Addict in recovery resumes writing his column for Appalachian newspapers after relapsing and going into treatment

Phillip Lee’s book

A recovering drug addict who writes a column for newspapers in Appalachian Kentucky and Tennessee, and published a book, has relapsed, gone back into treatment and resumed his column.

Phillip Lee’s return column for the Clinton County News in Albany emphasizes the nature of addiction, the humanity of those suffering it, and the promise of treatment. He writes:

“I am a client at Hickory Hills Recovery and Treatment Center in Eastern Kentucky. This is a long-term treatment house for men who, like myself, suffer from the disease of addiction. Now, I know that some who read this may stop right here and say ‘OK, I don’t want to read another word. Addiction is not a disease.’ What I usually say to that is, absolutely nothing. Each person on God’s green earth has the free will and choice to decide if they believe addiction is a disease or not. I’m not here to debate anyone. I’m quite simple, just a guy with a pen who would much rather remain anonymous than anything, however, that is not possible if I wish to publish my work — so it may reach others in newspapers, in hopes of helping someone in need.”

Lee writes that a client at the center noticed “a very poor man in the nearby community walking around in very worn out and distressed shoes. The client, without giving thought or second instinct to his own comfort, walked over and gave the gentleman in discomfort and need the very shoes off his feet. To many, this man would have been marked up and chalked off as a man of bad character, based solely on what they thought they knew or have seen from someone in active addiction. To this I must ask each of you, does this sound like a man of bad character? Does this sound like a man who should be thrown to the wolves for the slaughter? Does this sound like the kind of man you would rather not have in your communities? To me, it simply sounds like he’s a man who, through this program, has discovered his heart and true passion for his fellow.”

He continues, “I’ve seen many great acts of both kindness and love, while here. I’ve seen and felt the spirit of God while here. I feel it even now as I write this small story for you. You see, folks, most of us here are not bad people at heart. Most here would much rather lift another up than to tear him down. We do suffer from a disease, and it is called addiction – and, yes, we have lost our way. But here, we are found. Here we are given every tool needed to recover and maintain and treat our disease. Here, we are taught how to utilize these tools in the most effective manner once we rejoin the communities in which we live. We are taught how to use these tools to regain our sanity and to gain or regain our love for life, in general. And here, we are taught how to reconnect with reality, entirely. So, if you know someone who is living the life of a using addict here in Kentucky, there are several Kentucky Recovery Centers all across the state like this one, where new life is born, every day.”

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