This week’s guest blog is from Reico Hopewell, current Vice Chair of MDC’s Community Coalition.

Within my 10 years of counseling, witnessing how families are affected by addictions is disheartening. I have seen heartache, pain, discouragement, despair, helplessness and hopelessness when families are suffering through a loved one’s addiction. I believe prevention not only starts at home, but it also starts with the community. We as a community must not be afraid to tackle and discuss the sometimes taboo subject of addiction. We must be as bold talking about addiction as we are talking about other subjects that have the potential to be fatal. I personally have observed a death by overdose, regarding pulling a lifeless body from a bathtub and attempting to perform CPR. That day has forever changed my life and I must do all that I can humanly do to shed light on this “drug epidemic” in hopes to prevent a young person from going down a treacherous and difficult road. Whenever I see someone struggling with an addiction or a parent who has concerns about a child that may be experimenting with drugs, that is my opportunity to confront the issues at hand.

Faith in God allows me to trust that He has my best interest and will not put more on me that I can handle. A lot of people say, “God, use me”. However, when He places someone in my life that needs my assistance, am I willing to be used to show to them the same grace and mercy He showed to me. Discernment is a spiritual principle that we must acknowledge because if we don’t, we run the risk of being misused. The saying, “It takes a village” is a true saying and we must be willing to come out of our comfort zone in order to help prevent addictions and destigmatize the belief of, “once an addict, always an addict.”

Today, I challenge you to be as bold talking about addiction, prevention and your faith the same way you are as bold talking about anything else that you strongly believe in.