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Group to help families of addicted

Loved Ones Group to offer support, counseling, hope

A new support group is starting that sets out to help the families who are dealing with an addict.

Called the Loved Ones Group, it will meet once a week at 11 churches in Ironton and Ashland, Kentucky for the parents, spouses or children of addicts.

Pastor Rob Hale, pastor of the Ironton First Church of the Nazarene and president of the Ironton Area Ministerial Association, said the churches had been thinking, praying and trying to find out what they could do to help with the drug epidemic. They chose the Loved Ones Group concept, which was started by Dr. Ed Hughes and The Counseling Center in Portsmouth.

“This is a group session,” he said. “It is not for the addict, it is for the mother, the father, the grandparents that are raising the children of the addict that is out on the streets.”

The meetings are different than an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting. It is geared towards teaching families the do’s and don’ts when it comes to appropriate behavior and how to cope.

The meetings are free. No enrollment or personal information is required. The group is confidential.

Hale said that Hughes has had a Love Ones Group every Wednesday night for 15 years.

“He said it works,” Hale said, explaining that there is a lot of misinformation and the common person doesn’t always understand how addiction works. “Hughes breaks it down; why your loved one is addicted, why they can’t kick the addiction and what you can do to help them. This is to help them understand what they can do to help their addicted son or daughter and not enable them.”

Hale said that sometimes, people inadvertently enable their loved ones so they can continue the lifestyle they are in.

“So, Dr. Hughes teaches us how, through a six week series of videos, what we can do,” he said. The sessions are free and the Facebook page, Loved Ones Group Ashland-Ironton, has a complete list of churches and times.

Hale said he got involved because they didn’t know what to do to help.

“There are a lot of programs out there for addicts; within a 50-mile radius of Ironton and Ashland, there are 57 rehab houses or facilities,” he said. “There aren’t programs for the grandparents that are raising three kids at home because their daughter is out on the street. This is a way we thought we could help.”

Hale said that people from 33 people from 11 different churches met at King’s Daughters Medical Center two months ago and met with Hughes to be trained to facilitate the Loved Ones Group program.

“I asked Dr. Hughes, ‘If we do this, will it help,’ he said, ‘Absolutely,” Hale recalled. “But he said ‘the way this program is one person at a time, one family at a time. If you help one family, it will be worth it.’”