For those doing their best to stay sober everything that has happened through these last months could not have been planned more perfectly if the intent was to make someone begin to use drugs or alcohol again.

Cash your stimulus check, get laid off, collect generous unemployment, be ordered to stay home, cancel all support groups, close the churches and you have a recipe for a relapse disaster. We’ve seen more individuals relapse in the past five months than at any time in my experience.

Sam Anderson
Sam Anderson



There is a tremendous amount of unseen suffering going on in our communities. Mental health, for many, has become an oxymoron because there is nothing healthy about the mental struggles many non-addicted people are experiencing on a day to day basis. Pile on the screaming voice in your head that the answer to all your pain and frustration is just to get drunk or high and the perfect storm swamps the boat.

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September is National Recovery Month and while I write an article for the Dispatch each year at this time to bring attention to the amazing recovery community we have here in the Brainerd lakes area, today I’m pleading with everyone of faith to pray.

Pray for your friends and neighbors who you know are in sobriety. Pray for those in treatment that they will find the strength to continue on in their fight to be free. Look on your local county jail roster website and begin to pray for every inmate because the statistical average tells us that about 80% of the faces you will see struggle with some form of addiction. Pray for them by name that this moment in their life will become their “rock bottom” and that they will find the strength to seek the help they so desperately need. Pray they will know the true love of God deep in their hearts and that they are worth the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the cross. Pray for those who have relapsed that the shame will not keep them stuck in the downward spiral again. Pray that they will be able to stop, get back up, dust themselves off, and move forward again.

People can and do recover but not by themselves – they need you and me to never give up and to do what we can and everyone can pray. Remember, something happens when we pray that does not happen when we don’t.

Sam Anderson is center director of Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.