Help for families of addicts
Keenan’s Corner offers support
By Angie Landsverk
Through his work as a recovery coach, Keenan Morgan saw the need to help and support the families of addicts.
“With a friend, I talked about how the discussion is always about how to help the person who is addicted. But who helps the family?” he asked.
After thinking about it for a few months, Morgan decided to start a support group for the family members of addicts.
With the help of ThedaCare, Keenan’s Corner began meeting weekly a month ago.
The group meets from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesdays, in the Chain O’ Lakes Room at ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca.
The room is located on the second floor.
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, spouses and significant others are welcome to attend the meeting, he says.
Morgan said it is not an Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Al-Anon group.
Keenan’s Corner is free and open to the public, with no need to sign up in advance.
Guest speakers, including a drug counselor and a physician, have already attended Keenan’s Corner, and he plans to continue having guest speakers be a part of it.
Morgan said issues concerning the families are discussed.
His goal is to get families to share stories and express concerns in the hope of finding answers and supporting one another.
Morgan believes a large part of why people want to talk to him is because of his own background.
He was in his 30s when he began experimenting with drugs.
Morgan used drugs on and off for years and eventually became a drug dealer.
In 2011, he was arrested.
He served 3 1/2 years in prison and has been clean since 2011.
Morgan moved to Waupaca several years ago and last year, became a certified recovery coach.
A recovery coach serves as a personal guide and mentor for those seeking or already in long-term recovery from an addiction to alcohol or other drugs.
Morgan was one of 20 people from throughout the area who received the 30 hours of training to become a recovery coach.
He and a few other recovery coaches are in the Waupaca area.
Those interested in receiving individual alcohol and drug addiction recovery coaching sessions may contact him at 715-252-4164 for an appointment.
“I’ve been pretty busy. I think they need more recovery coaches (in this area), Morgan said. “I’m getting called mostly from the families who want to set up appointments to talk about their child either with or without their child.”
In many cases, the child is still in the midst of addiction, and the family has tried a variety of things, he said.
“I’m kind of like the last resort, not the first resort,” Morgan said.
ThedaCare’s Waupaca location provides space for Morgan to meet with people and explain to them what a recovery coach does.
“I’ve become a lot more recognizeable in the community. Aren’t you that recovery coach? Aren’t you that guy I saw in the newspaper?” people say to him him.
Morgan follows articles in the newspaper to see who is in need of support.
He also does interventions and advocates for people in court.
Flyers about Keenan’s Corner are posted wherever Morgan is allowed to do so.
Morgan said Dr. Paul Sletten and Dr. Earl Anderson made arrangements for him to have space for Keenan’s Corner, after he told them he wanted to start such a support group.
“Those two doctors refer many people to me for recovery coaching,” Morgan said.
He says there is a need for these types of support groups to develop in other area communities as well.
“I’m always thinking about what I can do or what the community can do to help a person who is recovering,” Morgan said. “This is for the families suffering, wondering when they are going to get that phone call. I want healing for them, to let them know there is help for them, that when we come together as a community, we can find answers.”
Morgan said a lot of parents want to believe their children, but he said addicts are often great at telling lies.
When parents ask him what they did wrong, he many times tells them they did not do anything wrong, but tells the parents they may have enabled their children.
He said parents who knowingly allow their children to use drugs in their homes, because they think that is better than them using drugs on the street, are enabling them.
Giving children money on a regular basis for unknown reasons – particularly when they feel something is not right – is also enabling, Morgan said.
He said people makes excuses for why they use drugs.
Morgan says he had heard it all and calls them out on it.
Since starting Keenan’s Corner, weekly attendance has averaged between eight and 13 people, he said.
Morgan appreciates the support he is receiving in the community.
“I just encourage more people to not stay at home and wonder but to come and check out Keenan’s Corner so maybe they can find the answers they are looking for and can sleep at night,” he said.