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‘They’re overwhelmed’ Mountain event supports families of those battling addiction

By Hannah Mackenzie

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    RUTHERFORD COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — Nine different ministries gathered at the Behind Crying Eyes Fall Event at Pavilion on Park Square (POPS) in Forest City on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Kristy O’Dell, founder of Behind Crying Eyes, said the purpose was to provide a place of support for family members of those struggling with addiction.

“They’re broken; they’re overwhelmed and they’re carrying these burdens that they don’t know what to do with,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell said she knows firsthand the stronghold drugs can have on a family member. She started the faith-based organization four years ago after experiencing her sister-in-law struggle with substance abuse.

“I had a lot of hate in my heart for [my sister-in-law] because of what she did to my brother and what she did to their children,” O’Dell said.

According to O’Dell it took time to sort through her feelings. When she did, she realized she wanted to do something to help. She founded Behind Crying Eyes, and her church, Haynes Memorial Baptist Church, backed her efforts.

“Heroin and methamphetamine addiction — that’s what has overtaken our county,” O’Dell said. “You can put somebody in jail for doing something, but when they come home and they have nowhere to go but back to that same place, it’s just going to be a revolving door.”

O’Dell said this is her way of trying to break the cycle. Behind Crying Eyes provides resources for counseling, help with housing, laundry services and more.

Wendy Carroll is a member of Behind Crying Eyes.

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“My oldest child, he is addicted to everything you could think of,” Carroll said.

According to Carroll, the organization gives her the tools to stop enabling her son while providing support when she feels guilty for not giving in to him.

“If he calls and says, ‘Hey mom, I need money for food,’ instead, I take him out to eat and not give him the money that I’ve worked hard for to give him his high for the day,” Carroll said. “Where did I go wrong raising my child to turn out like this? What could I have done different?”

Eight other ministries attended the event on Saturday, each offering different types of resources to addicts and their families.

Word of Deliverance Church offers programs for addiction, homelessness, the hungry and more. Member Sonya Brown said she is partial to speaking with domestic violence victims. She’s a survivor herself, but her sister, Christina Brown-Palmer, was not as fortunate.

“She was murdered in 2006 here in Rutherford County. She left behind four children,” Brown said. “She was just a ray of sunshine; everyone talked about her smile.”

Brown said Saturday’s event offered something for everyone, but if you missed it, the message is universal.

“I hope that someone can take away that they are somebody and they mean something, that they’re not alone,” Brown said. “There is hope — never give up, there is hope.”

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