I do not drink alcohol in any form. I have never drunk alcohol in any form. I'm not bragging, because I have plenty of other vices that follow me around.
Even though I do not drink; did not grow up in a family in which someone drank; and don't know much about alcohol, I do know that alcohol can be very destructive. Alcohol, especially when combined with drugs, can be fatal. That's why I am interested in the Talkington Foundation whose mission is helping alcoholics and drug addicts.
Although not many people are aware of it, there is a Talkington Foundation chapter in Neosho.
I am not heavily involved with the foundation, but I admire their work and attend their board meetings. They have a building on McCord Street where the Kelly Club is located. The foundation "owns" the building, but has a good size debt which they are slowly paying off. When the group bought the building, it was not suitable for the Foundation's work, so now the building is undergoing a renovation. Some of the work includes a new roof, new heating and air conditioning, and a good bit of interior improvement.
Although the renovations are good news, there is more important news. In 2012, through the month of November, the building had 9,500 visits to the Kelly Club from people seeking help. Not only does the foundation help with drug and alcohol abuse through the Kelly Club, it offers a meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous and the AA support group. It also works with Teen Challenge, the group that helps people who have addiction problems.
The national news is full of stories about people who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction. The streets in big cities are sadly littered with homeless people who often are addicted, suffering not only from addiction but from mental problems. You have seen them, as have I.
But the cities are not alone; these problems are shared by people in small towns, such as Neosho. The Kelly Club helps those who are homeless, as well as for those who are less obviously in need of help. These problems know no political, economic, cultural, racial or social boundaries — every phase of our society is affected.
If you drive by the foundation's building any time soon, you might see workers making the needed improvements. If you do, remember that the important work is going on inside, and if you know someone who could use help with alcohol or drug addiction, invite them to stop in at the Kelly Club and talk with someone.
Volunteers try to keep the doors open during the day, and people are encouraged to walk in.
We are lucky to have The Talkington Foundation and the Kelly Club in Neosho.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.