Those Who Love Someone with Addiction Find Support at PILLARS Group
Left untreated, addiction is a wrecking ball – destroying careers, relationships, finances and even life itself.
Ultimately, the repercussions of addiction affect everyone in its path – from the person struggling to overcome it to their families and friends. That’s why loving an addict, and supporting them through the highs and lows of their struggle, can be so devastating.
Grief, anxiety, anger and fear are common as families watch loved ones addicted to drugs and alcohol push the limit. Feeling ashamed and isolated only makes the situation harder.
Kacie Maxwell has been there. That’s why she decided to start PILLARS of Monroe County support group with help from Human Support Services (HSS).
“My brother passed away of an overdose a little over seven years ago and I feel if something like this was around back then it would have been helpful for my family and I,” Maxwell said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.”
When Maxwell’s brother, Jason, died in 2012, she and her parents were lost. She knew he was struggling, but didn’t know where to turn and felt she had no one to confide in. Jason was just 30 years old.
Earlier this year, Maxwell reached out to Anne Riley, executive director of HSS, about starting a group. Since early fall, PILLARS support group has been meeting at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the HSS office in Columbia at 960 Columbia Centre.
“As an organization that provides individuals with substance use issues a path to recovery, we’re very familiar with the toll addiction can take on loved ones,” Riley said. “We’d been looking for the opportunity to start a support group like this for some time. Thanks to our partnership with Kacie, PILLARS is definitely fulfilling a need here in Monroe County.”
The PILLARS support group aims to be an open space where anyone who loves someone who lives with an addiction – or lost someone to addiction – can come to share or listen. There’s no sign-in sheet and there are no RSVPs.
“It’s mostly an outlet to come and talk with people who know what you’re growing through,” Maxwell said. “There is no judgement. People don’t even say their names so it’s completely anonymous. We don’t talk about it outside the meetings either.”
The meetings are completely free and carry no expectation for other services with HSS. Maxwell hopes to eventually add in guest speakers and educational aspects.
“It makes me feel really good to see other people attending meetings and opening up and sharing,” Maxwell said. “I hope it’s helping them. That makes me feel as though this tragic event in my life has some good come out of it in the end.”
All PILLARS meetings are open to anyone who would like to attend. No attendance is taken and no names are required. Meetings are completely free.