Sunday, March 17, 2002

Teen beats addiction with Kids Helping Kids

By Shauna Scott Rhone,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The battle of the bottle of teen idols like Backstreet BoyA.J. McLean and actor Ben Affleck spurred the Enquirer last August to look at underage drinking locally.

        Brew, a Northern Kentucky teen, and 18-year-old Sylvia from Dayton were featured in the story. Both were recovering with the help of Kids Helping Kids (KHK), a Clermont County-based, nonprofit intervention program. Based on a kids-version of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program, the program offers intensive therapy for the abuser and counseling for the entire family to deal with underlying issues.

        Brew left without completingthe program, and Sylvia is in the latter stages of recovery with KHK. For every teen who's left the program, there are scores of others to take their place. One currently with Kids Helping Kids is 17-year-old Laura from Western Hills.

        Laura, who had already been through two separate short-term programs without success, was brought to KHK last July by her parents. Family friends had two children who had completed the Kids Helping Kids program, and they urged Laura's parents to enroll her in one last intervention.

        “I thought I was going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting,” Laura says. She tried to run away twice from the center before deciding to end her marijuana use and five-year addiction to alcohol. Eight months later, her self-esteem has returned, and she plans to return to Kids Helping Kids as a clinical psychologist.

        What would Laura say to other teens looking for a chance at recovery?

        “I'd tell kids that drinking is not what it cracks up to be. It's not what it's worth, what it costs you. I feel a lot better now. I feel complete gratefulness to my parents and this place.”

        Kids Helping Kids will co-sponsor a free Treatment Awareness program at 6:30 p.m. April 23 at Wokini Academy in West Chester Township. Different treatment options in the area will be discussed. Reservations are encouraged at 755-0299.


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