To help provide a measure of hope and support to the families of addicts, the township’s Church of the Incarnation hosts Community Connections every Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
People can either go in person to the support group or join in through Zoom in order to talk about their feelings.
“It’s a support group for people who have a family member suffering from addiction,” said Bill Dougherty, who directs the program. “We help people talk about their feelings. The group is nontraditional, as there are no sponsors or step work.
“It’s for people who don’t know where to turn for help.”
“Because loving someone struggling with addiction can be very difficult, painful, and chaotic, a community support group can help by offering peer support for anyone affected by drug addiction,” reads the church website.
The meetings as a whole are similar to gatherings of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Though Community Connections is hosted by the church, meetings are open to anyone outside it.
Those who deal with addiction in families are under great stress. Feeling like you can’t make a difference no matter what you do is a hopeless feeling many people deal with on a daily basis.
“Although there is risk, addiction is not a death sentence,” said Dougherty. “Most addicts do recover. The exaggeration that it is hopeless can create a lot of stress and anxiety. It just takes time. We try to help people take care of themselves and manage the stress and anxiety.”
According to a 2017 study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million Americans 12 and older battle a substance-use disorder. Community Connections is not led by professional counselors, but people who face addiction in their own families.
“We have people who are in the same boat that bond and bring hope with those who need it,” Dougherty noted.
New Jersey residents can contact the addiction hotline at (844) 732-2465 for help.