LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Family members are often the innocent victims of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction and that's why The Morton Center focuses on treating both the addict and the family.
Experts say the success rate is much higher when loved ones know the warning signs and what to look for.
"He was always the kid that had too much to drink," said Jefferson County District Court Judge Sandra McLaughlin.
At an early age, Judge McLaughlin realized her son had a drinking problem.
"Way early, probably age 13 or 14," she said. "He was a great partier and he was a great student so somehow he was able to merge those two things."
But once in college, the merger failed.
"When he came home after his first year, two letters followed him. One was that he was at the top of his class and the second one was we don't want him back," McLaughlin explained.
McLaughlin eventually found help for her son and the entire family at The Morton Center in the Highlands.
"We were here every night, Monday through Friday, three hours a night, five nights a week for 11 weeks," she said.
"So it is nice for the family and loved ones to be able to come in and have that support and get the help that they need also," said Priscilla McIntosh, CEO of The Morton Center.
McIntosh said across Kentuckiana drug and alcohol abuse is up, that's why helping family members of addicts increases the chances of success.
"We continue to see that they are three times more likely to be able to go ahead and finish out the treatment program. So, having that loved one -- because it is about understanding the disease," said McIntosh.
Through grants, fundraisers, donations and an annual luncheon, The Morton Center is able to eliminate at least some of the financial worry for family members.
"Once they are ready to say 'I need help,' to turn around and have to say to them now the cost is whatever that dollar amount is, you know, they really can say sometimes, 'I can't handle this,'" McIntosh explained.
"He will be sober 10 years in May," Judge McLaughlin said.
She is now celebrating her son's sobriety and says it happened because The Morton Center taught her how to love him.
"Parents can love their children too much and the Morton center gives you the tools to love them but to be tough on how to love them," said McLaughlin.
The Morton Center's annual luncheon is on Sept. 22.
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