Samaritan Works can help


I was mowing my yard last summer, listing to music, when a particular song came on. It was Casting Crowns’ song “Nobody.” It literally stopped me in my tracks.

One lyric stuck in my head, and just kept repeating itself, again and again, and again.

“Moses had stage-fright. David brought a rock to a sword fight.”

David brought a rock to a sword fight. Wow. Think about that for a minute.

Here is a young guy of small stature, who decided to take on the mighty Goliath — armed with only five stones and a sling.

But, he was armed with something much stronger than Goliath’s armor. He was armed with something sharper than Goliath’s threatening sword. He was armed with the knowledge that God had a plan for him. Through his faith and understanding of his relationship with God, he knew he not only could, but would beat Goliath.

We all know how the story ended.

As a pastor and executive director of Samaritan Works, I use this story and song often with our folks in recovery — both the guys and the ladies.

In case you don’t know, Samaritan Works is a faith-based sober living program, providing housing, education and support for people who wish to break the chains of addiction and live their best life. Our core principal is based on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Our residents are taught — just like David — there is nothing they cannot do or accomplish, so long as they have God in their lives and it is in His plan.

And, let me assure you — as I do all of our residents — God’s plans for all of us most definitely do not include using and abusing alcohol and drugs and wrecking our lives – and the lives of those around us.

Looking through some statistics recently, I found a study that said nearly every bad habit, unkind act and/or addiction had exponentially skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. Domestic violence is up. Minor and major crimes are up. Incidents of overdose are dramatically on the rise.

Anyone on social media for the last year or so has seen more than their share of memes portraying day drinking and attending Zoom meetings while “in the bag” as hilarious, instead of dangerous and sad.

One recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association stated that should there be another serious wave of COVID, we should also brace for another wave of opioid abuse, addiction and death.

That’s the bad news.

Now, the good news. We, as a community, family, body of believers and just the general population, can fight back against this looming Goliath.

First, we all have to come to grips that someone who is either recovering or is in active addiction is still a person. They are somebody. Most of them are actually pretty good people who made some really bad choices in their lives — for whatever reasons.

And, they need our help. That help can be anything from simply acknowledging them as vital human beings to treatment and sober living opportunities. Sometimes, a simple “hello” or nod of the head is enough to give them the hope they need.

Offer to pray with them. Show them someone actually cares.

Do I believe we can cure the drug addiction epidemic is Sidney and Shelby County? With God, anything is possible. But, the realist in me says, no, we cannot “cure” it.

However, with a little kindness, caring and faith in our fellow men and women, we can make a difference — no matter how small. If, as a community, we save just one, that’s one more than had we done nothing.

By R. Michael Johnson

Guest columnist

A former newsman and healthcare professional, R. Michael Johnson is a certified nonprofit executive and executive director of Samaritan Works, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable program which provides safe and stable housing and daily education and encouragement for recovering addicts, as well as giving assistance during the period of transitioning back into the community. The mission of Samaritan Works is sustained whole life recovery for men and women affected by substance abuse. Samaritan Works may be reached at 937-638-4545 or at [email protected]

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