Let there be light

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Evil loves darkness. It hides in the cover of black night and shuns the light. In today's world, evil is personified by a raging drug problem that crosses all socioeconomic lines and preys upon the weak, the innocent, the young, the old and even the powerful. Too many people choose to shut the door on the issue, keeping the evil hidden away from the light where solutions and help can be found.

Light that has the power to overcome evil comes in many forms. Take for example the recent Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon held last week. Southwest Area Drug Task Force Agent John Luckey presented a program on methamphetamine. He offered information and proof that the scourge of meth is alive and well in Barry County. His presentation was not meant to incite fear but to offer insight into the local war on drugs. We applaud the chamber leaders for making such a program available to its members. Through education and information, this area's drug problem can be addressed more openly.

We have seen the same kind of "light" come through the Barry County Drug Court program. The local Drug Court team has worked hard to get the word out about the life-changing possibilities of this program that offers intensive treatment and supervision for individuals in our community who have committed crimes because of their addiction to drugs and alcohol. Since the program began in 2008, there have been numerous victories as individuals successfully graduate from the program and become contributing members of society. Drug court offers participants the tools, support and accountability they need to break their addiction and get a second chance at a full and meaningful life. This program is breaking the cycle of addiction and changing the judicial system's revolving door approach to rehabilitation. Drug court is working, and its success is due in large part to the support it has received from local individuals, businesses and organizations who learned about the program and decided to get on board.

Other forms of light include support groups, like Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. During these meetings, people come together to talk about their addiction through honest exchange with other addicts and alcoholics. In these rooms, there is no place to hide. Surrender turns shame into self-respect, and sharing life's day-to-day struggles brings about understanding, healing and the courage to stay clean and sober. So many people never seek help for their addiction, because they feel ashamed or think no one else could ever understand. This mindset keeps those unfortunate individuals from getting well -- again their demons stay hidden in the darkness. It is when people join together to fight their disease one day at a time, that the load is shared and good can overcome evil.

For me personally, the ultimate source of light comes from a belief that God is all powerful. He is in control of my life and anyone else's who surrenders to Him. God has the power to transform lives, and it is the knowledge of His unconditional love that offers hope, forgiveness and a reason to believe that we can change our lives for the better.

If Barry County wants to continue waging a war on drugs and their associated evils, it will take a combined effort that begins with knowledge and understanding of the problem and then expands to identifying resources to help solve these issues. Staying in the dark helps no one. It's time to see the light and get involved in the fight.

Lisa Schlichtman