Local Group Looks to Fill the Need for Support for Affected Others

The Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN), located at 142 Center Street in Brewer, is a tremendous community resource that seeks to assist individuals as they pursue recovery from addiction (http://www.bangorrecovery.org/). While the primary purpose of the BARN is to help individuals on their path to recovery from addiction, a secondary purpose is to support “affected others.” Affected others are those who “love and support persons suffering from substance use disorder, those still active in addiction, and/or persons in recovery from addiction.”

In their efforts to address the needs of affected others, BARN board members Jim LaPierre and Karen Foley started the Addiction in the Family Support Group. The group, which held its kick-off meeting last May, meets the first Wednesday of each month at the BARN from 5:30-6:30. Foley says “the group was born of my own experience with family members suffering from addiction and alcoholism. I found a lot of parents are out there going through the same struggles, and looking for the same resources.”

Foley emphasized that the group is not only for the families of those addicted to opiates. The group is for families of anyone suffering from substance use disorder or alcoholism. She said “Our loved one’s drug of choice may be different, but the challenges we face when we love an active alcoholic or person suffering from substance use disorder are often the same.” This is an all-inclusive group and while they are not an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon group, they do practice anonymity. This is a safe space for families to share their stories and to support each other. Guest speakers have included groups like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the Bangor Vet Center, Health Equity Alliance, local therapists, yoga teachers, health coaches and representatives from various 12 Step Programs.

The kick-off meeting in May drew over 80 people. Since then, the group consistently hosts about 30 participants per month. The meeting consists of a guest speaker for the first half hour, and then plenty of time for questions and sharing. Folks are encouraged to stay for a few minutes after the meeting to network, exchange information, and make connections in order to support and help each other outside the meetings.

WLBZ 2 featured the group in a story this past August, www.wlbz2.com/news/local/despite-lack-of-resources-families-of-struggling-addicts-find-support/463250628.

You can find out more information by joining the Addiction in the Family Support Group Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/groups/1074671386007697/