This city of Portsmouth is the place where I was born. I was born to my parents George and Betty Reaves 46 years ago in what was known then as, Scioto Memorial Hospital and is Southern Ohio Medical Center today. Henceforth, Portsmouth has, and always will hold a very special place in my heart, which is my purpose for writing this article.
Now, to say that Portsmouth is a city masked with a myriad of problems and challenges is nothing esoteric. Many little children are cognizant of some of Portsmouth’s issues, such as the high volume of drug addiction accompanied by the continual influx of drugs, because some of those children are forced to deal with it directly. Their moms are on drugs, their dads, and an ever increasing number of grandfathers and grandmothers. I often pray for children that dwell in these types of environments, who witness horrific sights of their parents and relatives using drugs, devastating their children, and creating what could end up as general curses of addiction and despair.
Then there is the panhandling, men and women out on the streets, holding up signs and begging for spare change or a dollar to “Get something to eat,” so they say. It was told to me that a man was standing out front of a local restaurant with a sign, begging for money when one of the mangers of the restaurant came out and offered the panhandling man a job. I was told that the man has good health, but declined the job offer and kept standing out there begging. I wonder about the circumstances of the others who are panhandling. Do they also possess the physical and mental strength to be employed and go to work every day as others as myself do?
This is what I say to all of this — “Come on Portsmouth, we are better than this!” Working for The Daily Times, I along with my fellow reporters, receive the information before the public when the arrests are made. The information comes to us with mug shots of men and women whose lives are in turmoil, committing unnecessary crimes to feed their addictions. I do not believe for one minute that people just sit around and then decide, “Hey, I want to destroy my life! I want to cause pain and misery to my family and friends, so let me stick this needle filled with heroin into my arm!” Consequently, I do believe that the decision to start using heroin, or any other drug for that matter is caused by a deep sense of hopelessness that settles in a person’s mind as a result of lack of direction, lack of goals, and lack of focus, and most importantly, lack of the knowledge of God and his plan for their lives.
To the drug addict, I say there is hope for you. To the panhandler I say, there is hope for you. Jesus Christ is that hope, along with programs and resources right here in this city for recovery from drug addiction, such as The Counseling Center’s Stepping Stones program, Marsh House, Kindred Spirits. For the panhandler, Scioto County Community Action Organization has a program that will help you to get yourself in position to get a job. Guess what, a scripture in the Bible in the Book of II Thessalonians 3:10 it states: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should they eat. Now, this may be a hard saying, but it is the truth. We all have to or need to get out there and earn a living and be responsible citizens. Very few people in society are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. The majority of us did not inherit wealth, and must go to work. Stand up! Be a responsible man and or woman! I want you to know that God never intended your life to be saturated with addiction and poverty. You are better than that my friend. Do not let this be your destiny. Let it stop with you, and decide today to seek the help needed to get your life either on or back on course.
The city of Portsmouth is a beautiful place. Sure we have issues, and no place on earth is a utopia. I challenge everyone reading this article to make an effort to reach out and help someone that you know is struggling with addiction. To the my fellow Christians, we have to do more than pray, but we must find a way to make a difference in the lives of those who struggle. So come on Portsmouth, we are better than this!
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.