PUTNAM COUNTY – When Libby (not her real name) went to her first Al-Anon gathering, she felt like the speaker was herself talking. The speaker talked about how you are totally consumed when someone you love has an addiction. For Libby, it was her daughter who is a heroin addict. While her daughter was in a rehab program, family members were asked to take part in an informational meeting before visitations to learn about the addiction and what to do when the person comes home.

The first week Libby attended an informational meeting she went to her first Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon Family groups is an established community resource for people who have been affected by another’s use of alcohol or drugs. Al-Anon consists of nonprofessional mutual support groups in which the identity of all members is protected.

Libby said she decided to start a Putnam County chapter.

“There are many that struggle with a loved one’s addiction within the county and surrounding counties,” Libby said. “Al-Anon is a way to help those that feel helpless against the destruction of the disease.”

Libby said it is very difficult to have a loved one with an addiction. “You learn you have your own addiction,” she said. “You find that every focus of your life is on that addiction. You can’t do anything and your life becomes unmanageable.”

Libby said once she joined Al-Anon she learned she was not alone. The members shared their common problems, hopes and comfort each other.

Al Anon is a program that can aid the recovery for the entire family, Libby said.

“It takes a village to help an addict and their family,” Libby said.

She hopes that people who need the support will attend the “Never Alone Putnam County Al-Anon” meetings. The weekly meetings 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at New Creation Church, 8127 East Main Street (US 224), Ottawa. You do not have to pre-register to attend. The program is for those affected by alcohol or drug addiction.

“I just encourage anyone dealing with an addict not to be ashamed and not to feel like they are alone,” Libby said. “I want them to know they can come to these meetings to talk and share about their experiences.”

“You don’t even have to share your experience,” Libby said. “You can come and listen as others share.”

“We understand that the person we love who has become addicted is not perfect, but has hit a bump in the road and made a bad choice.”