Coalition Promoting Family Dinners as Anti-Drug Weapon

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Coalition Promoting Family Dinners as Anti-Drug Weapon

Fighting drug and alcohol abuse among youths can start with something as simple as a family dinner. In other food for thought, statistics show that family dinners can whet children’s appetites to converse with their parents, and once these lines of communication are open, they’re open for talking about problems of all kinds – even substance abuse. Pequannock Township Coalition (PTC) is trying to make family dinner a weeklong event in the home. As further incentive, those who succeed at the mission of sharing five to seven dinners together during this designated week have the added benefit, she said, of being entered into a raffle to win a $30 gift certificate to dine out with the family. To really illustrate the import of such get-togethers, she notes that PTC opted for a week-long observance of family dinners, rather than just a day-long event.

Although PTC’s focus is on all types of substance abuse, the focus of this non-profit comes during a wave of heightened concern about heroin deaths, as the Partnership for A Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) unleashed last Thursday a campaign entitled “Heroin–Are you talking to your kids yet?” The campaign, released at the annual New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Summit, encourages parents to begin talking with their kids about the dangers of heroin abuse before their teenage years. With today’s hectic lifestyles busy families can find it difficult to sit down for dinner for at least 15 minutes – the recommended minimum to build bonds that can make a difference in the war against drugs, alcohol, and even tobacco use.

The Family Matrix Program is a three day family experience that allows families to begin to heal and strengthen the family bonds strained by addiction. The Family Matrix Program commences the exploration of family dynamics in a group setting that creates a sense of safety and acceptance that is vital to the family healing. Topics such as enabling and boundaries are explored in depth as well as the latest medical information regarding addiction. Once families have a clear understanding of their relationship with the addicted person they are then able to see where they are powerless and, more important, where they do have power. In other words, family members are able to reclaim the family from the hijacking of addiction and restore a sense of hope as the miracle of recovery is revealed. Through the use of vision boards and mindfulness techniques, family members are able to solidify this experience by identifying common family goals that can propel the family forward into a new family spirit.