18 Addiction Support Groups for Families
Discover support groups for families of those struggling with an addiction.
Loving someone with an addiction is an incredibly difficult experience to go through.
You may find yourself living in a constant state of anxiety and worry, simply hoping that your loved one makes it through the next day alive.
When you love someone with an addiction, it's easy for their problems to sit at the forefront of your mind. It's also an incredibly isolating place to be in.
Fortunately, you don't have to go through it alone. Because the truth is, you're not alone.
There are so many people just like you who struggle with all of the challenges that come along with having a loved one with an addiction. Using a support group to navigate these challenges can prove to be truly invaluable.
How your loved one’s addiction affects you
Loving someone with an addiction deeply affects your day-to-day life.
After all, loving someone with an addiction is incredibly emotionally draining. You may feel anxious and worried about their well-being. You may feel hopeful that they can get better one day, and the next feel hopeless. Unfortunately, the emotional rollercoaster can be truly debilitating.
When you love someone with an addiction, you may experience feelings of guilt, thinking their use is your fault. You may think there’s something you could have done to prevent their addiction in the first place.
Additionally, you may have feelings of powerlessness, as you watch them suffer but don’t know how to help.
You may have trouble separating their problems from your own life, and therefore your own joys and priorities take a back seat.
With your thoughts constantly plagued by your loved one’s well-being, you may have trouble focusing on work or school.
You may have difficulty showing up in relationships, as you struggle to be fully present.
Also, when you love someone with an addiction, it can be especially difficult to remember to love yourself, too. Unfortunately, prioritising your mental, emotional, and physical health can often fall by the wayside.
Benefits of using support groups for families
Fortunately, you’re not alone in this journey and you don’t need to navigate it by yourself. There are so many benefits of using support groups for family members of those struggling with addiction.
Below are just some of the benefits of using support groups for families:
- You won’t feel alone. When you’re surrounded by a group of people who are going through exactly what you’re going through, it helps you feel less isolated in your struggles. Additionally, you’ll see that the range of emotions you are facing aren’t unique, and are completely normal. Sometimes, this is enough to take some of the weight off you that you’ve been bearing.
- You can learn from others. A support group is a wonderful place to learn from others who have been where you are. You can learn real, practical ways to cope. You can learn how others continue to navigate their own lives while loving someone with an addiction. Additionally, you can see your own story reflected in the stories of others. This alone can help you observe what kind of changes you want to make in your life. Allowing yourself to thrive as best as you can.
- You’ll have people to vent to. Even though you may have friends and family who love you, you may struggle to fully open up to them. You might worry about experiencing shame or judgment from those closest to you. However, when you join a support group, you’ll likely make friends who know just what you’re going through. These are people you can connect with, even outside of the group, when you just need someone to talk to.
Now that you have an idea of how incredibly beneficial using a support group can be, let’s take a look at the various types of support groups that are available.
Types of addiction support groups for families
Today, there are many sources of support for the families of those affected by addiction.
Below are some of the addiction support groups for you to check out:
Al-anon is a support group used across the world for family members of those struggling with alcohol. This is a 12-step program and offers the 12 steps as it applies to the family members and loved ones. If you're interested in following the 12-step programme, al-anon offers meetings in person and online. You can learn more at their website: https://al-anon.org/.
Fam-anon, or Families Anonymous, is a UK-based support group for the families of those struggling with addiction. Similar to Al-Anon, this is a 12-step recovery programme designed to help family members recover. Additionally, Fam-anon offers meetings in person and online. To learn more, visit their website at : http://famanon.org.uk/.
Adfam is a UK-based support group whose mission is to improve support for family members of those struggling with drug and alcohol use, as well as gambling issues. Additionally, Adfam’s website offers an abundance of resources for family members, ranging from articles to online video support sessions. They offer meetings in-person and virtually. Their website offers a directory of over 200 support groups for families. To find a meeting near you, visit their website at https://adfam.org.uk/.
SMART Recovery Family & Friends
SMART Recovery Family & Friends is based on SMART Recovery groups, but is geared towards the friends and family of those struggling with addiction. This support group provides you with tools based on SMART Recovery and CRAFT therapy that can help you navigate life while loving someone with an addiction. SMART Recovery Family & Friends offers meetings in-person and online. To learn more, visit their website: https://www.smartrecovery.org/family/.
Alateen is a subdivision of Al-Anon, and is also a 12-step programme. However, Alateen is exclusively for the adolescent loved ones of those struggling with addiction. Navigating this journey is challenging for anyone, and dealing with it as a teenager can pose a complex layer of difficulties. For more information on Alateen, head over to: https://al-anon.org/newcomers/teen-corner-alateen/
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, or PAL, is a support group geared specifically towards parents. Being the parent of a loved one with an addiction brings with it its own unique set of challenges. The group offers education as well as opportunities for sharing, and is Christian-based. To find a meeting near you, visit their website at https://palgroup.org/.
GRASP, or Grief Recovery After Substance Passing, is a support group designed for those who have a lost a loved one due to their addiction. To find a local GRASP meeting near you, visit their website at http://grasphelp.org/.
Additional support groups for families
Below are some additional support groups for families:
- NAMI Family Support Group
- Forward Trust
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics
- Alcohol Change
- Family Lives
- Help Me Stop
- Addictions UK
A final word on support groups for families
Remember that your loved one’s addiction is not your fault. Addiction is an incredibly complex disease, creating physiological changes within the body and rewiring how the brain works.
If you don’t feel ready to explore a support group, you can also try out individual or family counselling. This can be a great way to start working through your own challenges as you try to support your loved one.
Additionally, the Wellness Hub right here at Recoverlution offers a wide variety of support for your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. We know how difficult it is to watch someone you love battle addiction, but the most important thing you can do for them is to take care of yourself, too.
Author - Thurga