The Northampton Community Support Network

3 Jun

Don’t worry, fanboys.  We’ll get back to the comic book stuff shortly.  But I have something I need to talk about.

In 2005, I killed myself.

I took enough pills and alcohol to end my life.  The doctor said so.

I felt my body shutting down.  I felt myself dying.

The next morning, I woke up feeling perfectly healthy.  I checked into a psych ward.  I was examined by a doctor.  He said there was absolutely no sign of the pills or alcohol in my body.  Based on what I took, my organs should have started shutting down.  The walls should have started thinning.

The doctor said the only explanation was divine intervention.

God kept me on this planet for a reason.  For twelve years, I searched for that reason.

On April 22 of this year, God gave me the answer.  Not only did he tell me what I needed to do, but he showed me that everything in my life had prepared me to carry out my mission.

But, you know, those missions from God are never easy.  Ask Moses or the Blues Brothers.

And so I have begun to embark on my mission.  I’m creating a community center for Northampton.  This community center will be a place for those who are struggling with issues of addiction, mental health, trauma, homelessness, and mental health.  It will have a focus on safety, dignity, recovery, fellowship and social justice.  We will operate through love and accountability.

The two major obstacles to doing something like this are fundraising and overcoming prejudices.

The money problem hasn’t been too bad.  It’s coming.  It’s coming slowly, but it’s coming. We’ve gotten some donations through crowdfunding and a sponsor.  And we’re having a carwash soon.

The bigger obstacle has been the prejudice.

“You mean you’re going to be helping those people?  The people using drugs?  Those homeless people?”

We haven’t yet found a venue because of the prejudices, but I’m not giving up hope.  People gave Jesus a hard time for helping “those people” too.  The established church of his time was his biggest critic.

I was a homeless drunk suffering from bi-polar disorder.  I wanted to die.  I thought there was no hope.  Thanks to God and loving people who exist in this world, I found hope.  I was shown the light in the darkness.  I want to show others that light.

Will I save everyone?  Of course not.  People have to want change, and they have to work for that change.  But sometimes, when one has given up on hope, they need to be exposed to some in order to regain it for themselves.

Eventually, I want to have our own building, a place where people can be safe and respected, regardless of who they are and what their circumstances may be.  In my vision, this community center would host all sorts of meetings focused on recovery and life skill education.  This center would host guest speakers who have themselves found a way out of the darkness.  This center would be a place where the people who need services can meet with the representatives of those services.  I even hope this center can eventually provide a free hot meal on Fridays, the one day of the week that there is no free hot meal provided in Northampton.

But that’s the long term goal.

The short term goal would be to host the program in someone else’s space, such as a church or other public space that rents to different groups.

In the short term, I would like to hold groups focusing on life skills and community issues, and bring in guest speakers and service representatives.

I just need someone with a heart willing to see what I see.  That there is always hope.  We can’t save everyone.  But we might help someone to save themselves.

If you are interested in helping, either by donating, volunteering, or providing a space for us to get started, please reach out to me at NorthamptonCommunityNetwork@gmail.com.

Together we can create a bridge to recovery.

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