During September, National Recovery month focuses primarily on the person needing treatment, but family members of someone abusing alcohol or drugs also need help and too often don't know where to go.
This month, I have been introducing groups where families can receive assistance. Here are the ones with which I am most familiar:
A Chance to Change, 5228 Classen Circle, Oklahoma City, offers free educational seminars: How Addiction Affects Families; Codependency-Hidden Fears, Hidden Tears; Enabling — The Helping That Hurts; Treatment and Recovery. www.achancetochange.org 840-9000.
Parents Helping Parents is a group of folks with a child of any age using drugs or alcohol. They offer support groups, education, telephone contact and information about resources. www.parentshelpingparents.info.
Oklahoma Outreach Foundation provides a high school named Mission Academy where teenagers in recovery can receive support and encouragement as they complete their high school education. www.okoutreachfoundation.org.
Twelve Step groups: www.familiesanonymous.org, www.codependents.org and Al-Anon.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another resource. Addiction and mental illness go hand in hand. People who are anxious or feel out of control often self-medicate. While that may provide temporary comfort, it only compounds their problems. NAMI offers free education and support groups for family members. www.ok.nami.org.
A Stephen Ministry program is another resource that may be found in your church. Stephen Ministry is named after Stephen, the first lay person appointed by Jesus' disciples to “go out and help meet the needs of the people.” A Stephen minister is not a professional counselor, ordained pastor or problem “fixer.” He or she is a Christian friend who is dependable, a good listener, nonjudgmental and will keep your confidence and walk beside you for as long as you need.
There is help available. The first step is up to you, but on the other side you will find caring people offering guidance and support.
Email Charlotte Lankard at email@example.com.