, they have none now in death.”
But Aragorn knows they will answer to the king.
Hundreds, thousands of able-bodied people could easily join the fight, they could easily overtake the Orcs if they joined together with men. But they were stuck in between realities.
I thought of how the enemy has done this to us in real life. Drug addiction disrupts and paralyzes progressive, healthy lives. So many people are bound by them. Moving from one fix to the next, addiction renders souls to a Zombie- like state those who would other wise be such an asset to our planet.
According to drug free.org "23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to the entire population of Texas."*
What talents, I wonder, would they bring to our world? What inventions would they come up with? How many children would be safe and cozy at home right now instead of bumping around from foster home to foster home? What books would be written? What humanitarian crisis would be solved?
We have lost a whole chunk of our humanity to this sleeping army. The grip of drugs has paralyzed an entire people group from contributing things this world desperately needs.
"For in our plans, the living cannot defend Minas Tirith without the fury of those long dead."
Those of you struggling with sobriety; we need you!
When you are lost, we are lost.
Parents, families who have feared the worst for your loved ones, defeated by the idea that we have given up on them; a new hope is rising up.
Oh, sleeping army, please hope with me. Come and fight.
I'm assembling a small team with the purpose of building a new organization to combat what might be the #1 challenge in our community. Interested in helping out or receiving more info? Please follow the blog, send me a message or comment below.
Details to be released soon.
"The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37: 1-6 NIV
~Stay in Touch,
Shauna, along with her husband Micah and their three boys live on Ohio farm land where they are building a home from shipping containers. Shauna blogs about minimalistic living, family and spiritual life. Her first book, A Fierce Love releases June 2017. Join her email list to join their adventures!
*Photo courtesy by Matt Day