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Joe Walsh, Sober

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Mike GravesBy Mike Graves

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“I hit bottom before I overdosed and/or completely destroyed my liver. Today, I thank God almighty, and give him the credit for 20 years of sobriety.”
Thus spake Joe Walsh, lead guitarist for The Eagles, and founder of the rock band The James Gang, in an interview recently on YouTube. Walsh says he gave up vodka, cocaine and Camel Light cigarettes in one swoop, and says his life is just as fun – only now he can remember it.
Why do I mention this in a “farm column,” in a rural publication, far from the neon lights?
The answer was mentioned in last week’s column, where we talked about the passing of some of my classmates who succumbed to drug and/or alcohol abuse. We all suffer the effects of the tragedy. Mentioning the names of any of the victims wouldn’t keep anyone from joining the ranks of the dead, infirmed or imprisoned from drugs and alcohol, and y’all know them anyway: our classmates who didn’t put the stuff away.
I can guarantee y’all their folks know: The families who spent many nights staying up wondering if this would be the night the state troopers knocked on the door with the terrifying news; the dads who sat in church wondering what they did or didn’t do right; the moms who cried when they left their daughter sitting in jail.
They still can’t figure out why their kid – the one who was the teacher’s pet in third grade, the Scrapper hero, the one who set the curve in Mrs. Dildy’s class and could kick the football over the moon – could not stay straight or sober.
I wish I knew what to say to my classmates and the world to keep them from self destructing.
I do know this: a Christian community cannot turn their backs on those struggling with addiction. If we don’t reach out to these victims, if we don’t check on them and assist them when they need help, and hire them when they get out, we’re not Christians. We’re the psuedo-Christians Christ warned us about.