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To the editor: 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 their personal experiences, guide and offer perspective that lends itself to look at a whole picture. Yet, it takes practice not to address the many parts of a sum total problem, but to take each segment, and then figure out the best way to address the situation. This is also our “one day at a time” approach. And sometimes for us, it is one minute, one hour or whatever time increment you may need to apply until you find a solution that works for you.

The goals of our support group, Nar-Anon Family Group, is to assist in strengthening our coping skills and to provide accurate information to our members. Individual participation in a group not only helps the person but more frequently will offer their insights to others.

The value of the group lends itself to understand that issues discussed are not unique to you and that you are not alone. Helpful suggestions are made which can affect your entire family yet it is important to take what you perceive as personally helpful and “let the rest go.”

For the past many years, members of my family have been deeply affected by substance use disorder, more frequently called addiction. With certainty I can remark of the long-term effect thereof. Yet, also, during this same time, our family has been able to take advantage of the long-term effect of a particular support group called Nar-Anon Family Group.

We have lived through the challenges and heartache that addiction to illegal substance brought to our household. Can I say we survived? The answer is “yes.” We are a collaboration, a sum total of our experience.

In closing, I will speak my truth as I speak from my experience. While my story is not the same as your story, nonetheless, it is valid and written with complete honesty. I am transparent.

“If a person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” Pooh’s Little Instructional Book inspired by A. A. Milne.

Susan Avery

Brattleboro, April 2

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