The Idaho Statesman has done the community a great favor over the last two days in its recent reporting.
It has held a foggy mirror to the faces of the gin-soaked soccer moms and rather well-lubicated hi-tech cubicle-dweller dads. It has called the game on the many, many alcoholics in our community who "don't gots no problem, ociffer, with drinkin' and drivin'..."
While so many readers shake their heads and turn the newspaper pages and say out oud over their morning coffee..." Hey, hon, did you read the story on those pathetic drunks with the 19 DUIs? My God, lock 'em up and get rid of 'em..." pretending that their own privately hidden drunken moments are a bit "above" the rest. Hmm...
What happens if one of them is in your family? What happens if you are one of the reported 2500+ Idahoans who have 2-3 multiple DUIs under your own belt?
People with substance abuse probelms have a disease. Locking up people with diseases makes no sense. Locking them up for decades seems fully worthless and could be the closest thing we have to populating modern day leper colonies. It's all in one place, effective...and somehow hopeless.
I have seen with my own eyes the success of being a faith-based treatment provider and its amazing impact on addicts who want to be sober. Addicts? Not alcoholics? C'mon...both are substance abusers and both need sobriety.
Alcohol is just the socially acceptable "drug of choice".
How are we to cope with the very determined minority of substance abusers who refuse to seek help and will not remain sober? Society owes it to itself to incarcerate them...and give them hope on the inside of prison through Prison Fellowship and other fine groups like AA, NA and CA.
But WAY beyond that, our culture MUST respond to those who are still among us at work or at the mall or at the movie theaters and restaraunts - who seek help with a deep understanding that they are sick...with a disease...and CAN be helped with In-patient Programs and Out-patient Programs.
That is why New Hope Community Health and many other fine organizations opened our collective doors. All of us offer classes, treatment programs and some of us offer housing to provide help to the helpless and hope to the recovering addict.
Addiction is addiction, whether it comes via a hash pipe or a bartender's tip.
How good of the Idaho Statesman to print the stories that they did.