It Takes A Village

Michelle Overstreet & Mark Weaver

Michelle Overstreet & Mark Weaver

Contributed by Mark Weaver

Dear Naysayers,

Every time our local media releases a story about some of the hard fought changes in our state to become a recovery-ready community, you merely have to click on the comment section of the story to see the hate flowing like the urinals at Koots on Saturday nights. I swear that I could play a game that I call "Catchphrase Bingo" and win most of the time, with the statements that I hear (or read) on a regular basis. 

Here is a list of some of the usual suspects and my first thought reactions to them:

•    "You can't help somebody that doesn't want help." ~ People ask me for help daily. 
•    "It's their choice." ~ I have yet to meet an addict that wants to be addicted to anything.
•    "Why are we 'wasting' money on this?" ~ It's an investment to break the cycle. 
•    "Thin the herd." ~ Let's start with the @$$#*!€$ first then.
•    "Kill all of the drug dealers." ~ So we should kill doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacist too?
•    "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes." ~ You win.
•    "Darwin Theory - Survival of the fittest." ~ My recovery community is not only surviving, it's thriving.
•    "Let the junkies kill themselves off." ~ And do the same for smokers and the obese?
•    "You're just enabling them." ~ Let's enable people to get better.
•    "It's not my problem." ~ You are already paying for it whether you realize it or not, it's all of our problem.
•    "They need tough love." ~ If punishment cured addiction, the war on drugs would have ended many, many years ago.
•    "It's not a disease." ~ US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says that it is.

Drugs do not discriminate. They don't care if you live on the Anchorage hillside or in the Valley. They don't care about ethnicity, how pretty you are, how funny you are, how smart you are or how athletically gifted you are. Just because you have yet to be directly affected by this growing epidemic doesn't mean that it won't happen. 

If/when it does, I won't judge you like the handful of keyboard warriors that I see so often on social media. I will absolutely help you to the best of my ability, to find the solutions that you are seeking by using the limited resources that we have available now until we develop more in the not-so-distant future.

The enemy wants to keep us isolated and stuck in our addictions. The most effective way that I've seen to combat that is through community.

Too many people that struggle have bought the lie that, "This is my problem, I need to fix it all by myself." As a person and long-term recovery, I can say this with certainty, “No one becomes an addict all by themselves. Each of us had people show us where to score, how to use, what a "good deal" is, how to supply our own habit, we also had enablers along the way.” 

Why should recovery be different? It takes a village! Let's build that village together. 

Some of the most proactive people that I know in fighting addiction and criminal recidivism didn't go to traditional schools, they graduated from "street college". These people are seasoned veterans that can sniff out BS like nobody else. "Those that are closest to the problem are the closest to the solution." 

Many of us firmly believe that if we reduce the demand for drugs, then the supply will stop coming into our state and crime will thereby decline. Please don't underestimate us, we are going to continue building our recovery-ready community with or without you. But it will take less time with some cooperation and even some help along the way. 

To those that have read this all the way to this line, thank you and God bless you for caring enough to do so. Keep fighting the good fight!

Mark Weaver
VP of Fallen Up Ministries
Board Member of R.E.A.L. About Addiction
Member of the MatSu Opioid Task Force
Member of the Anchorage Opioid Task Force (starting 4/11/2017)