Addiction in Coweta Community

Resources available for recovery

by Clay Neely

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and last installment in a Sunday series on the spread of drug addiction, including prescription pills, heroin and other opiates in Coweta. The series looked at drug use, treatment options – or lack of – as well as what law enforcement, the medical community and the judicial branch are facing.

For many substance abuse addicts, getting sober isn’t the difficult part. Instead, staying clean proves to be the biggest hurdle in conquering addiction. For many, sobriety is a lifelong tightrope act .

There is no “one size fits all” recovery program, though Coweta is fortunate to have a large support group network.

Since 1953, Narcotics Anonymous has been largely accepted as one of the first stops on the road to recovery. NA holds meetings six days a week in Newnan. The organization follows a 12-step program, offering help from peers and providing an ongoing support network.

For those seeking a faith-based approach to rehabilitation, Celebrate Recovery is an international, Christian-based 12-step program which meets at SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan. The program originated in 1991 at the Saddleback Church in Southern California. Bill Larkey is the ministry leader for the program in Newnan.

“We do things a little differently than other 12-step programs,” Larkey said. “Regardless, we deal with any kind of hurt, habit or hang-up. Substance abuse is one of the many things that interferes with pursuing a happy and productive life.”

Speaking as a recovering alcoholic, Larkey believes one of the challenges many addicts face is simply walking through the door of a recovery program.

“It takes effort to garner the courage to come through the door. There is the fear of not knowing what to expect,” Larkey said. “We try to offer a safe place where all are welcomed and not judged.”

Larkey said there is a large network of available resources in the community.

“We don’t feel that we’re the only game in town. We offer a unique program.” Larkey said. “However, no matter where a person may find it, we want them to have recovery, period.”

Celebrate Recovery isn’t just for those seeking help from their addictions. The program also offers support for family and friends with a loved one who is suffering from addiction. “They have their needs just as the person with the addiction has,” Larkey said. “Their needs should be addressed as well.”

While many support organizations are available to those attempting to reclaim their lives, there is another designed to help those who are grieving from the victims of an addiction.

Patricia Rudd, who lost her son Tyler at the age of 20 to an overdose last October, is in the process of starting a GRASP chapter in Coweta County.

GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) was founded to help provide sources to help families or individuals who have had a loved one die as a result of substance abuse or addiction.

“To many it is not realized or accepted that addictions are as much a disease as any other medical illness,” Rudd said. “A common misconception is that overdose deaths are suicides. In most cases this is simply not true. GRASP was founded to help provide sources of help, compassion, and most of all, understanding, for families or individuals who have had a loved one die as a result of substance abuse or addiction.”

Rudd champions GRASP for being a support group for those who may struggle with the stigma of losing a loved one to their addiction.

“We believe that all grieving is real and want to help members feel comfortable in a safe environment where they can freely talk about their loved one, their lifestyle, and their addictions without being looked down upon,” Rudd said.

While many addiction treatments may vary in length, the ability to control and maintain one’s new life is crucial. By understanding that the disease of addiction is chronic, it’s imperative to recognize triggers that will inevitably be part of the journey to a lifelong recovery.

Regardless of the method of treatment, the unifying theme in recovery is simply staying on the path, regardless of the circumstances that life will bring.

“No matter what treatment you seek, it’s all about the same goal,” Larkey said. “It’s important for people to know that, no matter what, someone has their back and is ready to help.”



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