Christmas is coming, holidays, they are tough for folks like us. Regardless, they are also necessary life challenges to make us stronger.

A month ago I was telling a guy that at least 16 or 17 of the 100 guys I supported had died from fentanyl in only a year. He said “maybe they shouldn’t have opened their veins”, but he was out of touch. I was proud of myself because I didn’t react with rage, nor anger, as I would have in my youth. I just nodded and looked down at the grass and noticed a bee on a dandelion.

I wanted to tell him of a friend who was hit with an IED on one tour, and hit with a sniper round during another, and lost the love of his life in a brutal tragedy a couple years after he returned home, but some things are better left unsaid. A thousand stories flashed through my mind like that of great people and the moments I shared with them.

However, if you are truly blind to what real suffering is, then nobody can explain it verbally to you.

Regardless, take judgement out of the equation, because nobody really knows the hardships carried by others. Not just addiction, but all walks of life. All people struggle, not all make it through.

All we can do is be kind, do our best to stay strong and support others whether we understand their struggles or not.