Battling an epidemic (and beyond)



As the Battling an Epidemic series wraps up with today’s edition, the focus will turn to the importance of support group meetings as part of the addiction recovery process, the benefits of participating, as well as locations of meetings throughout Blount County.

There is no question that recovery is hard, but what about aftercare? Anyone recovering from substance abuse not only has to remain focused on staying clean, but they also have areas in their life that may need to be enhanced as their recovery journey continues. These areas might include the recovering addict feeling empowered by the success of others, being able to express themselves without being judged or isolated, as well as improving social skills and increasing self-understanding.

With the help of support or self-help groups, the recovering addict is provided an opportunity to be with people who have a common purpose, are more likely to understand one another, and get any community education or advocacy they may need. During support group meetings, the recovering addict not only can share personal stories, express emotions, and be heard in an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, and encouragement, they also gain strength and empowerment from others.

Support groups also help participants realize they are not alone in their battle or are not the only one with a particular issue. In addition, support groups help them discover more effective ways to deal with stress and handle different situations, thus lowering some of the distress that they often feel.

There are groups to help with a variety of struggles all over the world. One of the most known support groups worldwide is Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA), a 12-step program of established guidelines for the best way to overcome alcohol addiction.

Although the 12 steps are based on spiritual principles, it is not a religious group. Its language emphasizes the presence of God as each participant understands him, allowing for different interpretations and religious beliefs. These groups meet nightly several times during the week.

Blount County offers AA meetings located in Allgood at Blount County AA Group (trailer behind Shiloh Methodist Church), at Freedom and Hope AA Group on Main Street in Blountsville, and at Hayden Methodist Church AA Group off Third Street in Hayden.

In addition to AA, local Celebrate Recovery meetings are held weekly at CrossRoads Baptist Church in Hayden and Lester Memorial United Methodist Church in Oneonta. Celebrate Recovery meetings offer a Christ-centered recovery program to help people gain freedom from life’s hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

There are also self-help groups in adjoining counties to help accommodate conflicts of schedules or provide a better time for one to attend. Support groups can be both enjoyable and rewarding. But choosing the right one for you is important. If you find yourself attending one that you are not comfortable with attending, don’t just quit attending. Be sure to look at any other options available for one that may be better suited for your particular needs.