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Springfield support group focuses on helping loved ones of people with substance use disorders

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:47 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A new resource for families with loved ones dealing with a substance abuse problem will be offered in Springfield.

Support group leader Brittany Jackson says there isn’t any other group like this offered in the area. It’s called ‘Invitation to Change.’ Springfield Recovery Community Center offers the program. The support group gives family members tools to help loved ones seek treatment to stop using.

“I’ve basically grown up my entire life with substance use and in living with a partner who has substance use disorder, it takes that mental toll on you,” Jackson says. “If you don’t have that adequate support, that adequate family training, then you can really lose yourself in your loved one’s substance use.”

Jackson grew up with parents who had substance use disorders. Jackson says her sister is in recovery from a meth and heroin addiction, and her partner abuses alcohol. That substance abuse led Jackson to get training and start this support group.

“Families have been labeled as co-dependents,” Jackson says. “They’ve been labeled as enablers and they’ve been told that they just need to get out of the way and stay in their own lane when it comes to their loved ones with substance use. But that’s not the truth. Families do have the power to help and they can help somebody with a substance use disorder reduce their substance use.”

Executive director of Better Life in Recovery, David Stoecker, says family members are often blamed for standing by someone who abuses drugs or alcohol.

“All somebody is doing is loving a person the best that they know how and instead of getting compassion and support for that, they’re continually shamed and told to give up on them,” Stoecker says.

It’s an intervention program that doesn’t use criticism. Jackson says this is a strategy called community reinforcement and family training, or CRAFT, which focuses on encouraging change within the person who is addicted.

“What it uses is science and kindness and understanding and it brings families into it and allows families to help,” Jackson says.

Stoecker says this will help family members set healthy boundaries and be able to maintain a relationship with someone who is using.

“Anytime that we have that kind of conversation it’s combative or accusatory so here it actually teaches using motivational interviewing how to have a conversation with somebody where really I’m just trying to get to know them better and see why it is that they’re making the choices that they’re making,” Stoecker says.

The free support group is offered every Wednesday, starting January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Springfield Recovery Community Center. The group will run for 13 weeks. Each session lasts 75 minutes.

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