Tim GilmerTake me to the alley
Take me to the afflicted ones
Take me to the lonely ones that
somehow lost their way
— from Gregory Porter’s 2016 CD, “Take Me to the Alley”

We live in an imperfect world of disease and disability where nonprofit organizations are dedicated to promoting understanding, advocating for treatment and finding cures. But no one truly comprehends the underlying psychological and emotional causes of the invisible disability of addiction — how it brings the brightest down and crushes the fragile promise of happiness. And most importantly, how it can happen to anyone, even those closest to us.

I learned today it happened to someone who I once thought was invincible. Not only were we close, in our early twenties we talked of marriage — but our lives took different directions.

Growing up she was a bright, happy, uplifting presence. Her smile and laughter lightened the mood of everyone around her. She was strong, pretty