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Family healing from addiction

| December 4, 2020 1:06 AM

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All Campaign, we share with readers the stories of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.

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“Emma” once believed that people who use drugs can simply stop whenever they choose. She saw addiction as a choice.

That was before she discovered that her husband — the father of her three children — was smoking heroin.

There were signs, Emma said, which she only recognized later. Her husband earned good money, but the family always seemed to be playing catch-up on bills. He’d seemed distant and unhappy for some time. Quick to anger, Emma had felt him pulling away from her and their children.

She eventually learned that he had been abusing painkillers, which led to heroin.

“It wasn’t until I saw my husband and the pain of his addiction that I finally saw addiction as a very real disease,” she said.

Emma staged an intervention for her husband. Still, it took two months to get him on insurance that would cover treatment.

After completing inpatient treatment, Emma’s husband moved on to outpatient treatment. He began earning money again, and Emma got a new job.

“It felt like life was going to get better,” she said.

Then COVID-19 hit.

Emma was laid off. Demand in her husband’s field shrank, and he struggled with sobriety. Unemployment checks only went so far. They had to use their children’s birthday money to keep the lights on.

“We had to ask for help with rent after money ran out,” Emma said.

Still, the family has found strength through community. They began attending a different church in Coeur d’Alene.

“Thank goodness, because it’s a church that my husband needed,” she said.

Her husband’s faith helps him stay sober, she said.

Emma, meanwhile, is studying to become a certified nursing assistant through the Workforce Training Center at North Idaho College.

For years, Emma has dreamed of starting a nonprofit that helps people in need. She still holds onto that dream — and she said her experiences this year have made her feel more certain that it’s what she’s meant to do.

“I don’t want to hide in shame, but instead thank the Lord that I’ve gained more compassion, patience, hope, gratitude and forgiveness,” Emma said.

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This is the 35th year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and mentally ill.

Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. The beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All are going to keep their dignity intact while the community provides a hand up to help get them back on their feet.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from CharityReimagined.Org. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Please help. Make your tax-deductible donation today any of four ways:

• Mail a check to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814

• Call The Press and make a secure credit card donation over the phone: 208-664-8176

• Go to cdapress.com. Click on Christmas for All 2020 at the top of the page.

• Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown CDA.

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Donors:

Diane Legerski; Linda Fabian; Judith Farrey; Judie Vincken; Dave Paul; Harvey D and Margaret A Sparlin; Susan Lee; In memory of LJ and Mary Ann Novak; Ronald and Sandra McCoy; Steve and Marilyn Griffitts; Barbara Bradley; Jamie Danish; Paul and Linda Sandvig; Roland Williams; Joy A. Gerlach; Kari and Buck Melton; Shirley Belstad; Annette H. Durkin; Carl A and Sandra J Stouffer; Rebekah A Swartz; Larry E and Paularianne Kmetz; Gwen C. Letson; Jeff and Sandy Medved; Philip and Joan Noel; Lee and India Sorenson; In memory of Sid, Steve, Scott and Lisa Ketchum

OVER $500

Dean Griffin; Mic Armon; Robert Gridley; In memory of Chuck Adams Jr.; Whiteman Lumber Co; Joseph V and Traci M Parrish; Ronald Richardson; Beverly M Wilson; John J Broderick; L. Pendleton and Nancy N. Siegel