Who Is My Neighbor? It’s Not Always Clear.

“For too many families, addiction brings shame and judgment.”


Miss Jenkins who lived across the hall was definitely my neighbor.  Michael who lived downstairs was a good friend and a wonderful neighbor.  And Mrs. Jones who had superpowers and could keep her eyes on all us kids from her living room window was everybody’s neighbor.  Neighbors live near us, next door, on the block, on the corner or down the street. We trust our neighbor, build strong bonds and as the Good Book says we… love our neighbor.

However, when you’re a family with a loved one with a drug addiction, sometimes having a loving neighbor can be too close for comfort.   For too many families, addiction brings shame and judgment.  This leads to isolation and a sense of feeling alone.  So what’s changed?  Have our neighbors changed? Are these drugs so powerful that through osmosis they’ve gotten into our neighbors’ bloodstreams preventing them from loving us, trusting us or caring for us?

In my quest to find the answer to, “Who Is My Neighbor When A Loved One Has A Drug Addiction?” I found answers and comfort in this well known Biblical parable, The Good Samaritan.

The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denariic and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Addiction robs us all.  And there will be some who will pass us by.  But the good news is there are millions who will stop and give us their hand and provide us with the help we need. They include; the members of The House and Senate who voted to pass The Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act (CARA), the millions of people who know addiction is a disease and treat it like one and  the hundreds of organizations who everyday provide treatment, education and support to our loved ones and our families.   They care.  They’re here.  And when addiction hits home…they are our neighbors.

Drug prevention programs that involve families, schools, communities and faith based organizations have shown to be effective in reducing drug and alcohol abuse.

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