When a family member is struggling with addiction, everyone suffers.
Shame, guilt, fear and isolation. These are just a few of
the emotions that come with addiction. "Everything the addict feels, the family feels," according to Irene Sherlock, LMFT and an addiction
counselor at MCCA.
Sherlock runs a weekly group called How to Cope for family members that have been impacted by a loved one's addiction
and she has seen how devastating this disease is to families. "People
have no place to go with these feelings and they
almost always feel they are the only one's going through it."
“How to Cope provided an opportunity for me to
talk, listen and learn in a safe, comfortable environment. I finally
felt like it wasn’t just my husband and I living with addiction.”
How to Cope provides a safe,
supportive environment for family members to share their feelings and
learn about the disease of addiction. This seven week course provides
guidance, support and a road map for families to start the recovery
When a family member or loved one is addicted,
it puts tremendous stress on everyone. Adding to the stress, is the
embarrassment and shame that often keeps people from seeking help.
Sherlock has also seen how depleted couples become when they have a child that
is dealing with addiction. "All of their resources are going into
helping their child, there is nothing left for the relationship and it
almost always suffers."
Launched in Ridgefield two years ago, close to 100 families have benefited from How to Cope and the response has been
overwhelmingly positive. This program differs from Al-Anon in that there are seven
focused sessions run by a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
who specializes in treating addiction.
Participants are given the
support and skills to help them move forward in a positive
direction. Setting and establishing boundaries is a key element of the program.
“How to Cope put my son’s addiction in an understandable context and reminded us to think about and protect our own needs.” H.T., Wilton
When family members and friends begin to take
charge and reconstruct their own lives, the addicted person often begins to seek help. For some families, participating in How to Cope proved to be a turning point for them and the family member who was dealing with addiction.
Because the groups are small and confidential,
participants are free to open up and share with each other. For many,
this is the first time they are able to talk about the pain and struggle of having an addicted family member.
The next sessions of How to Cope start on Thursday, February 27th at 6pm in Danbury. The groups are small, private and confidential and meet in the evenings.
Contact Irene Sherlock by email at:
email@example.com or call at 203-456-0528.
Need-based financial assistance is available.