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National Recovery Month: Hugs Not Drugs

National Recovery Month: Hugs Not Drugs

Jackie's son is battling to win a war with illicit drugs. On the final day of August, she joined a community of supporters as they took the Walk for Recovery on International Overdose Awareness Day. Her daughter, Sherry and husband Randy have lived out the terror and anguish of this war too. It's about saving the life of someone they love.

Standing with them in the photo are their friends, Toby and Linda. They know their pain intimately, because their son is a recovered addict. He now supervises a recovery home for men.

As they talk about the sons they love, you can see a mixture of hope and sorrow—of lost years, but thankfully not lost lives. They've balanced their love with forceful demands for treatment.

The road to recovery isn't straight for drug addicts, because each addict must battle the allure of the drug-infested detours along the way. Life isn't easy, and drugs have become the escape.

That's why when recovering addicts share their stories, they usually know exactly how many days they've been clean. Every day without the use of drugs is a win.

September is National Recovery Month. Meet my friend Greg, who at his worst smoked 2 grams of heroin a day. He's victorious in the addiction battle, and enjoys college calculus, working to support himself, and living a clean life. Recovery begins with detox. Greg shares, "The worst part is fear. To be so afraid you think you are going to die, and that all the symptoms will never end and continue to worsen." He likens detox to walking through a fire and living.

Greg says, "I owe my life to my parents for 100 reasons. My love for myself wasn't strong enough, but they were enough. It was so painful. It still is. My heart goes out to anyone who has been stricken by this affliction."

For any recovering addict, Greg offers this encouragement: I am stronger now than ever before in my life because of the fire. I love myself and have more love for my life than ever.

I noticed the love among those taking the Walk for Recovery. Lots of hugs and hope. It takes love to help those we love. It also takes a fire to get them through addiction. But after the fire, we can be the love the helps those wounds heal.