The road to recovery from addiction is never easy at any age. But one program focuses on young adults. Sobriety Now is for those ages 16 to 20 who are recovering from substance abuse. The program is offered through Edmond Family Counseling free of charge and is facilitated by Darcy Eitzmann,
“It’s simply a support group; it’s not a therapy group,” she said. “The purpose is to provide a site for adolescents and young adults who are interested in sobriety to get together regularly in a safe environment to give and receive support.”
The community needs-assessment survey that Edmond Family Counseling conducts each year identified drugs and alcohol as the main issue of concern among residents. “Substance abuse is always the number one need in Edmond,” Eitzmann said. Sobriety Now is trying to address that. “Attending adult AA meetings — that doesn’t really work. You have 15-, 16-, 13-year-old girls attending meetings with middle-aged men, it’s not exactly comfortable.”
Sobriety Now started in December and welcomes new members — young adults from inpatient and outpatient programs, teens who are referred to the program by a counselor and anyone who is coping with addiction at a young age. The group meets weekly and is discussion-based. Topics include factors of addiction, the process of addiction, emotions, triggers, shame vs. guilt, slippery people and places, coping, support and planning.
Edmond Family Counseling works closely with the court system. Eitzmann said a lot of the teens are arrested on charges related to drugs and alcohol, including minor possession of alcohol, minor intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI. “There is a lot that goes on that people just don’t realize and it’s serious.”
According to the latest report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, every day 2,500 teens ages 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. The report also shows that prescription drugs were the drug of choice among 12- and 13-year-olds. The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that during the 30 days prior to the survey, 42 percent of the interviewed high school students drank some amount of alcohol, 24 percent binge drank, 10 percent drove after drinking alcohol and 28 percent rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
Young adults who want to make a change in their life and maintain their sobriety, Eitzmann explained, have to change their social settings. “Whenever you look at making a life change and you look at not using drugs and not drinking and not partying anymore, you have to change your friends and that’s very, very hard to do.” That’s where Sobriety Now steps in. A 16-year-old, who is part of the program, said it is a “cool place to meet other people who are trying to do the same thing — not drink and use drugs.” A 17-year-old female member said, “It has been good for me in making new friends and not feeling alone in my recovery.”
Eitzmann said that in today’s world where teens are overexposed to drugs and alcohol and where access is easy, the role of the parents is crucial. “What we see so much is the lack of parental involvement, the lack of parents knowing what is going on with their children.” She wants to encourage young people and their families to deal with the issues together and keep trying different approaches until finding what works best for them. “If you are unsure what to do, consult a professional. Unfortunately, these situations do not come with manuals,” she said. “My biggest reward is seeing young people grow in changing their perspectives and turning the course of their future.”
Teens and young adults who are recovering from substance abuse also can find support by joining some of the other groups available in the Edmond area. Henderson Hills Baptist Church and Memorial Road Church of Christ offer The Landing, a series of classes that are part of the popular Celebrate Recovery program, designed specifically for young people. The sessions are based on several steps and principles, such as admitting that there is a problem and becoming aware of the need for personal change. The sessions are open for teens in any stage of the recovery process. They could be struggling not only with substance abuse but also with any emotional issue or bad habit. The topics are coordinated with the adult groups and the group for children ages 6 to 12, called Celebration Station, so that the whole family can take part in the recovery process.
“Addiction is not just the addict. The addict might be the one that shows the signs of addiction, but it affects the whole family,” said Chuck Robinson, Director of Transformation Recovery at Henderson Hills. “From our perspective and from the perspective of Celebrate Recovery, the whole family has to get into recovery in order for recovery to happen.”
“The Landing is a program where they can find people, friends, peers of like minds that are trying to find a place of belonging, a place of hope, purpose in life, all of those things,” said Micah Hobbs, Celebrate Recovery Ministry Leader at Memorial Road Church of Christ.
For meeting times or locations, visit www.edmondfamilycounseling.org, www.hhbc.com and www.mrcc.org. Sobriety Now at Edmond Family Counseling meets Thursday nights 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 1251 N. Broadway, Suite C.