Middlefield group reaches families, friends affected by substance abuse

Middlefield group reaches families, friends affected by substance abuse

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There’s a new support group for families and loved ones affected by substance abuse and addiction.

Hope and Support Group is sponsored by Durham-Middlefield Youth and Family Services and facilitated by TriCircle, Inc., a Wallingford-based nonprofit that provides resources for people and families affected by substance abuse and addiction.

Betsy Dean, DMYFS executive director, said the agency hosted a seminar on opioids with medical professionals, police and people in recovery. She said the discussion after the meeting revealed a “lack of support groups in our area for family and friends of those in recovery.”

“They need the support, too,” she added.

Hope and Support Group began meeting in October after TriCircle approached them in late August. The group is the first of its kind in Middlefield, Dean said, adding to the list of services DMYFS provides on prevention and community awareness.

“We do a lot of work in the community around prescription drugs, proper disposal, talking to physicians about prescriptions,” Dean said. The agency is able to refer people to other organizations for help with substance abuse and addiction issues, but for families and friends, the support group meets a need that hasn’t been addressed.

Two trained facilitators, a licensed professional and a paraprofessional with lived experience, lead the group, according to a news release from TriCircle.

“Having someone in your life or family struggling with the disease of addiction systemically affects … entire families,” said Ana Gopoian, TriCircle founder.

“Often the stigma and isolation caused by the disease is just as detrimental as the disease itself,” she said. “Our Hope and Support Group can help families and other loved ones break the isolation and stigma by providing a safe place to openly share and support each other.”

Group attendance has been small as word-of-mouth has spread. People who attended are seeking their place within the relationship with their loved one struggling with substance abuse, Gopoian said.

They work on self-care, setting boundaries and reestablishing trust with their loved ones. They’re also learning that they’re only responsible for themselves.

“When the parent, guardian or loved one changes, there’s a good chance the loved one will change,” she said.

TriCircle is working on opening an office in Yalesville. Gopoian said the five-year business plan projection and bylaws have been completed, and that they raised more than $40,000 last year.

Hope and Support Group meets the third Tuesday of the month, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Middlefield Federated Church, 402 Main St.



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