By Crystal McGough, copy editor
PINSON — When someone has a family member or loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be devastating. Often, the addicted person’s family feels alone as they try to cope with feelings of heartache, fear, anger, anxiety and confusion. They can feel as though their loved one’s addiction has put a scarlet letter on the entire family, and find themselves trying to manage their lives and circumstances alone out of fear of the shame that could potentially come if anyone were to find out.
Family members of addicted people tend to blame themselves, and the belief that they are somehow to blame is often reinforced by society.
Walking through the fallout of a loved one’s addiction alone can leave a person feeling angry, isolated and without hope. The common belief that they are the “only one,” and that there is no one they can turn to and trust for help, can be overwhelming. However, there is help and community available, not only for those battling addiction, but for their loved ones, as well.
Agape Church in Pinson will be offering a free class this summer to help those who have been affected by a loved one’s addiction walk through the healing process. The class, Hope for the Journey, will be held at the church on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. from June 12 — July 17. A free meal is also included with the class.
“The class will be a time of encouragement and processing for loved ones of drug addicted people,” said Kevin Small, who will be leading the class. “I will be…sharing my journey: both the times I was a hero and when I was a heel, hoping that I can share lessons I have learned and let people know they are not alone in this experience.”
Small said that the class will also feature testimonials from other people who have walked through the journey of loving someone facing addiction.
“Some have lost their loved ones and others are still hoping,” he said. We have several families who have walked this journey and we plan to share lessons learned and hopefully stories that will serve as an encouragement.”
There will also be a pharmacologist at one of the classes who will speak on the science and chemistry of addiction.
“This is an ever growing issue in the community,” Small said. “Unfortunately, a lot of the assumptions and attitudes about addiction lead to families dealing with this issue in silence and alone. The main purpose of this class is to send the message if you have a loved one or friend who is struggling with addiction, you are not alone — both in the sense that others are experiencing this journey and there are people willing to walk side by side on this journey.”
While Hope for the Journey will be Agape Church’s first class on this specific issue, it is part of a quarterly class offered through the church’s Agape U program. Other classes Agape U has offered include parenting classes such as Families Count, Thriving Relationally and Exploring Depression.
Agape U will also be offering a Families Count parenting class this summer at the same time as the Hope for the Journey class, and Small said that he expects that Agape U will offer the Hope for the Journey class again in the future.
For more information on Hope for the Journey, or any other programs offered through Agape U, please call (205) 810-1270 or email Info@agapepinson.com.