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The Guiding Light of Hope

By: Margi Taber

Margi Taber’s life work is about hope and healing. Her career path has focused on adolescent and family work in the field of addiction and social work. She is on the leadership committee of NAADAC's Adolescent Specialty Committee and is the vice president of programs and operations at RSSS.

A Guiding Light of Hope is inspired by the many people she has met who are on a mission to increase awareness, provide education, and promote health and healing regarding this ever-challenging disease called addiction that is destroying lives on a daily basis.

Finding Light in the Darkness

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Jun 15, 2015

In search of interesting and fun facts for my 35th high school reunion, I came across this information about a journalism scandal that made top news in 1981. This excerpt was taken from Wikipedia:

Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for an article written for The Washington Post, but the story was later discovered to have been fabricated.

Cooke wrote about an 8-year old heroin addict named Jimmy who lived in Washington, D.C.. After D.C. officials organized a full police search for him because of concerns for his safety, it was discovered that Jimmy never existed. The story was apparently a lie.   While there are more details to this story, what struck me in reading this was the hype 35 years ago over the idea of there being an eight year old heroin addict. Is that so unfathomable today? 

While I have not professionally come across an eight year old using heroin, I have spoken to people in two states in the past year who were inquiring about a presentation with Super Star because of heroin in their middle schools, reporting there were 12 year olds using heroin in their communities. Thirty-five years ago there was tremendous response to over allegations of an eight year old using heroin, while here we are today with concerns that we have a “heroin epidemic” flooding the country  and reports of young kids using.

For a moment my heart became heavy and I thought, “have we even moved forward” in this quest to bring awareness to the disease of substance use disorder? I believe our society has made strides in decreasing the stigma associated with addiction and promoting treatment for those with the addiction and family members/loved ones. Yet there is still so much more work to do. Too many people are in too much pain at this very moment over a loved one’s addiction. And at this moment another person has most likely died from their addiction.

I have personally met many people over my career that are on a mission to increase awareness, provide education, and promote that treatment works regarding this ever challenging disease that is destroying lives on a daily basis. These people are professionals in the treatment and prevention arenas, law enforcement, social work, medical, advocacy and even government as well as parents and concerned citizens who have seen firsthand the devastation from substance use disorder. There is a lot of amazing work being done across our country and I am proud to say I know some that are doing this work; especially those who are walking through their own pain creating opportunities for another family to never have to experience what they face every day with the loss of their loved one. Those people taking their message to the streets are my heroes!  

In an attempt to shine a light on the good things being done in the name of addiction/recovery I have a vision to share with you in future blogs some of the awe-inspiring people I have met and the great things they are doing. So stay tuned! There is more to come!!!!

More Voices of Recovery:

Finding Joe

Dream a Little Dream of Weed

Sobriety Junkie: My hope for Her

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