My name is David Clark. I have lived in Ipswich since 1977 and raised my family here. I am also a local business owner, starting my business in 1984.
I dearly love our community and have become increasingly concerned with the toll that substance abuse is taking on families in Ipswich. Through my own journey, I have come to realize that the families impacted by the disease of addiction feel alone and fearful. Fearful because they don’t know where to turn to get help for their loved one or for themselves; and alone because as a culture we are still not educated about this disease and the impact it has on families, so families keep addiction a secret and as a result suffer alone. How do I know? Because I have felt the aloneness and I have tip toed through my own experience in fear. Fear of others finding out, fear of a loved one dying, fear of my family collapsing. And as a family walking through the abyss alone.
I have come to realize that in order for me to heal, in order for other families who struggle with this disease to heal, I had to be willing to break the silence, the fear, the aloneness that stigma wraps addiction in and speak out.
I have done this in two ways, with my wife starting a chapter of Learn to Cope in Ipswich which is a support group for families struggling with addiction and by being involved in a group called Ipswich Aware.
Ipswich Aware was formed in March of 2016 as a collaborative group of local people that share a similar concern around the impact of addiction in our community. The members include educators, police, clergy, medical personal, social workers, youth organizations and business owners. Since its inception, the group has been working to identify the more pressing issues around addiction and set goals to address them.
. The identified issues and goals of the group are three fold.
- To eliminate the stigma associated with addiction so that families struggling with the disease can be more open and comfortable with seeking help.
- To better educate the residents of our community as to what addiction is and the toll the disease takes on our neighbors who struggle with the disease.
- To educate our youth and prevent risky behavior that can lead to substance abuse and addiction.
Ipswich Aware is working to achieve these goals through providing information and resources on our web site: www.ipswichaware.org; along with community events in partnership with other local organizations throughout the year and to support local entities working to achieve similar goals.
I appreciate the opportunity to place this blog on the Ipswich Aware website. My hope is that as a community we can join together to address the substance abuse issue that is impacting so many people and families in our community.