Helping kids and their caregivers in northern Ohio

Occasionally I get emails from reader and supporters of A Place for Mary, with suggested help groups dedicated to aiding families and loved ones of addicts.  One such organization that was recently brought to my attention was Project Noelle.

Keli Clark lost her daughter, Noelle in December 2017 to a drug overdose.  Noelle left behind three young sons. Her youngest two, identical twin boys, then 4 years old are being raised by Keli, their grandmother.  As a result of this tragedy and the responsibility placed on her shoulders, Keli realized that her situation was probably not unique and was compelled to do something to help others.

Too often, children are left behind to be cared for by grandparents or other relatives when addiction causes the parent(s) to become incapable of providing a safe home, or are in prison, or have suffered the ultimate toll, death.  Often, these new caregivers are unprepared to deal with raising children again, or for the first time.  They are forced to handle their grief at the same time as they learn to navigate their new parenting responsibilities.

Affected children might now have safe living environments, but they too need help to comprehend the sudden change in their lives; where their parent have gone, why they might not be coming back, and help to understand that its not their fault.

Project Noelle tries to fill these needs.  They offer emergency clothing and diapers, back-to-school haircuts, and Christmas and other holiday gift baskets for kids.  Support groups are available for children aged 5-12, teens and grandparents raising grandchildren, as well as grief support for those who have lost someone to addiction.  They also, with the help of donations and generous sponsors, organize events for kids and caretakers, such as an annual luau party with games, prizes, food and face painting, as well as concerts and toy drives.

*The current Covid-19 pandemic has forced a change in the format of these types of fun events, but they still continue in a creative online format via Zoom.   

A sample of upcoming 2020 events and support chats include: (registration for all events can be found at the Project Noelle website – www.projectnoelle.com)

Virtual Luau – a Hawaiian Luau Party – Sunday July 26, 2020 from 2-3pm.  Ariel and Spiderman will be joining the Zoom party!  Every kid gets a free luau bag!

Eyes Wide Open – Teen Talking Circles – for girls aged 13-17 – Wednesday August, 2020 from 7-8pm

Game Changers – for guys aged 13-17 – Thursday August 6, 2020 from 7-8pm

Project Noelle is based in Sandusky, Ohio and reaches out to 14 northern Ohio counties.

You can reach Executive Director, Keli Clark via email at: projectnoellehelps@gmail.com for further information.

Here’s a list of all the counties that Project Noelle serves, and the contact person in each:

Ashtabula County-   Natalie Miller           nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Crawford County-    Keli Clark                   keliclark@projectnoelle.org
Cuyahoga County –  Shilo Tenbrook         shilotenbrook@projectnoelle.org
Erie County:              Evelyn Quinn           Evelynquinn@projectnoelle.org
Geauga County-       Natalie Miller            nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Hancock County-     Caleb Eachus            calebeachus@projectnoelle.com
Huron County-         Jeanne McKenzie     Jeannemckenzie@projectnoelle.org
Lake County-           Natalie Miller            nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Lorain County-       Carol Bauer                Carol@projectnoelle.com
Lucas County-        Nettie Brown              Nettiebrown511@gmail.com
Ottawa County-     Laura White               Laurawhite@projectnoelle.org
Sandusky County- Teresa Gebard           teresa.projectnoelle@yahoo.com
Seneca County-     Caleb Eachus              calebeachus@projectnoelle.org
Wyandotte County-  Stephanie Smith    stephaniesmith@projectnoelle.org

 

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How are you handling Covid-19?

Covid-19 has affected everyone.  Isolation can be extremely difficult on those dealing with addiction, or those helping others with addiction.

The Addiction Policy Forum is asking for your help.  They are conducting a voluntary survey to gather information on how Covid-19 is affecting those with addiction in their lives.  If you would like to participate in this survey, click the survey name below.

COVID-19 Survey of Patients and Families Struggling with Substance Use Disorder   

For those of you located in Northwest Ohio, you may find some help at the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board website – https://www.lcmhrsb.oh.gov/   Here you will find a COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline, and other helpful connections.

Thank you for reading A Place for Mary.  Please share with your friends.

Virtual help during the Covid-19 crisis

Loneliness, self isolation and addiction often go hand in hand.  However, in these days of COVID-19/coronavirus, with governmental mandates for self isolation, there is more stress and anxiety for everyone, around the world.

I’d like to share the link to a website I found that will help direct you to virtual/online help during this worldwide health crisis.  You’ll find addiction and recovery help, crisis hotlines, and links to online meetings that you or the addict might not physically able to attend now.  (Click the bold text below)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Addiction/Recovery Resources from the University of Michigan Psychology Department

This is just one of many sites available for this type of information.  A simple search for “helping an addict during Covid-19” will produce many more, should you need them.

Stay healthy, and best wishes that everyone you love pulls through this crisis.

Coping with an addict in the family

I came across an article which had no date, however based on some of the statistics they sited, it is at least ten years old.  Regardless, the points made in this article entitled, “10 Ways to Cope with an Addict in the Family” by Maria Trimarchi are still valid and on target.  Her piece was posted on a website called, How Stuff Works.

As the title suggests, the author lists ten ways to cope with a family member’s addiction.  They are, in reverse order:

10 – Understanding that Addiction is a Disease

9 – Educate Yourself

8 – Are you an Enabler?

7 – Attend Family Therapy

6 – Seek Professional Financial Counseling

5 – Seek Legal Counsel

4 – Attend Individual Therapy Sessions

3 – Maintain Open Communication

2 – Maintain “Normal” Family Activities

1 –Take Care of Yourself

Take time to read the entire article as Trimarchi has some very insightful thoughts on each point that will help families.  The article, which can be read in full by clicking this link:  https://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/10-ways-to-cope-with-addict-in-the-family.htm OR click on any of the listed points above to go to that specific topic.

Tomorrow starts the New Year 2020.  A Place For Mary will be here with useful information to help guide you on your journey with your loved one’s addiction.

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America’s Opiate Epidemic – book group – Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Harbor’s Heroin/Opiate Initiative and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library have partnered together to offer a book group focusing on America’s opioid epidemic in the book, Dreamland, by Sam Quinones.  Harbor, with the support from the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, is working to bring awareness and education to the community around the heroin and opioid epidemic in Northwest Ohio. The epidemic is portrayed in Dreamland, through the author’s chronicles of how the distribution and sale of heroin has evolved over the last 15 years.

Book group discussions of the heroin/opioid topic and Dreamland will be offered from 7:00 pm – 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28th at the King Road Branch Library, Thursday, April 9th at Main Library or Monday, June 15th at the West Toledo Branch Library.  Dreamland can be borrowed from the branch 30 days prior to the scheduled session. Register at toledolibrary.org.

A Dreamland Book Group or a Harbor Heroin/Opiate Initiative presentation can be made available to any Lucas County organization by contacting Kathy Schnapp: kschnapp@harbor.org or 419.214.3631.

Dreamland is a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner.

Harbor is a behavioral health and substance use provider located in northwest Ohio.

Surviving the Season of Stress

‘Tis the season, so lets continue the conversation about the upcoming holidays, and the stress they put on anyone dealing with addiction, from the addict to their families and friends. 

I’d like to direct your attention to an article written back in 2011 for Social Work Today magazine by Christina Reardon, MSW, LSW.  The article is titled, Families and Addiction — Surviving the Season of Stress and can be read in its entirety by clicking the magazine cover, or the title above.

This article has so much useful information for families as the holidays approach.

Highlights of this article include:

  • Managing expectations
    • Expectations that the addict will be magically “cured” over the holidays will likely cause more stress and frustration
  • Handling actively using addicts
    • Firm ground rules and expectations of behavior should be set and agreed upon prior to a holiday event, with strict consequences if not met.
    • Is this a good time for a family intervention?
    • Realize that family gatherings can be very stressful for the addict too
  • Supporting the recovering addict
    • If alcohol is the problem, refrain from cooking with wine or other liquors or serving candy with alcohol centers.
    • Respecting the needs of the addict does not mean everything has to be perfect
  • Learning to let go
    • Take care of yourself!
    • Accept that you are not responsible for whatever happens

Take some time and read through this helpful article.  Then start setting your expectations for the upcoming holidays.  May they be joyous.

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Happy Holidays!
Betsy

 

 

Mary is not forgotten

December 9th, 2019 is the sixth anniversary of Mary’s death.  Mary wawith Mary (2)s a close friend, and also a coworker at The Blade, the newspaper in Toledo, Ohio.

On the morning of December 9, 2013, I received a call from a former co-worker (I had retired) at The Blade, informing me that Mary had not shown up for work that day.   They had sent someone to her home and had found her laying dead on the kitchen floor.  She had been stabbed to death.  Her son was convicted of the murder.  He was a loving son, and her only child.  But, heroin got the best of him, and this was the result.

Today I ask everyone who knew Mary, worked with Mary, or seeks help with an addicted loved one to take time to explore A Place For Mary.  Remember Mary.   Find help for yourself here.

This site is a good first step in understanding addiction, realizing you are not alone as you struggle to know how to help someone you love, and finding the help you need, whether it’s just reassurances that you’re doing the right things or finding professional help for yourself.

Mary, you are missed.

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s new definition of addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine updated it’s definition of “addiction” this year.   In an article by Paul Earley, MD and Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, an explanation of the new definition, and the need to look at addiction from a medical, genetic, mental, and environmental standpoint is discussed.

Redefining Addiction. Reimagining Solutions.

By Paul Earley, MD and Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH            Oct. 21, 2019

Words matter. When it comes to addiction medicine, stigmatizing language and misunderstood terminology may keep some people from seeking effective care, leave families poorly equipped to support their loved ones, and drive policymakers to make counterproductive, even harmful, policy.

       Read the entire article by clicking here.

A very important point made in the article states,

We will not be able to punish our way out of this crisis, and we must face the reality that stern talks about drug use will not treat a devastating disease.

It is hopeful that the new definition will help create a better understanding of addiction as a disease, and lead to comprehensive public policy.

Read the full article by clicking here.

https://www.asam.org/images/default-source/general-use/asam-logo.png?sfvrsn=2cc670c2_0

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