Families of Addicts

Grassroots initiative reaches more than 7,000 people in Ohio

After seeing her daughter struggle with addiction, but discovering that there were few resources available, Lori Erion went ahead and started her own support group. Now she has reached thousands and is hoping to expand Families of Addicts (FOA) across the nation.

Explaining the start of her program to MariaShriver.com, Erion started out with just a simple goal of making more information available to other families.

“As a person in recovery, when I found out that my daughter was using heroin, it was an animal of a different color. I could not understand how she could walk away from help after finally finding it, how she could cut the locks off our doors to steal and manipulate me to the point of becoming insane myself. She wound up educating me more about her addiction than anybody.”

“She explained how it was for her, why she did these things. I wanted other families to have the education I was getting at home, but when I spoke to friends and co-workers about the situation, they replied with answers that made no sense. I started to think about all the families out there that didn’t have any knowledge of addiction and recovery, and about how the stigma of addiction, even for families, must be affecting them. This launched my idea to start FOA, Families of Addicts, based on my experience and having the passion to help all affected by substance use disorder. I held the first FOA meeting in Huber Heights, Ohio, in a college classroom with six people and a pack of Twizzlers. The rest is tremendous progress and history.”

“The FOA program has three components: support, advocacy and resource management and referral,” notes Erion. “Weekly meetings are formatted in open discussion, speakers and documentaries. We offer strategies for self-care, tactics to better support a loved one in active addiction, recovery or incarceration, and addiction and recovery education. We also make sure to celebrate individual milestones.”

Our goal is to build a culture of transparency to eliminate the stigma of addiction for anyone touched by it. Consequently, we hold annual rallies, outreach events and speaking engagements. Our resources include one-on-one support, coaching and networking opportunities.”

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To learn more about the impact that Families of Addicts is making in Ohio, please visit MariaShriver.com.

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