By Cathy Brownfield
Family Recovery Center Publicist
Christopher Kennedy Lawford grew up privileged, the son of actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, sister of the late President.
He will visit this area when he is guest speaker at an Evening of Inspiration hosted by Family Recovery Center as the agency celebrates its 40th anniversary. The event also is a fundraiser for FRC's ADAPT Coalition. Lawford, actor, author and activist, is on the road to help dispel the stigma and shame of addiction and recovery.
What is ADAPT? It is the Alcohol Drug Addiction Prevention Team of Columbiana County. In December ADAPT was recognized for exemplary efforts in raising awareness of drug and alcohol abuse among youth and young adults in the county and prevention of such. There are leadership teams from 15 police departments and 11 school districts, including the Career Center.
"It's important for parents to intervene early in their children's lives," Lawford, now 26 years sober, says. He had his first drink at age 12, as a lot of kids do, he says. He spent 18 years trying to recover from his substance abuse.
"This disease is really difficult. You have to change everything in your life...I couldn't stay stopped," he says in an interview with Bill O'Reilly. But, "I found a community of people who knew how to stay sober...It's imperative that you get honest with yourself and honest with others."
He tells Soledad O'Brien his book is an "accessible text book." He went to the 150 smartest people in evidence-based research who are "credible beyond reproach" and learned the science of addiction, that it is a brain disease. He also shared his list of seven tools to help someone with addiction find their way out, because, he says, you have to assess the harm in your life:
1.) Stop using.
2.) 12-step programs are incredibly helpful.
3.) Cognitive behavior is also extremely helpful.
Lawford says it's about retraining the mind.
Lawford's cousin, Patrick Kennedy is a former congressman who has struggled with addiction. He says that nine out of 10 addicts start at about age 12. The brain is not fully developed at that age. The prefrontal cortex, which is the stop mechanism in our lives, is not yet developed at that young age.
If you aren't convinced about the accessibility of alcohol and drugs for youth, here are a few statistics from Parents Who Host Lose the Most: The community and parent survey results for a 2011-2012 underage drinking survey say,
- 86 percent think underage drinking is a problem.
- 79 percent think it is easy for youth to obtain alcohol.
- 89 percent think illegal drug use among adults is a problem.
There is a substance abuse problem in Columbiana County. The ADAPT Coalition strives to change that, with your help. You are invited to join Family Recovery Center and the ADAPT Coalition at Antone's Banquet Centre, 8578 Market St., Boardman, on May 7. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Hors d'oeuvre reception and Chinese auction will be held from 5:30 to 6:30. The buffet dinner will begin at 6:30 and the program will begin at 7:30.
Lawford will be signing copies of his book, Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction. Reservations are required. Cost for the evening is $50 per person. For more information about the event contact the FRC Education Department at 330-424-0531.
For information about FRC and its programs, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. You may also be interested in the ADAPT Coalition web site, www.adaptcoalition.org or Facebook page, ADAPT Coalition of Columbiana County. ADAPT Coalition was developed with funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.