March 18, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

Although these days are dark, we still have each other, even if the word “have” exists only in a virtual sense. Still, think of how lucky I am to be able to write these words, far away from you, and know they can reach your eyes. The telephone can be a moon coming out of the blackness. How miraculous I can talk with you, you can talk with her, they can talk with us! Goddammit, let’s use this tool not just for checking Facebook for the latest rumors or snapping pictures of ourselves, but to connect as best we can with others in recovery or having a hankering to get into recovery.
Some phone calls I’ve had over the last day.

–A woman trying to support people in recovery through phone calls, emails and Facebook. We both delighted in the fact that although we are segregated from the world at large we can still find meaning in our days and sleep in our nights. Because of the work each of us can do in reaching out, we can lie down at day’s end, looking back with a sense of accomplishment and forward with a sense of anticipation. That experience is available to each and all of us. All it takes is a desire to help. Really.

–A delightful and spunky woman, living in recovery housing, saying almost everyone there had been laid off from work and their food supplies were getting low. She’d gone to the local food pantry, but a bag of groceries doesn’t go far among eight women. Luckily, the house she lives in belongs to NH-CORR (NH Coalition of Recovery Residences) and help of some kind is on the way, not quickly enough to make supper tonight, of course, but at least a sense people care.

–A man who’s been in and out of recovery for years, the allure of crack and meth always drawing him back in. He’s working (for now—a phrase that can be added to any statement today), he’s in recovery and he’s trying to address some of his mental health issues. The last time I talked with him, he’d been tricking for drugs or money to get drugs, so this news represents progress, not perfection.

–A woman whose partner, and the father of her children, overdosed 11 years ago. She’s working for a political group that wants to increase support for folks in recovery. Even though we’re both working from home, sheltering in place, we both believe we’ll meet on “other side” of this pandemic and that the planning we do today will be meaningful.

–A government official checking up on the health and safety of folks in recovery in Manchester and the surrounding area. I had to say everyone we’ve heard from is doing at least okay, but that many folks may have slipped through the cracks. If you are one of those who needs help or assistance, please contact me (603-361-6266) keith.howard@recoverynh.org so we can try to help.

Yes, the days are dark, but each of us can spread a little light. After all, looking back on the various wreckages of our pasts, each of us has a 100% survival rate so far. Let’s maintain that record.

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Best,

Keith