HUNTINGTON — The pain caused by addiction isn't simply siloed to those who suffer directly from it. Families and friends, forced to reckon with a loved one's substance abuse, can just as quickly and constantly be dragged into despair.

But while there are a slew of resources available for treating those struggling with addiction, support for those who feel that secondary pain and confusion from another's addiction is a need not so wholly addressed.

Starting in September, St. Mary's Medical Center will host weekly and monthly support group meetings at five locations in Huntington for families and friends to learn to effectively communicate and navigate with a loved one during their addiction.

"Our society puts a lot of resources in helping those with substance use disorder, but not a lot of time is spent on the family," said the Rev. Greg Creasy, director of St. Mary's Department of Spiritual Care and Mission.

"The whole purpose of this is to bring people together and teach them how they can talk with their loved ones - not in conflict when we talk, but in helping them approach their loved ones so that they can have a conversation about (their addiction)."

Teaching families to cultivate an atmosphere of conversation, rather than just confronting their loved ones, creates a more likely home environment to lead them into recovery, Creasy said. Classes teach effective communication skills, learning to be positive and cut down on stigmatic language, and to be clear about emotions without imposing them.

The groups are an affiliate of Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center (KPCC) and are free and open to the public.

To register or for more information, call the corresponding numbers below.

The schedule for the weekly groups is:

n Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 5

WHERE: St. Mary's Conference Center, 2849 5th Ave., Huntington

Leaders: Jordan Jobe and Noha Khoury-Bailey

More information: 304-526-1188

n Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 5

WHERE: PROACT, 800 20th St., Huntington

Leader: Rodney Adkins

More information: 304-696-8715

n Wednesdays at 6 p.m., beginning Sept. 11

WHERE: Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, 1135 5th Ave., Huntington

Leader: Katherine Allgood

More information: 304-525-5441

n Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 18

WHERE: Madison Avenue Church of God, 1201 Madison Ave., Huntington

Leader: Deb Winters

More information: 304-529-4757

n The schedule for the monthly group is:

Third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 16

WHERE: Apostolic Life Cathedral, 350 Staunton St., Huntington

Leader: Stephen Kuntzman

More information: 304-525-4204


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