Adhere To A Formal Sleep/wake Schedule
Some of the more dangerous addictive behaviors often occur in the middle of the night. People with addictions can meet dealers, overdose, stumble home from parties or get into other situations that family members have to deal with. Its no surprise, then, that some families in the recovery process struggle with sleep. Parts of their brains are ready and waiting for the next nighttime crisis to arise.
Regular sleep loss can make the recovery process more difficult. For example, studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to a range of social and emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, social withdrawal and lack of motivation. Setting a consistent, adequate sleep schedule can help you get the rest you need to function your best and cope with the challenges of having a loved one with an addiction.
Support Groups For Parents Struggling With A Childs Addiction
Watching a child suffer through addiction can be incredibly painful for any parent. Parents are natural protectors who are biologically wired to help their offspring and protect them from harm. It is no surprise that many parents with good intentions end up enabling their childs addictive behaviors when what they truly want is to simply end their childs pain and suffering.
There are many resources and support programs available across the country for parents of addicted children including:
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones : PAL is a resource for parents struggling to cope with a childs addiction. Not only do they offer face-to-face support groups across the country, but they have a wealth of online resources and educational information that parents can access 24/7. PAL helps parents deal with the pain of loving an addicted child and teaches them how to change the way they relate to their childs struggles. Michael Speakman, founder of PAL, states, When we focus on changing the way we help our loved one, rather than trying to change them, it gives us realistic hope.
Al-Anon for Parents: Al-Anon also offers support groups specifically for parents in some locations. They also have a collection of online support stories available on their website, written by parents of addicted people for other parents of addicted people.
Social Effects Of Addiction
The effects of drug and alcohol use on a family go well beyond the four walls of the familys home. Some of the social effects of addiction include:
Stigma: Family members may not share what theyre going through with friends or colleagues for fear of being judged or treated differently.
Isolation: Because of the stigma attached to substance use disorders and alcoholism, families can isolate themselves from friends, communities, and social networks.
Abuse: Members of a family struggling with substance use disorders are at higher risk of emotional and economic abuse by others due to a lack of familial bonding and support.
Homelessness: Substance use can lead to financial difficulties, poverty, and homelessness. Studies have found that every third person seeking treatment for substance abuse is homeless. Not only is substance abuse a risk factor for housing instability, but homelessness is associated with more serious drug and alcohol problems.
Criminal behaviors: There are significant links between substance misuse and criminal behavior in both men and women. People with addictions are at risk of being both victims and perpetrators of crime. Substance use disorders can lead to incarceration for non-violent or violent crimes like assault and homicide. Family members, in particular children of incarcerated people, face a host of challenges.
How Addiction Affects The Family
Substance abuse affects a family on every level: emotional, psychological, financial, and social. A parents preoccupation with getting drunk or high can lead to neglect or abuse. The use of alcohol and drugs can lead to financial hardship, poverty, or bankruptcy. Shame and embarrassment over a family members intoxicated behavior can lead to social isolation and the avoidance of friends or relatives outside the home. These factors can create a destructive cycle in which substance abuse leads to emotional pain or mental instability, which triggers an even greater craving for alcohol or drugs.
Worst of all, addiction undermines the loving, trusting relationships that sustain a healthy family. Children may be forced into a parental role for parents who can no longer function independently. Spouses may hide their addictions from their partners, lying about their actions or expenditures. Parents of addicted children may go to great lengths to rescue a son or daughter from a destructive lifestyle, only to experience the heartbreak of seeing their child return to that lifestyle again and again. Restoring those relationships, which were often damaged long before the substance abuse began, requires time, patience, and the support of knowledgeable addiction professionals.
Advice For Families Of People Who Use Drugs
Lots of families in the UK have a loved one who is using or trying to come off drugs.
If you’re the parent, partner, child or carer of someone who uses drugs, you may feel worried, frustrated and alone.
It’s important to recognise this and get the help and support you need.
Families often play an important role in helping someone come off drugs. Getting help for yourself will put you in a better position for supporting your loved one.
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Why Family And Friends Need Support
There are many reasons why people who know an addict need help from a support group to get them through the other persons recovery. Addiction is a long-term problem and the things that an addict goes through can affect everyone around them. Close loved ones have many difficult and conflicted feelings about the addict and they need to talk about them with people that understand.
The dynamic between family members when there is an addiction in one or more individuals can be very complicated. Some family members may be angry and resentful, trying to exert control over the persons addiction by hiding bottles taking away their car keys. Others may unwittingly become enablers by helping take care of the addict, hiding their behavior or lying to other people about their substance abuse.
People within a family and even close friends often take on different roles when dealing with an addict. They may not even be aware of how they are coping with this persons addiction and how they are enabling or causing more conflict with them. Support groups give people a chance to get feedback on their relationship and learn better ways of dealing with these problems.
Support Groups For Families Of Addicts
Helping a loved one find treatment and rebuild his or her life can be a rewarding experience. It can also be frustrating and exhausting.
Many people affected by someone elses addiction seek professional counseling. Others join support groups composed of people who have had similar experiences.
Support Groups for People Affected by a Friend or Loved Ones Addiction:
- Co-Dependents Anonymous
- is a support group for people who have become abnormally reliant on helping others.
Most support groups follow steps similar to the 12 Steps invented by Alcoholics Anonymous. Other informal support groups also exist. Sometimes it takes a few meetings to find the right support group for you.
Addiction is a chronic disease. That means its long-lasting and can be reoccurring. Many people in recovery from addiction relapse. Families shouldnt feel disappointed or frustrated after a relapse. With hard work, faith and love, people with addiction and their family members can recover from the consequences of the disease.
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Being Married To A Person Suffering From Addiction
Addiction affects every aspect of family life, but living with someone with a substance use disorder is perhaps most difficult for a spouse. Being married to a person who is using harmful substances often means assuming the role of a provider while dealing with difficult emotions like anger, anxiety, stress, hopelessness, and isolation.
Addiction can create a lack of trust, chaos, emotional confusion, instability, and unpredictability in intimate relationships. Even in families where the person suffering from addiction is getting help, people often do not realize that the partner also needs care.
In families where one adult is dependent on drugs or alcohol and the other is not, a phenomenon called co-dependency can occur. A co-dependent persons behavior may be characterized by:
- Controlling behavior based on the belief that others cannot take care of themselves.
- Low self-esteem and denial of their feelings.
- Excessive compliance and compromise of their integrity and values to avoid anger or rejection.
- Oversensitive reactions.
- Hypervigilance to avoid conflict or trouble.
- Remaining loyal to others despite the other person not deserving it.
Studies show that co-dependency is significantly higher among women who are married to addicted versus non-addicted men.
Brief Strategic Family Therapy
- BSFT is based on a family systems approach to treatment, in which one members problem behaviors are seen to stem from unhealthy family interactions. The therapist and counselor establish a relationship with each family member, observe how the members behave with one another and assist the family in changing negative interaction patterns.
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What Are Two Support Groups For Families Coping With Alcoholism
While they may not be as prevalent as support groups for spouses and general family, there are some support groups that hold meeting designed specifically for siblings. Siblings of an addicted person can be a neglected group in the treatment of a family dealing with a loved ones addictionin particular, when dealing with an addicted adolescent, the siblings often feel ignored when the parents are so focused on the child with the addiction issues.2 Siblings may find common ground and encouragement with others in the same situation through support groups.
Al-Anon and Alateen both offer support group services to help young peopleincluding those adolescent and teen siblings impacted by someone elses drinking. In fact, Alateen is part of Al-Anon, but is specifically designed to help younger people who are coping with substance abuse in someone close to them, whether that individual is a parent, sibling, other relative, or friend.
What Are Examples Of Support Groups For Families Of Addicts
Because addiction affects so many family members, support groups for family members of drug addicts are very active in most communities. Examples of support groups available across the United States include the following:
- Nar-Anon Family Groups: This group is a 12 step program for family members of people with a drug addiction. It is a place that allows them to seek validation and support from other people who also have family members battling addiction, whether its a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, child, or another family member. Nar-Anon family groups are completely free to participants and are completely anonymous, just like Narcotics Anonymous.
- Al-Anon Family Groups: Al-Anon Family Groups are very similar to Nar-Anon groups in that they are a safe space to find support for people with family members that are addicts. It is a 12 step program, anonymous, and free of charge to attend like Nar-Anon. The main difference is that Al-Anon Family Groups are geared toward individuals who have family members abusing alcohol specifically.
- Families Anonymous: This group is aimed toward people with family members struggling with addiction. It is also a 12 step program like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon. It was originally created in 1971 for parents of children that are concerned about their childrens drug use. Now, it is more generalized and geared toward anyone that has a family member struggling with addiction.
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Family Support Groups And Addiction Treatment
Both inpatient and outpatient facilities offer support groups for patients to connect with peer groups. Among the most common are the 12-Step groups. 12-Step groups offer personal accountability and spirituality to help maintain sobriety.
Al-Anon is a support group focusing on families affected by substance abuse. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and cousins discuss their challenges with a loved ones substance abuse. Like other 12-Step groups, Al-Anon members use spiritual themes to encourage acceptance and compassion.
Alateen is another support group that includes teen family members who help each other heal and discuss complications from witnessing a loved one abuse harmful substances. With both support groups, family members can feel connected to the recovery process and provide input over their experiences.
Lastly, Narc-Anon sees family members of individuals who have become dependent on Narcotics discuss and problem-solve in a group setting.
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- FairfieldBHS.org. . Roles in Addiction. Retrieved on May 1, 2019 at
- NCIB.com. Treatment Improvement Protocol Series, No. 39. Center For Substance Abuse Treatment. . Retrieved on May 1, 2019 at
Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional: November 6, 2019
Deborah Montross Nagel
Parents Of Addicted Loved Ones
PARENTS OF ADDICTED LOVED ONESis an organization where people come together to support each other, share their stories, and find solutions. PAL is not a Twelve Step group, but many supplement their Twelve Step meetings with PAL group support.
Though the group name, Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, implies that to belong to this group you must have an addicted child, PAL offers support to all who find themselves taking a parental role in their relationship with an addicted loved one. This can include
- Biological parents
- Anybody in a relationship where your role is parenting the addict
One of the exercises PAL groups use is to picture your addicted loved ones age. Many parents of addicts found they visualized their offspring as an adolescent, even if the addict was an adult. The truth is that when somebody becomes addicted they stop growing emotionally. When you use a substance to shut down your feelings you dont have a chance to grow up through dealing with everyday life and the normal emotions and feelings life commonly causes.
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Where To Get Help For Family Members Of Drug Addicts
Help is out there for family members of drug addicts. It is important to understand that, just as your loved ones addiction didnt happen overnight, neither will their recovery. Working through this problem is a process. There will be some things you need to come to grips with and do on your own, and some things for which youll need to patiently wait.
The good news is that addiction treatment works, and that when your loved one is ready, its their best shot at sustained success.
In the meantime, we need to get you prepared to help your loved one on their journey to sobriety. Its not only about becoming familiar with the resources available to you and your loved one, but also gaining proper perspective, establishing boundaries, and caring for yourself throughout the process. After all, you will be a source of strength for your family member who is struggling with drug addiction so we dont want you to get dragged down a rabbit hole that wears you out and doesnt help anyone.
Smart Recovery For Family & Friends
Are you struggling with how to help someone with drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or other addictive behaviors? SMART Recovery would like to provide you with the resources you can use to help yourself, as well your loved one. SMART Recovery Family & Friends helps those who are affected by the substance abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other addictions of a loved one. SMART Recovery Family & Friends is a science-based, secular alternative Interventions. Our method is based on the tools of SMART Recovery and CRAFT .
Support & Education for Family Members & Friends
How to Increase the Likelihood of Recovery for the Addicted Individual
14 Separate Modules, Each a Stand Alone Unit
Achieve Emotional & Behavioural Balance for Self
Improve Interpersonal Environment for Addicted Loved Ones
Uses CRAFT: Community Reinforcement & Family Training Approach
SMART Recovery Meetings for Family & Friends are open to the Public. There is no cost to attend, however a $10 donation is appreciated. You do not need to contact the facilitator or register prior to attending you are welcome to just show up . If you do have questions about the meeting or need further information, you may contact Raymond Walli at or . For more information on Smart Recovery and their programs please visit www.smartrecovery.org
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Help For Family Members Of Drug Addicts Identifying Addiction Helping Vs Enabling Interventions & Treatment
One of the most important factors in alcoholism or drug addiction treatment is the strength of the support system around the person in need of help. If youre a family member of someone undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, you can have an enormous impact on their recovery by showing them that you are available and supportive.
However, because a loved ones addiction can be emotionally taxing, family members dont always have the resources or energy to provide this crucial support. In these cases, group therapy may be the best help for family members of drug addicts to overcome intense feelings and frustration.
The Role Of Family Support In Addiction Recovery
Family support can play a key role in a persons Recovery journey. When your loved one is battling addiction, they may feel a range of emotions, such as anger, fear and shame. While many feelings are often universal for those in Recovery, addiction to alcohol or drugs is an individual experience. This can make it difficult for family members to know how to offer support to a loved one who is going through Recovery.
Fortunately, at 7 Summit Pathways, we know how invaluable family support is during Recovery. If you are looking for ways to support your loved one, here is information and tips for offering the best possible family support.
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