A group for teenagers who have a family member or friend experiencing a problem with alcohol or drugs has been started in Hillsboro.
One-hour Alateen sessions are being held each Thursday starting at 8 p.m. at the Hillsboro Peace Lutheran Church, next to Star Cinemas on Harry Sauner Road.
Jackie — the group prefers not to use full names so they can remain anonymous — said the group is for kids ages 10 (maybe even a little younger) to 18 or 19.
“Kids can come in and talk about things that have bothered them and other kids will talk about things that affected them and how they handled it,” Jackie said. “It’s for kids who have a family member or friend who is suffering from alcoholism or even addiction. It’s also about teaching them to keep from getting involved in those kind of things.”
She said Alateen is sponsored by an Al-Anon group that meets at the church, and that the group has been approved by the Ohio AA Conference. She said Alateen groups are required to be sponsored by an Al-Anon group and that all adults working with the programs are required to pass background checks.
Meetings started the last Thursday in January and Jackie said that sometimes they have one or two kids, and sometimes no one shows up. But she said she wishes more kids would participate because she knows there are kids that need to talk about what they have experienced.
“We are aware there is definitely an alcohol problem in Highland County and pretty much everywhere else,” Jackie said. “Kids can benefit from a place to talk about issues that bother them and things they might not want to share with everybody.”
She said both she and her daughter, Sarah, are willing to give anyone that lives in Hillsboro or nearby a ride if they need one. Jackie can be reached at 937-763-1744 and Sarah can be reached at 937-302-7176.
Jackie said the group discusses various topics including the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and also works out of an inspirational book that discusses anger, resentment and guilt.
“They can learn how to handle those things if they’re feeling those feelings,” Jackie said.
She said those participanting can remain anonymous if they choose. She also offered advice to someone who might be apprehensive about attending a meeting.
“I’d tell them not to be afraid. Come a few times and see what it’s all about and see if you want to continue,” Jackie said. “We hope the program works, and we do have kids that have come and want to come back because they find it’s helpful to them.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.