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Clergy View: Won't you help?

Sam Anderson

Cries for help are found all around us. From the refugees fleeing violence all over the world to the Facebook "Ice Bucket Challenge," people everywhere are asking for help.

Just last week I was contacted by someone who was deeply troubled about a dear friend of hers who could not stop drinking. The worst part of the story was that this friend was driving her children while consuming mixed drinks in her car. "Sam, I need your help! What should I do?"

Several weeks before a client came into the Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge program here in Brainerd; he tried to hang himself and had been cutting his wrists. He didn't know how to get help and felt there wasn't any hope for him.

In today's culture, it is often easier to help someone else than to ask for help ourselves. Each day we are surrounded by people who need help. Some of them we know; some we don't. Many feel trapped and hopeless. Where do they start? When do we step in and offer advice and help? There are some individuals stuck in addiction who are able to ask for assistance but many deny they need help, even though everyone around them knows they do (and probably deep down, they also know).

We are a very compassionate society. When someone is in genuine need and truly incapable of doing it themselves, we pitch in and help like the "Good Samaritan" in the Gospels. We direct them to local organizations that can help, or in the case of emergencies, we sandbag, clean up after tornadoes, provide shelter and clothes when a home burns, or anonymously pay someone's debt. We respond. Today, someone you know is in a great need, but probably won't ask for help. It is time to do something about that friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative who is battling an addiction.

September is National Recovery Month and I see it first-hand every day. Prevention works. Treatment is effective. People can and do recover. If you know someone struggling with addiction, don't wait, seek out help now.

That person may need extremely strong persuasion to be motivated to get help. It may be necessary to tell that special someone that you will call the police or perhaps report them to social services. Tell them point-blank that they could lose their children, and by all means, be ready to follow through.

Tough love may be required but that person is genuinely worth the effort! My friend stepped up and helped her neighbor with children and she agreed to accept help and checked into detox this week! You can make a difference. On behalf of those who won't or can't ask, would you please help? For more information, check out or visit

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge is a nonprofit, statewide faith-based drug and alcohol treatment and recovery program ranging from outpatient to long-term residential. Their mission is to assist teens and adults in gaining freedom from chemical addictions and other life-controlling problems by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Here in Brainerd, they offer outpatient treatment for women and men, as well as long-term residential recovery services for adult men.