Virtual meetings of the Highland County Recovery Path for Mothers and Others will begin Thursday, Aug. 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.
The meetings are for women who are interested or already in recovery from addiction or substance abuse disorder. The meetings are planned to continue every following Thursday.
The group was originally developed and started in Mansfield, Ohio by Suzie Newell, who is a nurse anesthesiologist who also specializes in obstetrics.
Newell lost her sister to an overdose in 2017.
“I felt compelled, so I started the meeting, and then in investigating what is the best way to treat substance abuse disorder medically, I decided to return to school and get my doctorate,” she said. “I got my doctorate and formalized the group more and really researched the neuroscience behind coping mechanisms so it became more of a focused group.”
Through her education and work, Newell developed a number of ideas for coping mechanisms.
“I decided to write a book because coping mechanisms are good for everybody, not just people with substance abuse disorder,” she said. “I wrote the book called ‘The Path 365,’ and that is a whole other life that I have now, but what happened is we started using the book in the meeting that I ran online and realized that it was full circle and that we could bring this to other places.”
Newell said she typically works with groups of between 10 and 15 people to ensure the most effective meetings.
“You just can’t get the kind of interaction that you get with having a smaller group,” she said.
Newell was asked to do the group for Highland County by Jennifer Lanzillotta-Rangeley, who does work to treat substance abuse disorder in Highland County through a grant. Lanzillotta-Rangeley served as the chair for Newell’s doctorate work.
“It feels like I’m giving back to her now because she gave me so much, and I’m able to bring it to the community she’s invested in,” said Newell.
The meetings are targeted to women to address the additional stigma surrounding women with addiction or substance abuse disorder, but anyone who identifies with the group is welcome.
“When my sister died from an overdose, one of the things she identified as was a mother more importantly to her than anything else, and I think the shame with both women admitting that they are mothers and that they are addicted is so profound that it can prevent people from getting care,” said Newell.
Initially, the meetings will be facilitated by Newell and a partner who was involved in writing the book, but eventually people who are trained in peer support will be able to run the meeting.
“We just really want to make sure that people know that we are shame free and that you can show up and not be perfect,” said Newell.
The meeting can be accessed through https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81996759134.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.