How to Find Support for Families
Find out how to support families of addicts in our helpful article which includes resources like available support groups.
Addiction is a deadly disease that impacts more than just the person with the problem. In fact, addiction is often referred to as a ‘family disease’. This means that family members and loved ones of the person with the addiction are also gravely impacted by this person’s addiction.
Having a family member or loved one with an addiction to alcohol or drugs can make each day nearly unbearable. From wondering where they are and if they’ll come home to the real fear that you may never see your loved one again can be excruciating. Addiction impacts parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more. Believing that addiction only impacts the person using is a gross misnomer.
In fact, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about one in eight children aged 17 years and under live in a household with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder (SUD). This not only affects their day-to-day life but also puts them at greater risk for developing a SUD themselves.
If you have a loved one or family member with an addiction, you may be focused on what you can do to help them. Thoughts of getting them into treatment, getting them to talk to someone or wondering how you can help them stop may take up a lot of your waking hours. And it’s understandable—after all, it can be a life or death situation.
As a loved one it can be especially difficult knowing you can't control the situation or make decisions for them. However, what you can do is get help for yourself. It’s true that you aren’t the one with the addiction, but the reality is that you and your other family members and loved ones need help too. Getting support from others when you have a loved one who is an addict can make the difference between sleepless nights and finding acceptance while your loved one finds their way to recovery.
Support Groups for Families of Addicts
While it may seem counterintuitive to get yourself help, rather than your loved one, this is where your true power and strength may lie. Dealing with a family member who is addicted is hard. Without knowing the clear path, getting support along the way can make a big difference. In fact, joining a support group could enable you to be better positioned to help your loved ones when they are ready.
Today, there are a number of different support groups for families of addicts. These groups vary by what they offer, their format, where and when they meet, who they are focused on helping, and more. The following list is not all-inclusive but offers a list of the most well-known and accessible support groups for families of addicts.
Nar-Anon is a 12-Step support group for families, loved ones, and friends of anyone with a substance use disorder or drug addiction. Nar-anon works to support those who care about someone with an addiction to find peace of mind and be able to enjoy their lives despite their loved one’s ongoing battle with addiction. Nar-Anon states that they provide support for, “those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to you. We have traveled that unhappy road too, and found the answer with serenity and peace of mind.”
A part of the Nar-Anon program is the Narateen support group. This group is specifically for teens whose lives have been or are being affected by the drug use of a family member or loved one.
While Al-anon is for family members and loved ones of a person with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), many with family members who have a drug addiction also attend these meetings. This is also a 12-Step group based on the same guiding principles as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Alateen is a peer support group for teens struggling with addicted loved ones. Umbrellaed under Al-Anon, Alateen meetings are for youth aged 13-18. Alateen meeting information can be found on the teen section of the Al-Anon website.
4. Families Anonymous
Families Anonymous is a family support group based on the 12-step program. Families Anonymous welcomes family members of people with alcohol use problems or drug addiction. Information about their meetings can be found on the Families Anonymous website.
5. SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
SMART offers support groups for both the person with the addiction as well as for family, loved ones, and friends of an addict. In this support group, the focus is on science-based, self-empowered recovery for both the person with the drug or alcohol addiction and loved ones.
In addition, many family members and loved ones utilize groups such as Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Celebrate Recovery, and the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. While some of these groups address concerns with alcohol addiction, many with loved ones who struggle with drug use find the support and structure helpful for them as well.
If you have a loved one or family member with drug use problems, there is help and there is hope—for you and your loved one! Caron Treatment Centers understands how difficult it is to love someone with substance use disorder. Our treatment programs aim to not only help the person with the drug addiction to recover but also help to repair damaged relationships with family members and loved ones. Family therapy is an option for families of people with substance abuse problems and may include the entire family, including the person who is an addict, or they may only include certain family members. We have many treatment programs for drug addiction along with support groups and other family support resources.
At Caron, we believe that recovery isn’t just possible—it’s probable! Call us today and learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help. We’re just one call away at 1-800-854-6023.
By Barbara Krantz, D.O., MS, DFASAM, MRO
By Caron Medical Staff
By Caron Medical Staff
By Anthony Campo, MD, FASAM, FAPA