At first, I judged her. Then, I pitied her. Then, I got angry at her. Now, I’m a mix of pity, consternation, and fear of the young woman next door who is addicted to drugs.
It’s turned into a mess, and there’s been some violence over there between the young woman and her boyfriend, with whom she moved in some months ago. Since that fateful day, the situation has been getting continually worse. The way they tear in and out of their parking spot, I fear that one day, that car will come hurtling through my kitchen wall. Worse, I fear they will run someone down in their recklessness.
The crazy thing is that I live in an average middle-class neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect to experience something like this. We’re surrounded by decent folks who treat each other respectfully and live peaceful, productive lives. My guess is that this young woman and her boyfriend would like to be decent folk who live peaceful, productive lives, too. But, she fell into drug addiction and now their lives are a mess.
The building manager told my husband that the couple is being evicted. Part of me is relieved and happy, part of me is sad and concerned.
They’ll move away from me, but then they’ll just become someone’s else’s problem.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans aged 12 and older battled a substance use disorder in 2014. That’s one out of every eight people. This means that no matter where you or I live, work, or play, it’s likely that someone around us is abusing drugs.
Just like the young woman next door to me.
I’ve taken to praying for her and her boyfriend – not just when things erupt over there, but every day. This problem is bigger than both of them. In fact, it’s bigger than all of us. Addiction is a monster of an illness that does not discriminate between culture, class, or color. The monster has gripped her, and now it’s affecting not only the young man she’s living with, but all of the surrounding neighbors.
Her problem has become our problem. And, when she moves out, her problem will become the problem of other neighbors unless she gets help and can conquer the beast.
And that’s what I pray for. I pray that her boyfriend, her family, whoever she’s connected to, becomes aware of the urgency of this situation and does something about it. I know from watching this surreal drama that looking the other way doesn’t help. Believing her promises to quit drugs doesn’t help. Helping her hide her addiction doesn’t help, either. I hear the arguments between then all the time, I hear the pathetic pleading and accusations, the squealing tires, violent outbursts and the tearful reconciliations. It’s become impossible to drown out the ruckus going on outside my window.
That’s what, to me, is so shocking. It’s outside my window. The window of my home in a quiet, pleasant, Midwest neighborhood where families try to live happy, peaceful lives. This is how far the monster of drug addiction has been able to extend his hideous grip.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because like me, you might be surprised to find the monster outside your window. I want to encourage you to be vigilant, act (if you can), withhold judgment, offer help (if possible), and pray, pray, pray for the drug addict next door.