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PJ's Blog

Support Groups? Who Needs Them?Maybe You.

Recently, a woman whose 25-year-old son is an opiate addict, told me that she didn’t

think she needed to attend a support group because “that’s not going to get my son

clean and sober.” My response, “You’re right. It won’t, but it might help you to deal with

what you’re going through. You deserve to be in a better place mentally and


This mother, like so many other parents, spouses, siblings, and friends of those who

suffer from substance use disorder, just wants her son to stop using. She feels helpless

because everything she has tried has failed. Her anxiety and sadness come from her

inability to control her son’s disease. It is a terrible way to live.

Substance use disorder and other kinds of addictive behavior (gambling, sex, eating,

etc.) are systemic diseases—in other words, they effect more than just the person with

the disease. They effect families, workplaces, and communities. The powerful negative

impact is far reaching. Attending a support group is one “treatment” for this systemic


Support groups provide a place for individuals to voice their fear, insecurity, anger,

helplessness, frustration, anxiety, and sadness. A well-trained support group facilitator

maintains a safe and non-judgmental space for those traumatized by the disease of

addiction. During meetings, individuals have the option to share their stories, or simply

sit and listen. Resources are shared, and overall support is provided. This is not a

place to try to “fix” a person’s problems or give advice. Rather, it is an opportunity to be

heard and supported.

At Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center, we have a Loved One’s Support Group

meeting every Thursday from 7-8 pm, and you are most welcome to attend. We know

it takes a great deal of courage to walk through the door, but we can assure you that on

the other side of that door are people who want to listen and support you. Do this for

yourself. You deserve it.

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