It may sound strange, but Susan* is glad her daughter is in jail. That way at least she knows that Amber’s* not using drugs or alcohol.
Around the age of 14, Amber starting smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Not much later, she landed in juvenile drug court for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Despite jail time, she turned to heroin, and at age 19, Amber came to her parents begging for their help. After a 90-day stint in a rehabilitation facility, Amber picked up and left for New York, only to beg for help again a few months later. Susan and her husband crossed the country, brought Amber back to Colorado and checked her into another facility, this time for four months.
“Ten days after she got out, she was using heroin again,” Susan said. “She’s 23 now and I thank god she’s in jail, because there, I know she is safe.”
Today Susan co-facilitates a group that meets every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at SummitStone’s Bristlecone clinic. It is officially called the “Support Group for Loved Ones of those who Abuse Alcohol or Other Drugs.” It is free to attend, open to anyone over 18, and there is no ongoing commitment to attend every week.
“For an hour and a half, I don’t feel alone,” she said. “The goal is not to talk about ‘that person’ but what we can do to help ourselves and encourage each other.”
The group discussion often turns to the concept of detachment and letting go of the co-dependency group members often suffer from wanting to save their loved ones. “You have to detach yourself from that person, but detach with love,” Susan said. “You always hope that the last time would be it, but seeing hope dashed time and time again, I had to realize that it’s out of my control. So, we focus on self-care too, because we can’t control it and we can’t fix them.”
The Open Support Group is co-facilitated by a SummitStone employee and meets weekly. For questions or more information, contact SummitStone at (970) 494-4379.
*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.