AYC begins family recovery program

By Joseph Slacian

A new family recovery support group has started at The Access Youth Center (AYC).

The group – Access Recovery Family Style – will meet from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays at The Access, 74 W. Canal St., and from 6-8 Fridays at Wabash Alliance Church, 1200 N. Cass St. Meals will be served at both sites.

Melissa Middleton will lead programming at both locations.

The new group was made possible through a round of emergency relief grants, according to AYC Director Liz Hobbs.

The organization, she said, was contacted by Wabash County United Fund Executive Director Steve Johnson about the grant.

“But there was a difference in that the grant was going to have a quick turnaround time,” she said. “Like maybe the money will be released to those approved in March, but it had to be spent by July.”

AYC officials had discussed doing some type of recovery program in the past.

“When I mentioned that to Steve from United Fund, he said, ‘You know, part of this grant is for addition and recovery and resources and help,’ Hobbs continued. “All areas of life have been affected by COVID-19, and recovery is no different. That’s kind of where it all started.

“It’s all happening very quickly, and we’re excited about it.”

Middleton said that family support is an important part of recovery.

“So many times you have the person that is in recovery, yet we all know the whole family is impacted as well,” she said. “So, a lot of times what happens is the focus is on them and not necessarily on the family, while the person needs that support and understanding.”

She stressed that the focus of the new group will be on family support.

“It’s very clear on our webpage that we’re not AA, we’re not NA, we’re not Celebrate Recovery,” she said. “We’re just opening up for family recovery, providing education, resources and support.”

Those who attend, she said, will simply be asked such things as what do you need, how can we support you and how can we help you on this journey?

While the new support group isn’t like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, it will help those in need of such organizations find the help needed.

“We’re putting together a resource card with recovery information from our local recovery community,” Hobbs said. “As we were putting this together, I discovered to AA groups that I didn’t know about that are open to anyone. We’re going to have Celebrate Recovery from Olive Branch Church on there. We’re going to have Brianna’s Hope from the First United Methodist Church on there. We’re going to have our other local recovery groups on there, just so they have all that information together and know.

“And, also, as Melissa said, we’re providing support, encouragement, education.”

Organizers also hope to reach those who have not sought help in the past.

“We’re hopeful that with some of the relationships The Access has built over the years, maybe someone will feel comfortable enough to walk through the door for the first time. We just want to reach out to families because addiction affects us as a whole, so healing has to happen as a whole.”

Programs will be geared toward individual needs.

“We know that recovery is not a one-size fits all,” Middleton said. “That’s why we’re open to having discussions on what will fit you best. What do you feel like you can learn from or engage in?”

Organizers tried to pick meeting nights when access to recovery groups was either limited or non-existent.

“We picked Wednesday and Friday because we looked at what’s going on in Wabash County and we ended up with those two nights so that there can be a contact and support place, something there so people can reach out and tap into.”

What’s important, Hobbs said, is having a destination available.

“People outside the recovery community don’t understand or don’t know, it is about having a destination available,” she said.

“When you are in AA or other step groups and are struggling or just starting out, the thing is 30 meetings in 30 days. But if those meetings, if those touchpoints, aren’t available locally, then that becomes an issue as well, especially for people who just can’t jump into a car and drive to Marion, or Huntington, or Peru, for a day that they would have a meeting and maybe Wabash doesn’t.

“That’s an important piece to remember, especially when we talk about Friday nights.”

Another issue, Middleton said, is child care, or lack thereof.

“With family recovery, that’s not an issue,” she said. “Bring the kids. We’re going to have a meal and we’re going to sit down together. While there may be some time or some discussion time where’s there’s separation, there will be group time where we’re all sitting together for that.”

Both The ACY and the church have areas where youth can get away to while the adults have discussion, Hobbs noted.

The meeting format will be decided by the group.

“What’s going on this week? Is there a topic anyone has?” Middleton said, explaining how a meeting may start. “If not, we can go without topics. We have various resources and materials that we can pull from. But if not, let’s talk about gratitude today, or let’s talk about relapse and prevention today.

“We may end up touching on several different areas.”

The program has funding for 18 weeks.

“Our hope is, our goal is, to make Access Recovery a part of the Access schedule,” Hobbs said, noting that the 18 weeks “gives us a chance to see what the need is, where the need is and gives us a chance to let others know.”

Posted on 2021 Mar 30