Susan Avery

Support group offers hope to families touched by addiction

Someone you know may be an addict; in fact, you may love an addict yourself.

Addiction to illegal substances - yes, drugs - destroys families. Using is personal to each individual, who often believes their actions affect only themselves; not surprising, because addiction to drugs is often described as an egocentric disease.

As the user destroys their life, those people around them are drawn into the insanity. Thus, they become "sick," too. That's why substance use disorder is often referred to as the "family disease."

In 1998, when addiction crossed over my threshold and entered into my family, I had no clue. I expected it to be a minor inconvenience interrupting our lives. I was sadly mistaken.

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‘I know you are out there somewhere’

‘You didn’t choose to become addicted to stuff like cocaine, crack, or heroin, but somehow it found you and then really spoke to you, lulled you into the lifestyle that has taken you away from me and your family’

Susan Avery is the author of Addicted: Our Strength Under the Influence, published in 2023 under her pen name, Annie Augustus Rose. She is a facilitator for Nar-Anon Family Groups. Dear Son, My December birthday came and went last week. I thought I might've heard from you, but I...

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Nar-Anon Family Group can help families find peace of mind

In his youth, in 1979, a young man decided, along with a schoolmate, to try marijuana. In our state, it was illegal to possess pot, which only added to the mystique of the drug. The young man and his friend continued to smoke throughout middle school and into high...

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Easing the burden of addiction, one person at a time

With the 2022 Vermont rate of 37 opioid deaths per 100,000 people, who among us is asking themselves this question: “Why does Windham County have the distinction of having the highest rate in the state at 56.4 deaths per 100,000?” No stranger to the long-term effects of the family disease of addiction, we escaped death by opioid overdose - barely. I am writing today not because I have the answer or even an answer. I am, however, writing because I...

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The value of belonging to a support group: You are not alone

The basic purpose of support groups is to provide mutual aid and emotional support for people who share the same predicament. The value of support groups has, for some time, been shown to benefit the established group as a whole. At first, it is often difficult to talk in front of strangers. However, quickly, we find we are all dealing with the same - yet, conversely, different - issues. There is, however, much support in sharing experiences. Facilitators, based upon...

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Alas, how now?

The phone rings and, under normal circumstances, you think, “I wonder who this might be.” You glance at the number on your phone's display, and your heart either begins to race or it sinks because you just know it's not going to be a hi-Mom- how-are-you-today kind of conversation. Decision time. Do I answer the call? Do I pretend the phone isn't ringing? I can easily decline by pushing a button on my phone, or I can reluctantly answer, “Hello,

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Take turns at complex intersection

You've heard this phrase most of your life: “Take turns.” First, most likely when sharing with siblings, but definitely by the time kindergarten enters your world. Many a driver in this community must have missed that important early lesson, since I continue to notice how the “me-first” mentality remains alive and well here. Specifically, I refer to our other “malfunction junction” at the base of Union Hill, where it converges with Elliot, Frost, Birge and Williams streets. So locally, here...

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Welch: Please help with Retreat

For those reading the headlines from various media outlets in Vermont, one cannot help but be troubled by headlines concerning the Brattleboro Retreat and woes of news coming from Montpelier of the denial of funding support critical to the health and future existence of this standalone organization. As I sat with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch in a roundtable discussion at the Retreat nearly two years ago alongside representatives from the various local health and human service agencies, I recall the...

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