CINCINNATI -- It wasn't supposed to happen to Sarah Jones' family -- in fact, she felt sure it wouldn't.
"I was very judgmental about who I thought drugs affected," she admitted.
Then, in the space of two years, she lost first her brother and then her mother to addiction. His descent -- which began with problem drinking and ended with heroin -- and eventual death in September 2016 accelerated their mother's, Jones said.
"After her parents passed away, she started abusing alcohol," Jones said. "She got better over time with grief, but then, when she lost my brother, it was just a downward spiral."
People living through their own addiction can attend rehabilitation and peer support groups to help them navigate daily challenges. People like Jones -- those living with the consequences of loved ones' substance abuse -- went Monday night to "The Family Afterwards," an event aimed at helping them deal with the emotional weight of losing people they treasured to addiction.
The event aimed to teach family members to recognize warning signs of addiction, the best ways to find treatment and how to internally broach one of the most difficult subjects: Forgiveness.
Jones said the event has been a help on her emotional journey.
"I look at it like I have a very good guardian angel cheering section," she said. "I just have to make them proud every day."
People Advocating Recovery of Northern Kentucky plans to hold similar events in the future. Anyone interested in attending can learn more at the organization's Facebook page.