Volunteering to Make a Difference

I’ve seen what addiction can do to families; I’ve lived through it with my brother.  I’ve taken midnight phone calls from my parents only to hear sobs of what had happened next on his descent.  I’ve watched a once thriving, smart man question his self-worth and struggle to ​understand his place in the world as a result of his disease.  As difficult as his addiction was on our family, as divisive and alienating as it was, I watched the toll it placed on my brother as he cycled through a range of emotions and finally hitting his bottom in a violent episode that still haunts me.  Fortunately my brother is now on the winning side of addiction, but the sad reality is that too many of our neighbors and friends end up on the losing side.  We simply cannot leave people alone in the depths of their addiction.  It takes a village.

When I was approached to get involved with The Extension, it was an absolute yes.  I think about all of those times when my brother likely relied on the kindness and love of strangers for something as simple as a meal.  But more importantly, those strangers made him feel not alone, made him feel like he mattered, gave him hope.  Doing that for someone else’s brother (or sister, or mother, or father) is why I support The Extension.  People living with this disease matter, and they deserve the love and friendship of all of us.  Sharing that meal and talking with someone for those few minutes out of my day reminds me that every struggle my family faced with my brother was worth it.

– An Extension Volunteer