This Saturday morning, motorcycle riders will gather for the third year in a row at the parking lot at Fisher Engineering in Rockland, Maine. Together, they’ll ride to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and its appealing craggy shoreline with views of the blue, blue ocean. The lighthouse will provide the ride’s turning point.
They’re doing this to bring light to the importance of providing turning points for the many people around us who battle addiction every day—family members, friends, and neighbors, whose recovery might not be known to those around them but who have found their own turning point.
Recovery is not a “one and done” experience that renders addiction something you know you can put behind you, like a bad start to your favorite football team’s season. Recovery can involve relapse, even for those who’ve been successful, healed, and whole for years—like the beloved young light in the Maine recovery community who died last week.
Turning points—moments when something clicks in our brains changing how we see things—can prove healthful or deadly. All of us need the former kind, but those among us gripped with substance abuse disorder can’t survive unless they 1-experience a turning point that puts them on a new path, and then 2-keep on it. No small task.
COVID-19 has understandably taken our attention away from the numerous other threats to our health, but those other diseases of the body and/or soul are not taking a sabbatical leave.
In fact, the pandemic has negatively impacted individuals who battle other illnesses—even those who do not contract COVID.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported increases in overdose deaths around the country. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-opioid-crisis-already-serious-has-intensified-during-coronavirus-pandemic-11599557401?mod=hp_lead_pos12
Individuals either trying to get off drugs or to stay off them do not need added barriers to treatment or to support networks, but as WSJ reporters Jon Kamp and Arian Campo-Flores tell us, “social-distancing limitations are complicating treatment for people who struggle with addiction and for the organizations that provide services to them.”
As an MCRC volunteer and veteran of the first two Rides-4-Recovery, I’m looking forward to September 19. If you’re near Maine, join the riders—even if you don’t ride a motorcycle. I’ll be in the “pace car” or caboose, as I think of it–bringing up the rear.
And keep all people battling illness in your thoughts and on your contributions list!
Ned Bachus is the author of Open Admissions: What Teaching at Community College Taught Me About Learning (Wild River Books, 2017) and of the TURNING POINTS blog on nedbachus.com. City of Brotherly Love (Fleur-de-Lis Books), his book of stories, was awarded the 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction.