EMMALENA — It’s a disease that seems to touch every family in eastern Kentucky.
The toll of addiction on families in the region is incalculable, but at Kentucky River Community Care’s (KRCC) Hickory Hill Recovery Center, there is hope for those dealing with the daily heartbreak of a family member’s problem with substance abuse. The Nar-Anon Family Group, which, since May, has been meeting every Sunday evening at the Center, provides guidance and support to the family and friends of addicts. “Addiction is a family disease,” said Melissa Estep, program director at Hickory Hill. “As we chase our family member or friend, trying to save them, our lives get taken hostage.”
“Our health becomes compromised,” Estep continued, citing anxiety, depression, and feelings of failure as some of the more common afflictions. The self-help group follows a 12-step program designed to help those affected by someone else’s addiction by sharing similar experiences, strength, and understanding. The group preserves the anonymity of its members, and all information shared is kept confidential. Members relate their struggles in dealing with their loved one’s life of addiction, passing along anything they’ve found helpful, but most of all, reminding others they are not alone. “You can’t fix somebody else,” a member said. “And you can’t think your way out of it.”
One woman said that every single person in her life suffered from the disease of addiction. Others shared their worries or small blessings or thankfulness that their family member was doing well “just for today.”
Several members said they felt like victims of their loved one’s disease, but that the group had become a balm for them, opening their minds and helping them cope with the situation. “Some of the things that are meant to destroy us are some of the things that get us where we need to be,” a woman said. Estep noted that a support group like this one is there to embrace wounded people and to “love them back to life” through shared stories, joys, laughter, and tears.
She added, “As our group grows so will our mission to help others as they have helped us, bringing hope, love, and inspiration to the families of Eastern Kentucky.”
Hickory Hill’s Nar-Anon Family Group is an open group and welcomes anyone who is coping with the addiction of a family member, friend, or loved one. The group meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Hickory Hill Recovery Center, which is just off HWY 80 in Emmalena.
For directions to the facility or for more information, please call 606-785-0141.
Mindy Miller is a multimedia writer for Community Care Development and Management, Inc. (CCDM), the management company for KRCC, located in Jackson, Ky.