Substance Abuse Support Group Formed



Allison James, Staff Writer

A support group for substance abuse meets every Tuesday in Henderson Hall to help encourage recovery in former addicts.

The group was started in September of 2015 by graduate students Kenneth Riffe and Alan Beatty to prevent relapse among substance abusers.

Each Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., the group meets in Henderson room 202 to discuss problems faced over the previous week and seek help and guidance from other members of the group. Riffe believes that the group’s method of support is unique and helpful to the members.

“This is not the normal ‘twelve-step’ group meeting,” Riffe said. “We have a good time and I make it fun. There is happiness after recovery.”

The “twelve-step” program he referred to is a set of common guidelines that substance abuse groups use. It consists of twelve steps to help addicts admit their powerlessness over addiction, ask others for help, and spread the message to other addicts. Riffe and Beatty try to operate the group in a different manner.

“We discuss personal problems over the past week, have a short lecture, discuss the lecture, have coffee and a snack, and encourage everyone to stay on the road to recovery,” Riffe said. “If someone needs special attention on a legal or personal problem, I will take care of that in private after the meeting.”

The group is designed so that anyone can attend and benefit from the meetings, including non-addicts. The meetings feature discussions that can help teach about the dangers of substance abuse and what to do if you know someone or meet someone that is an addict.

“If someone has a friend or family member that needs help, they should come and learn methods of helping their loved one out,” Riffe said.

In addition to teaching about substance abuse, he believes that he can help anyone that has an addiction or that needs some sort of counseling. He encouraged everyone to attend at least one of the meetings and to bring friends and family, since the meetings have different ways of benefiting attendees.

“I have access to numerous programs and not only for substance abuse, but for any kind of addiction or issues that need addressing,” Riffe said.

While the substance abuse group is a fairly new organization on campus, Riffe said it has already managed to be beneficial to the majority of its members and continued to encourage everyone to give it a try.