With few options for support groups in the area, Linda Greene-Williams is hoping the Al-Anon meetings in Eddyville help more families in the region dealing with the alcoholism and substance abuse of a loved one.
For just more than a year, Al-Anon meetings have been hosted each Wednesday at the former city hall building in Eddyville. On average, each session for families and loved ones of addicts draws 5-10 people. That's a good number, but Greene-Williams, who is one of those people dealing with substance abuse by someone close to her, knows the need is much greater.
"Support groups are never going to do anything but help you," she said.
Several of the regulars at the local meetings are from out of town, allowing a bit of anonymity for the loved ones still coming to grips with their loved one's problem with alcohol or drugs. But Greene-Williams said there has never been a breach of trust from the group.
"We might see each other out, but no one ever talks about it in those situations," she said.
Anyone struggling with caring for, living with or loving someone with alcoholism or drug abuse is welcomed at Al-Anon meetings at any time. Just show up, Greene-Williams said.
"If you've never been to one, give it five meetings," she said.
"Like with any support group, it takes a few meetings to open up. You don't have to say a word."
Meetings are not for the abusers themselves. They are also closed, meaning you have to be dealing with the problem to join in. Outsiders are not permitted in order to offer the security and comfort of anonymity.
"It's more about getting the loved one well," she said. "You didn't cause it, you can't cure it."
Meetings offer a support system, strength and suggestions on new ways to cope with the problem for those affected by the problem that can affect anyone despite race, socio-economic class or any other variable. Many times, survivors blame themselves for the abuser's ongoing problem and offer enabling behavior. They may even get addicted to offering help.
Sometimes, detaching is the only thing a family member can do.
"You almost have to detach with love," Greene-Williams said. "It's the hardest thing to do, but you don't quite praying or hoping."
Meetings start at 6 p.m. each Wednesday at the former city hall on the corner of Commerce Street and West Dale Avenue. Other meeting locations can be found on Al-Anon.org.
For additional information, contact Greene-Williams at 270-625-5030.