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Beth Brantner, Published January 27 2013

Letter: Addiction insidious, destructive, but there is hope, help, recovery

After reading Rachel Pond’s Jan. 13 commentary about her friend who became harmfully involved with drugs, I have a couple of thoughts.

She was describing the disease of addiction, which, as the Big Book of AA describes, is cunning, powerful and baffling. It does seem to “take” some of the best and brightest among us, such as her friend.

Addiction is an insidious, no-fault disease. It can happen to anyone. Its sneaky nature makes it hard for both the person with it and those around him to understand what is happening. As consequences start stacking up, such as for Pond’s friend, it seems almost crazy that the individual cannot see what his using is doing. Addiction is a disease of denial.

Pond’s letter seemed to be one of lost hope, which happens to those who are touched by addiction. And it’s true the devastation that occurs can seem insurmountable. However, I want to make sure people know all is not lost and positive changes can occur for those with the disease as well as those who love them.

Personally and professionally, I have experienced numerous miracles as those people who have been affected by addiction, either their own or in someone else close, get into recovery. Examples of these miracles can be the chemically dependent person realizing he or she wants to have a different life and making the changes necessary to do that, those in their lives realizing they can love the alcoholic/addict and hate the disease, or for any of those people realizing they have the power to change their lives, no matter what anyone else around them is doing. Finding the ability to see the joy in life again, rather than getting bogged down in all the pain is nothing short of a miracle, as far as I’m concerned.

Making the changes necessary to get into recovery is not easy, but we in the Fargo-Moorhead area have an incredible number of options available should we choose to use them. Numerous support meetings can be found every day of the week; there are those for the alcoholic/addict as well as for those who care for them.

Quality treatment centers with caring and experienced staff can be found on both sides of the river. Cass and Clay counties’ social services also have staff who may be able to lend a hand. We also have a center that is quite unique in our country.

Lost and Found Ministry is available to all at no cost. We have more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of materials (books, DVDs audio books and more) anyone can access. These can provide information as well as support to help guide one through the healing process.

I urge Pond and others like her to learn more about addiction and what can be done to get back on the road of recovery and hope.

Brantner is a licensed addiction counselor, a licensed professional counselor as well as the chairwoman to the board of Lost and Found Ministry, a Christian ministry for those whose lives have been affected by addiction as well as struggling with other life issues.