To the Editor:
We have a drug epidemic in our community, and it isn’t going to get better by ostracizing those in recovery. People with drug addictions already are your neighbors in this community; you just don’t see them. Maybe we should try embracing a sober lifestyle and encourage them by inviting somebody over for a sober evening. Can you do that? Try encouragement instead of discouragement? We got here in our community by secrecy, and we can’t get better without supporting one another. How would you feel if you tried to overcome a problem and people didn’t want you in “their” neighborhood? The stigma surrounding drug abuse has to end, and punishing people by ostracizing them sends a pretty negative message. Sometimes, getting to know people who we were not expecting to encounter turns out to be life-changing in a positive way for everybody. I would hope extending in this way could become our new conversation on both sides.
I can’t remember ever regretting encouragement and propose that this should be our new norm.