GRASP support group helps parents deal with grief
BOARDMAN, Ohio (WFMJ) - Many families are touched by addiction in some way, but when you lose someone to substance abuse it's a unique form of grief that can make everyone left behind feel like there's nowhere to turn. Here locally, there's a support group with that specifically in mind.
It's called GRASP, and for the people involved it's truly life changing.
When you see these ladies, sitting around laughing and sharing storie it's easy to think they're old friends or even sisters. Instead, it is a shared experience that brought them all together.
"This group has literally saved my life," said Carolyn Mauro.
Every one of these women lost a loved one to substance abuse and every one of them felt like there was no one who truly understood their pain.
"For two years, I never talked to anybody about it. I mean, I stopped living. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was scared. I was alone. My family didn't talk about it," said Jean Bussard.
So this group formed to give them all an outlet.
It's called GRASP, which stands for "Grief Recovery After Substance Passing," giving each of them someone to lean on, someone who's been through it just like them.
"There's no better support, even counselors, doctors, than somebody who's been through it, exactly what you've been through and can feel exactly what you're feeling," said Anna Howells.
"We lose our children in the addiction before they ever pass away. And when they pass away you do have so much guilt and you wonder: what could I have done? What should I have done? Why did I do this?," said Bussard.
"They help you heal," said Andrea Briya. "They understand, where nobody else does."
Sometimes there are smiles, sometimes,it's tears, but they're all getting through it together.
"This grieving process is a process and it's a lifetime process," said Mauro. "I don't think I would be sitting in this chair if it weren't for this group."
"Some meetings now, it's actually fun because we kind of get off on a tangent... and we can share stories more easily now about the fun times," said Sandi Malice.
"These people should not be forgotten. They were here and they passed and they were our children. You shouldn't be ashamed," said Briya.
" It's a blessing to be helping other people because you feel like, how can I take this tragedy and turn it into something good?," said Howells.
A lifetime bond, and a support system that's truly a life saver.
You can learn more about the Mahoning County chapter of GRASP on this website.
If you would like more information, you can reach Anna Howells via email at [email protected].