Local group meeting aims to provide hope for families of addicts

A sign sits outside the doors of a Recovering Hope meeting. The group meetings are at 5:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at First Baptist Church, 1302 S. Maguire St.

WARRENSBURG — A new initiative by Recovery Lighthouse aims to spark hope for families of recovering addicts.

Recovering Hope is an open family support group that operates as part of the Recovery L.O.V.E. pilot program.

Before open discussion begins, a guest speaker shares his or her story of addiction and recovery.

Carol Mitchell, 34, shared her story during the Oct. 29 meeting.

“March 2, 2018, around 7 p.m. was the last time I got high,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said her addiction started when her wisdom teeth began to come in.

“I didn’t go and ask, ‘Hey, do you have any narcotics?’” Mitchell said.

Mitchell was given two bottles of Tramadol, an opioid pain medication, by the grandfather of one of her children to deal with the pain from her wisdom teeth.

Mitchell ended up taking eight Tramadol pills in four hours.

“That was the very first time that I ever experienced this euphoria feeling,” Mitchell said. “I got really warm and fuzzy and everything felt good. All the yelling and screaming that was going on, went away. … When that feeling started to go away, that high feeling, I would take more.”

Mitchell said she never got high before taking the Tramadol.

Mitchell recounted that she was a victim of domestic violence during that time.

Shortly after the birth of her fourth child, Mitchell moved to Alabama with the man who was the father of her fourth child.

“He was military and he got kicked out of the military,” Mitchell said. “That’s all he knew, so he projected it onto us.”

Mitchell got out of the abusive relationship in 2008 and moved from Alabama to a womens shelter in Missouri, but was later evicted.

Shortly after, Mitchell was introduced to Donny, who had just been released from prison.

“He assured me that he needed a good girl in his life to help steer him clear,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said, in the beginning of the relationship, she was employed and able to get her kids into daycare, but things started to change when she asked him if he ever thought about trying drugs again.

“He was able to twist that question around and move it around,” Mitchell said.

“All I know is that when he pushed that plunger into me, the room spun, my eyes bounced, I threw up (and) everything got super hot,” Mitchell said. “Next thing I know, almost 10 years of my life pass by.”

Mitchell described herself at that time as a needle junky.

“I remember my kids would get super upset with me because they wanted to eat cereal and they couldn’t find a spoon in the kitchen,” Mitchell said. “It was because they were all in my bedroom. I’d use them once and didn’t want to put them back out for (the kids) to use. … I thought I was doing them a favor.”

Mitchell recounted that her addiction greatly affected her children and the authorities were later involved, removing Mitchell’s children from her care.

“I went back into the house I was at and, the lady that was there, she had a shot ready for me … for the first time in 10 years I turned it down,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell and Donny were on probation and decided to separate while they got clean.

“We centered our entire lives at Recovery Lighthouse, (narcotics anonymous) and kids visits,” Mitchell said.

At the time of her testimony, Mitchell is employed at Recovery Lighthouse in Sedalia, has custody of her children and is 19 months in recovery from addiction.

“I’m grateful to know there is a solution.” Mitchell said.

Donny sat beside Mitchell during the meeting.

Recovering Hope began with Family Advocate Sherri Rapp, the mother of an addict.

Rapp said she could not find something in Johnson County that sparked hope and began looking into starting the Recovering Hope group.

“I needed someone that was in recovery to talk and to make me as a mama, as a family member, as a loved one, feel that we could get through it,” Rapp said.

Recovering Hope is possible through a grant awarded to Recovery Lighthouse.

Recovering Hope meets at 5:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at the First Baptist Church, 1302 S. Maguire St.

For more information about Recovery Lighthouse and its programs, visit recoverylighthouse.org or call (660) 429-2222.

Staff Writer Sara Lawson can be reached by emailing sara.lawson@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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