March 28, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

In recovery, we are a people of that name. We carry hope, that spiritual virus that drives despair into the light, where it is revealed as nothing more than the scary shadow play of our childhood beds. Having clung to despair ourselves, using it to fuel our addictions, we recognize it was all along a wet blanket, drawing heat and leaving no comfort.

No matter how unusual and frightening our current circumstances may be, we choose hope. Covid-19, unemployment, self-quarantine, social isolation and the other surprises of today suck and we can’t control how all this will unfold. We do have control over our response—and that response is ato ccept events with hope. Given the same set of facts, the story of hope leads to life while despair’s story can drive us back into our old dead existences.

We reach out to the silent sufferers, offering concern and support to our friends and those we’ve never met who still use. We remember active addiction, the loneliness and despair it breeds, and identify with that pain. Identification, though, is never enough—we also bring a solution, not just for the addiction but for its root. Alienation, the sense one is different and incapable of being one among many, is that root, and the Hope community demonstrates the lie at the heart of that alienation.

As Hope nation, we have learned not to entertain despair, not to offer it a cup of coffee and an easy chair. Despair is the enemy, and we know how to drive it away. Despair has been our companion, but now we live in a community that reveals the false promise of despair. As a people, we have made a truly radical choice—hope is possible and despair is unconvincing.

Please excuse the preaching in this message. Some things need to be said repeatedly and very clearly. One of those things is:

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith