Lakewood’s ME/WE Family Education And Support Group – Update!

The Lakewood ME/WE Family Education and Support Group has been meeting on Saturday mornings at Lakewood’s Cove Community Center since May 13, 2023. The meeting can be accessed both virtually and in person. This unique program which provides education and support for family members who are concerned about a loved one’s abuse or addictive use of alcohol or other drugs is the only such program which is funded and supported by a municipality. Sponsorship of the program is made possible by Opioid Settlement funding. The meetings are facilitated by Jim Joyner a licensed chemical dependency counselor clinical supervisor who has over 50 years of professional experience in the field of substance use disorder treatment, prevention, education and professional training.

From it’s beginning almost a year ago, the meeting attendance has grown to an average of more than 15 persons per meeting. The program is different than most other family support programs in that it offers education covering 10 different topics over a 12-week cycle as well as facilitator lead peer support group. Participants learn what addiction is and what it is not. They learn how to offset the negative impact a loved one’s addiction can have on family members. A key fact is that the Group specifically addresses the impact of the disease and particular suffering of family members of those who have the disease. They are taught how to reset healthy boundaries and that their loved one’s addiction is not their fault, not their fix and not their fight. The peer support group portion of the meeting provides a safe and understanding opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings and be supported in their efforts to affirm the importance of self-care.

Over the last 8 months, it has been heartwarming to watch this group come together and healing start to happen. “I can see myself change in how I talk to my daughter now,” one attendee said at a recent meeting after she described her experience before she started attending the meetings. “I have a plan now for when he comes home,” says another, whose loved one is soon to be discharged from a treatment program. “This program has changed the way I approach not only the relationship with my son, but with all my other relationships as well,” says a third person.

It is powerful to experience the connection between people who once felt alone in their anxiety about their suffering loved ones, who now feel the comfort and strength from others who have shared their own experience of the disease. While there is a particular camaraderie in the hybrid version that is unusual, whether in-person or online, all can experience and see healing in themselves and others as it happens.

I am thrilled that the City of Lakewood offers this unique opportunity to learn, heal and grow to families who have undergone the ravages of Substance Use Disorder (SUD). As a citizen of Lakewood, I am proud our city stepped up to use available funds to be a unique and real part of the solution to the terrible problem of alcohol and other drugs in our community! Lakewood is a wonderful example to other cities in our County and elsewhere.

If you have any questions or if you would like to participate in the Saturday weekly meeting, please call (216) 780-3883 Monday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You MUST pre-register to participate.

Chitra Walker is Community Resource Specialist, Lakewood Area Collaborative, Division of Youth.

Chitra Walker

 Chitra Walker   Community Resource Specialist

The Lakewood Area Collaborative  -Division of Youth

Cove Community Center

12525 Lake Avenue

Lakewood, OH 44107

216.529.6048 | Cell: 216.978.8236

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Volume 20, Issue 9, Posted 2:53 PM, 05.08.2024