SIDNEY — Sidney native Cody Odom, of Troy, knows first-hand what families of addicts feel like.
His father was an abusive alcoholic. His mother, now in recovery, was addicted to cocaine and heroin. One sister is also in recovery; the other is still an active user. And his aunt, now deceased, was addicted to crack.
What kept Odom from joining them was seeing what drugs and alcohol did to people he loved.
“I saw how it broke my family. It damaged everything. I didn’t want to damage my relationships,” he said.
That’s why he and his mother, Trina Frasure, of Troy, are starting a support group in Sidney, Families of Addicts (FOA).
The organization was founded in 2013 in Huber Heights. The first Sidney meeting will be June 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the Mount Zion Church, 324 Grove St. Sessions will continue, weekly on Thursdays, thereafter.
Odom was impressed by Boston Billy, a recovery activist who spoke in Sidney earlier this year.
“I felt we had to do something else,” Odom said. An assistant manager of McDonald’s in Troy, he found his opportunity when a customer came in, wearing an FOA T-shirt.
“We talked for hours,” Odom said. He contacted Lori Erion, who founded FOA, and began to attend meetings in Dayton. He will be the first male program director when the Sidney group starts.
“A lot of addicts in recovery come to meetings with their family members,” Frasure, 43, said. Odom’s mother had just completed rehabilitation in Dayton when, in May 2016, she was found by a sheriff’s deputy, beaten senseless and lying by the side of a road in Columbus. She does not remember what happened to her or how she got there. No drugs were found in her system when she was admitted to a hospital, where she stayed for a month to heal from the beating that caused kidney and liver failure.
As soon as she was released, Odom transferred her to the rehabilitation program run by the Salvation Army in Dayton. She graduated from the program seven months later.
“I’m telling you, there’s power in prayer. It’s a shame that it took me being half dead to do this. I love recovery. Recovery is beautiful,” she said.
For Odom, the attack on his mother provided a chance for him to re-engage with her.
“I found out my mom was using and pushed her to one side,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know what to do (with an addicted family member), or they are ashamed. I’ll never forget that day, getting that phone call (that his mother was hospitalized). When I walked into that room, I didn’t recognize my mom.”
He visited with her daily. He is very proud of her progress against addiction now.
“I was a hard core user for 13 years,” Frasure said. “It started out as fun. But it was so physically, emotionally and mentally addicting that I had to have it just to function. There was no getting high anymore. It was what we called ‘getting well.’”
Frasure hopes her story will lead other addicts into recovery, and that FOA will give their families and friends the information and resources needed to cope.
“The meetings should educate, empower and embrace,” Odom said.
“People who attend can share their story if they want,” Frasure said. But guest speakers from other organizations will also present programs.
“We want to eliminate that stigma. A lot of people are afraid to come forward. Family members are afraid because they’re ashamed,” Odom said.
There is no cost to participate in FOA; however, donations will be accepted to cover the cost of refreshments.
Participating and training to be a director has made Odom an impassioned advocate.
“It’s opened up our eyes to want to do more — getting (certified as a) chemical dependency counseling assistant. It would be awesome to work at a rehab center,” he said. “If I can change one person’s life or make a difference, that’s enough for me.”
For FOA information, call 937-570-0118, visit the Facebook page at FOA Families of Addicts or email [email protected] Send donations to FOA Foundation, 425 N. Findlay St., Dayton, OH 45405, and put “Shelby County” in the memo line of the check.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.