Story that needs to be told
Dear Editor:RE: “Why Sarah McLennan’s story was news” (Aspen Times, Feb. 4). The death of Sarah McLennan greatly saddens me. Indeed her death was a tragedy. But as far as The Aspen Times reporting of her death, I believe it would have been a greater tragedy had the Times not reported the circumstances of her death. All too often I feel our community glosses over, or lives in denial regarding the impacts, effects and tragedy of substance abuse. The reason that Sarah is not here with us today is because of alcohol and drugs. The fact that these substances kill should not be a surprise to any of us. The fact that these substances impact, ruin and destroy lives, families, careers, and even totally innocent people should not be a surprise either. But I think Sarah’s death illustrates just how enslaving these substances actually are. I don’t think anyone ever plans on becoming an alcoholic or drug addict. What starts off with just a little fun, or recreational drug use, very often ends up with jails, institutions or even death. As one who was rescued, and was able to get off “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” my heart goes out to those who are suffering and in bondage to these chains of addiction. And my heart goes out to the youths here in our community who are constantly exposed to and impacted by the substance abuse of their friends or family members. I think back to my own story. With all the copious amounts of alcohol and drugs that I consumed, I should have died from either an overdose or poisoning myself. I think back to the vicious cycles of depression brought on by these substances, and the only relief I could find was to “do more.” And it was that “do more” that almost killed me. It wasn’t until I found myself doing cocaine in the morning, instead of drinking coffee as most people do, that I finally had to admit that I was a full-blown drug addict. Upon realizing my dire situation, and then trying in vain to free myself from the tangled web of addiction, depression and hopelessness doubly set in. I don’t think I have ever told this to anybody, but as I sank deeper into the depths of despair and addiction, I actually wanted to die. But it was this great despair and sense of hopelessness that finally brought me to my knees to cry out to almighty God. There, all alone, in the clutches of many addictions, God heard my plea of desperation and rescued me! Prior to all this, I was an agnostic. Today, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, believing him and his promise that he “came to set the captives free.” Jesus still says, “come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Jim TomberlinWoody Creek
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