KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — A support group for heroin addicts and their families is going strong in Kokomo after it began four months ago.
The group is mainly online, but organizers also hold meetings at a church in Kokomo.
“I’ve been using drugs since I was 14,” recovering addict LeAllen Lovegrove said.
But Lovegrove was 85 days clean and going strong in the January support group meeting.
“I’m recovering from everything,” he said. “I was addicted to everything, anything that would give me mind altering feeling to get me out of this world.”
For his recovery, he credits his wife Holly for her support and he credits the Kokomo Help Team.
“It’s like a safe place to be able to share and tell them because you know they understand and they aren’t going to judge you for it,” Holly Lovegrove said.
“Our ultimate goal is to help people, to help people get the information,” Help Team Co-Founder Suzy Stroup said.
At a meeting of the Kokomo Help Team, everyone in the room had been touched by addiction to drugs like heroin, in different ways.
“It’s more family members, advocates, people that are just looking for ways to help a loved one,” Stroup said.
Stroup helped start the Help Team after watching a friend struggle with addiction and mental illness.
The goals are support and connecting people with resources.
“People with these diseases need to know where to go to get treatment, effective treatment,” Stroup said.
And meeting in person is just one of the ways the group helps.
It mainly functions on Facebook.
The Kokomo Help Team group has about 5,000 members.
“So many people are online that these days it seems like that’s where it starts,” Stroup said.
“The group is very encouraging,” LeAllen Lovegrove said.
“Whenever he has kind of a big milestone, I’ll post on there and share like he has 50 days clean or 30,” Holly Lovegrove said.
“My wife’s very encouraging, she posts like my 30 days with a picture and you see all the comments who are part of the page, good job, very encouraging,” LeAllen said.
The support group has been so successful that they’re hearing from people outside of Kokomo that are hoping to start similar programs in their cities.
“It’s not just Kokomo, absolutely not,” Stroup said, “It’s everywhere, it’s Kokomo, it’s Indiana, it’s everywhere.”
If her Kokomo group is growing this much, she thinks there are many more people who can benefit from this type of support.
“The size of the group shows the number of people that are experiencing the same issues and has prompted changes to be made,” Stroup said.