Addiction is a horrible thing. It robs you of your most valuable asset: your soul. Rockaway goes through spurts of having to deal with this problem, and the problem takes many forms. Sometimes people don’t like to talk about it because of shame or fear, but if not dealt with, it can destroy lives. I am a big believer that it’s ok, no actually necessary, to talk about.
There are many programs around to help deal with the issue, some work, some no matter how good the intention, never take hold. I am no expert on this topic, but I know enough to be thankful. I have seen members of my family and extended family deal with the issue; some successfully and some not. Sometimes it’s accompanied with some form of mental illness. These situations are especially hard.
The only way to deal with all of this is with love and education. Being educated about the condition and the many resources available can make a difference. In addition, the earlier identified and dealt with the better. Some kids are just different, and that’s ok. But they need love and direction. Not everyone fits into a nice mold, some literally move to the beat of a different drummer. Those differences make life worth living, but the differences hopefully can be channeled into positive, life affirming work, not the dark business of addiction.
For parents and siblings, it can be really hard. There are support groups, and I think professional help is really the only way to go sometimes. We are very lucky in Rockaway that most residents know each other and look out for each other. Gentle directional help pushes kids along their way, even when they seem to be straying off the path. We are equally blessed to have people in our midst who have gone through hell and want to give back to help others through the process. There are so many fine organizations that provide places for kids to be creative, athletic or just spend time doing something fun. All the basketball leagues, Little League baseball games, and programs that keep kids focused. Places like the Rockaway Artist Alliance (RAA) provide wonderfully creative outlets for kids to have fun and to explore the arts.
The thing that makes us who we are is very deep inside of us. Yes, there is DNA mixed in, and friends and family play a huge role, but there is something that is injected into our cosmic life that defines us: our soul. Addiction is insidious because it robs us from that very essence. And sometimes the theft is complete, robbing the very life from an individual, depriving the family and the world from knowing that beautiful glittering thing that is a person.
So, I realize this is a bit heavy for a late summer article, but there is no better time of year than to hug your kids, your spouse, your family and friends, and tell them that you love them. They have given you the greatest gift of all, they have shared their soul with us all. And we are all wealthier because of it. RIP K.R.H. You were loved.