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Meetings set to address Outer Cape addiction issues

Cape Cod Times - 11/4/2017

Nov. 04--WELLFLEET -- Two SMART Recovery meetings for families and young people suffering with addiction begin this week in Wellfleet to combat the isolation of people with addiction on the Outer Cape.

Ashley Rowell, a 30-year-old who grew up on the Outer Cape, will lead a Young Adults Meeting starting on Monday at 7:30 p.m., and Martha Gordon will run a Family and Friends meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Rowell, who graduated from Nauset Regional High School in 2005, said her generation has been devastated by the opioid addiction, which President Donald Trump recently called the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. The younger people living in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet and Eastham must drive to Hyannis or Falmouth to attend meetings and find communities that support recovery, Rowell said.

"The young people feel isolated here," she said. "I've lost a lot of schoolmates to addiction. The first two were such a shock. But now, the shock is really wearing off. It's definitely the leading cause of death in my generation."

A lot of mothers and fathers who have children with addiction also need a supportive community, Gordon said.

Both women went through the leadership training with Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART), which is an approach to self-help meetings not founded in religion or the 12 steps.

SMART is based on a type of cognitive behavior psychotherapy developed by the psychologist Albert Ellis in the 1950s. Ellis' theory states that thinking creates feelings and behaviors, so change comes from the management of beliefs and emotions that lead people to use drugs or drink alcohol.

Gordon said she liked the SMART approach to recovery, which she learned from reading Jeffrey Foote's book, "Beyond Addiction." Gordon and Rowell are members of Recovery 349, a group that formed in Wellfleet to help with problem-solving related to the addiction crisis.

-- Follow K.C. Myers @kcmyerscct.

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(c)2017 Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.

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