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The Dead and The Dying

What has happened to our hometown? What has happened to our friends, our family; our prom dates and teammates, our jungle gym buddies and secret keepers, our brothers, our sisters, our daughters and sons? What is happening to the people that we love?

Folks, what have we done? Why are we not talking about the issues that lead to drug use in the first place? The pain, the anxiety, the loneliness, the heartache, the pressure, and the stress. These are all factors that WE, as a society, can control. They are factors that WE, as a society, contribute. What are we doing to our community?

I mean, I have to ask… is it drugs that are the problem, or is it society? Are we creating an environment that needs escaping from? Are we helping those who need the help? Or are we making life harder for the ones who are already limping?

Look, I’m hardly the guy with the golden answers, but I think that someone needs to start asking the hard questions.

So, whose fault is it then? Is it their fault, the ones who get hooked in the first place? Is it the seller’s fault? Or maybe the people who make the drugs?

Perhaps, we are ALL at fault? We as a society have not made living any easier. We hate, we shame, we humiliate, we degrade, and we prey upon the weak to make ourselves look stronger, to make ourselves look cooler.

When are we going to take responsibility for the evil that we induce upon each other?

We are too busy looking for ways to tear someone down, instead of building them up. We are bullies, gangsters, thieves, and tormenters. We’d rather hate each other than to show each other love. WE. ARE. The problem.

And now, hopefully, you’re thinking, “What can we do to help? How can we make a difference?” Well look, there’s an old saying that goes something like this, “Be kind, because everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.” And that couldn’t be more true, especially when it comes to substance abuse.

If we want to stop drugs, then maybe we should first stop giving people a reason to escape? Maybe we should build each other a place of comfort and support; a place full of love and appreciation. Maybe, if we gave them all a reason to stay, then they wouldn’t need to go? What I’m saying is, BE THE REASON THAT SOMEBODY WANTS TO LIVE.

And, of course, it’s an easier route to just blame them for their addictions, for their problems, for their “weaknesses.”

But, don’t we ALL, have weaknesses? Don’t we ALL trip over obstacles at some point in our lives? Why on earth will we not accept the fact that we all are, ultimately, in the Hurt together?

Listen. You cannot build a bridge without a frame, without support. We are ALL a piece of steel, a piece of iron supporting the weight of each other. And when one beam becomes weak, brittle, tired, and rusted… then it is up to US to bear it’s weight until it can be repaired. Otherwise, when one beam fails, our entire bridge will fail, and it will fall down hard upon the rocks below.

Folks, we need each other in order to remain sturdy. When will we start acting like it?

Categories: Blog

Jacob Paul Patchen

Jacob Paul Patchen is a strong advocate for love, family, and laughter. He is his mother’s favorite child, his grandfather’s ornery double, and the one who offers the blessing before holiday dinner. With his background in poetry and his open heart, he sees the world in a transcendent light. With a deeper understanding of the importance of life’s “little things,” enriched by his time spent at war in Iraq, Jacob offers a philosophical, light-hearted, and insightfully energetic tone to his writing style. 
Jacob is an award-winning writer and poet from Cambridge, Ohio. He was the recipient of the Beulah Brooks Brown Award in Poetry and was selected as the feature writer for Muskingum University’s creative writing magazine, First Circle. Jacob graduated from Muskingum University with a bachelor’s degree in English while focusing on creative writing, journalism, and speech communication. Since graduating, Jacob has written a script for a feature film, started a blog,, (which has made him semi-famous in a small town), and is currently finishing up his debut book called, "Life Lessons from Grandpa and His Chicken Coop: A Playful Journey Through Some Serious Sh*t"
Growing up a few miles outside of a small village in the rolling hills of South East Ohio, Jacob spent most of his youth playing sports, spending time outdoors (i.e. climbing trees and hiding from babysitters), and finding his unique voice in writing. Feeling patriotic, he enlisted into the Marine Corps. Reserves during his senior year of high school. During his six year enlistment in the Infantry, he was deployed to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq in 2005. After his return from Iraq, with a better understanding of life and a renewed appreciation for opportunity, Jacob enrolled into Muskingum University to pursue a formal education in writing.  
He is now living outside of Cambridge, Ohio where he balances part time work with full time play.

10 replies

  1. Your writing is real and at the same time thoughtful and kind. I hope that your words will be an eye opener for the addicts and families. I hope the community will step forward and do things to improve the drug abuse and get people the help they need to start the road to recovery. Life’s to short to waist it high. The world’s a beautiful but tough place you just have to open your eyes to see the beauty here.

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer. I wish we would all come together and help each other out, support each other, and get through all of our issues together. Life is to hard to get through it alone. Thanks for the read and comment.

  2. As a social worker in this area I couldn’t have said it any better. Blame cannot be placed on a single person or event. This is a worldwide issue. A cultural issue. A bullying issue. A community issue. We need to accept that everyone has their own demons however, we as a community need to provide better outreach to assist those in need. We can’t say “they were just a junky or a dealer”. We have to stop and ask ourselves why? Why does this person feel so bad that they have turned to stealing, drugs, murdering, and other crimes. This is a question that should be repainted to by the entire community. Do not look down on someone when ypur blatantly unaware of their struggles! Great piece. I hope that our community can at some point realize that it’s not only one person but an entire culture/community that needs to participate to encourage change!!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it! And I completely agree with you, as well. It absolutely is a community issue. And as a community, we need to find a solution. I appreciate your input. Thank you!

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