…My hands were shaking. As I looked up, I saw a truck flash his lights as he drove past and turned the corner. I jumped out of the fountain and ran and jumped in his truck. I knew that if I had money to get dope, I could cope. It was the only way I could cope. It was how I removed myself and made the pain go away. It was how I kept the shame at bay and survived.
I heard once in a meeting that if I had not chosen to use, then I wouldn’t have ever faced the horrific situations I faced. I have often been perplexed by that statement. I am responsible for using, I guess. I suffered from a disease of addiction and the endless cycle it created.
However, I am not responsible for another’s evil actions. I am not responsible for those who seek out the broken, the weak, the invisible of our society, the ones everyone knows no one will go looking for if they go missing, the ones no one dares make eye contact with, the ones society has deemed less than human, without equal value as a human being.
Years later, as I reflect on my growth, I value myself as many things. From addict to child of God, I am human with as much value as any other. I understand the Word of God, and have my own relationship with Him.
The God of my understanding loves the outcasts, those who are shunned and viewed by others as disposable. I can’t help but remember the women and men who were homeless, who were prostituted, who were mentally ill, who were addicted, who were vulnerable, and who died horrific deaths at the hands of those from a higher socioeconomic class, death by people who see themselves as worthy of life while others are not.
What people like me and like them need is to be seen as the priceless treasures they are to the God who created them. Then, and only then, can they truly believe that a way out is possible, that the cycle can end, and that there is another way of coping and living with the pain they have experienced. They need to be set free from the pain and trauma, no matter who caused it or why they are the way they are. They need someone to look at them and say, “You are precious in His eyes, and He loves you. Oh, how He loves you.”
“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald