Sandy Thompson helps family members identify five key steps to find relief from the impact of a loved one’s substance abuse on their lives.
According to the Substance Use in North Dakota Data Book 2017, 62.1% of our high school students reported using alcohol in their short lifetimes, 30% of adults report binge alcohol use in the last 30 days (national average is 24.7%) and 88% of North Dakota (ND) adults believe that adult alcohol use is a problem in their community.
While alcohol remains the most misused substance in our state we are also experiencing a large increase in the misuse of pain medications (opiates) and illegal drugs such as heroin.
Addiction is a family disease that puts stress on relationships in the family, impacts the stability of the home, diminishes family unity and negatively affects overall family dynamics. Substance use negatively impacts children, spouses/partners, parents, friends and co-workers/employers.
Family members whose lives have been impacted by substance use many times have endured similar interruptions in their lifestyle just as the person who uses substances. Unfortunately, they tend to be forgotten when it comes to services to help them cope and recover.
The most common services available to assist those who have been impacted by another’s substance use have been individual counseling, family counseling, 12 step community support groups like Al-Anon and if you have been lucky enough to have your loved one in a treatment program you have most likely been offered education and support by the staff at that treatment facility. A new and exciting approach designed specifically to help those impacted by substance use is Family Recovery Coaching.
Sandy Thompson is no stranger to addiction having several family members who are or have struggled with their use of substances. This led her to earn a bachelor’s in addiction studies from Minot State University. She became a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and has worked in that field since 1991.
In 2017 she started Path to Pono, where she specializes in family recovery coaching and leadership, and workforce development. Her personal and professional experience provide a valuable background as she assists families who seek their own recovery from addiction in their family.
At the Women's Health Conference, Sandy will help family members learn how to recognize the signs of addiction, how they are often impacted by substance abuse, and the many pathways to recovery.