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Murray Journal

Free help offered to family members dealing with a loved one’s addiction

Nov 01, 2017 01:42PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Michelle Robertson, Ryan Sturdevant and Megan Sturdevant of Recovery Ways provide a free family and friend’s resource meeting in aiding addicted loved ones. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

Megan Sturdevant knows firsthand the trials that families go through when a loved one has substance abuse issues. 

Megan was completing her social work degree, with the idea of working with children, when her brother Ryan was suffering from substance abuse. She changed her education focus to addiction treatment in order to help treat him. Fortunately, Ryan is now in recovery, and Megan is now a clinical director at Recovery Ways at Brunswick Place in Murray.

Recovery Ways is offering a free program to everyone interested in learning more about addiction, mental illness and the tools they need to take control of their lives, families, and community. The aim of the program is not to educate attendees on what Recovery Way does, but what things can be helpful for them in aiding addicted loved ones.

The meetings will run as closed groups for four consecutive weeks, each week covering a different topic. On the fifth week there will be an open meeting for Q&A and/or a guest speaker; space is limited to 16 participants.

Ryan, speaking from his experience, stated, “Family members are concerned and are trying to help out. A lot of people, when they’re trying to step in and help, they say, ‘Okay, this person is ready for treatment and we can get them in.’ The reality is there’s a ton of hurdles that you have to overcome and a ton of things that families never ever think about.” 

The five-week friends and family resource meeting will be given by trained clinicians who will discuss mental health and the disease of addiction. Those interested do not need to have a family member in Recovery Ways. Ryan, who is now an associate clinical mental health counselor, and his sister Megan, will lead the dialogue. Also, Michelle Robertson, a licensed substance abuse counselor, who herself had to endure family members coping with addition, will be on hand to help provide resources to participants.

“Family members become as sick as the addict. That happened to me,” said Robertson. The best thing she learned through her experience and wants to share with others, is to not let the child’s addiction dominate your life but also to live your own life and to be well in your own house. She added, “Because whatever is going to happen with the addict is going to happen regardless.”

Ryan concurs, “Family members are really happy when a relative with an addiction comes to them for help, and typically they will seek the first option available to them. The reality of it is that the first option might not be the best option. So what we are trying to do is educate them to the ton of options out there.”

Guilt and a sense of failure are common for parents of an addicted child. Robertson hopes the meetings will provide perspective. She further hopes that parents will learn that an addicted child is not necessarily a shortcoming as a parent. Also, it’s important for the family to learn what healthy roles are and how to move forward in a healthy way.

The community information meetings are held every Wednesday at Recovery Ways at Brunswick Place, 4848 Commerce Dr. in Murray. Those interested in attending should contact Megan Sturdevant at (385) 212-4476.