The tragedy compounds itself when family members, friends and other loved ones are impacted, especially those whose well-intended outreach of support is rejected repeatedly by the addict.
As in all crises of the human soul, mind and spirit, help is available. But the first step lies within the convictions of the addict to create positive change. No one else can make the commitment — only he, or she, whose life hangs in the balance.
Such opportunity is coming to Cleveland on Saturday.
A three-hour workshop on drug addiction — inhalants, OTC and prescription — will be hosted in a proactive partnership between the Hiwassee Mental Health Center and the GRAAB Coalition, the latter being an acronym standing for Going Respectively Against Addictive Behaviors.
The informational, and perhaps lifesaving, seminar is being made possible through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant. For those unfamiliar with HMHC, the Hiwassee agency operates under the umbrella of the Volunteer Behavioral Health Center.
The purpose of Saturday’s free workshop is not to point fingers. Its intent is not to identify blame nor to seek an individual nor peer-pressure scapegoat. Its objective is not to demonize the user nor to cast suspicion upon one’s reasoning for turning to a life of addiction.
Instead, the session’s purpose is to help answer questions, to create awareness of helpful resources and to address the unique perspectives of those who have turned to drug abuse, whether through intended or accidental means.
Some of the workshop topics will include:
1. Why certain substances can easily become sources of addiction;
2. The nature and course of addiction and recovery;
3. Where and how to get help for yourself or someone you care about;
4. Free take-home resources and information will be available to all workshop participants; and
5. Representatives from a variety of helpful organizations will be on hand to answer questions and perhaps provide direction.
The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through noon at the Hiwassee Mental Health Center offices which are located at 940 South Ocoee St.
One of the day’s presenters understands the power of drug addiction because he has endured the twists and turns of this monster. He has lived the cycle by going from drug-free to addict and now back to drug-free. But it was not easy. His recovery became painfully necessary when his addiction led to an attempted suicide that left him physically incapacitated.
He is James Giles whose personal testimonial was published as a guest column on the Editorial Page of this newspaper in Wednesday’s edition.
In his perspective, Giles wrote, “I started out using because it made me feel that if I was having hard times, I could use and it felt good just to get out of all the chaos and frustrations. Yes, it felt good, and then it started taking control of me. I had to use more and more to keep that feeling.”
The writer’s remarkable story will be told — in person — at the workshop whose appropriate title is, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
The first 30 people to arrive at Saturday’s seminar will receive a free copy of the book by the same name. Its author is Joe Herzanek.
Few individuals, and fewer families, have never been impacted directly or indirectly by a form of drug addiction. Most people know someone, or they have heard stories of another, who have battled the demons of addiction.
Questions about Saturday’s workshop may be directed to David Webb, a licensed professional counselor at HMHC, by calling 423-643-9279.
We encourage the public’s support and participation.