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Helping addicts’ families goal of program

It’s finding out that you are not alone and learning what to do.

That was the purpose of “Loved Ones,” six weeks of sessions for those who have a family member or friend caught in the throes of addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Now “Loved Ones,” which began earlier this year, is going into its second series, again at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironton with moderators, the Rev. David Ritchie, pastor at St. Paul, and the Rev. Sallie Schisler, vicar at Christ Episcopal Church.

“There are a lot of people with family members or friends, who are caught in the disease of addiction,” Schisler said. “Like any chronic disease, it affects the people who are closest to the person. I sort of liken it to being part of a mobile. You touch one part and the whole thing moves.”

Ritchie and Schisler will follow the same format for this series as they did in the first with each session beginning by watching a DVD of Ed Hughes of The Counseling Center in Portsmouth working with clients.

Then the sessions will be opened up for questions, discussion or exchange of information.

“Family members have every reason to be concerned, every reason to get information and to find out the things that can move the person who is suffering toward treatment,” Schisler said. “That rather than participating or enabling the person. You want to help, yet what looks like helping is prolonging the opportunity for treatment and recovery.”

The sessions are free and open to anyone. Participants are not required to register, give their name or any personal information.

“People disclose as little or as much as they wish,” Schisler said.

The first series attracted couples with young children, older couples and individuals, Schisler said.

“And there were a couple of people there who while they didn’t have a friend or relative with the disease, they minister to people with the disease,” she said. “They were using the sessions as an opportunity to gain new insight.”

“Loved Ones” starts Thursday, July 22, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at St. Paul Fellowship Hall. Sessions will be weekly on Thursdays and participants can attend as many as they choose.