A family is the primary source of nurturing, but substance abuse can alter how members live. Addiction is a grave concern that can affect the whole family of those with addiction. According to Pew Research, an estimated 50% of Americans have a family member who has struggled with drug abuse. Alcohol and drug addiction affects the whole family and even some close friends. While substance and alcohol abuse has different effects on each family, families face general problems, such as financial difficulties, emotional stress, and increased violence. Finding support groups for families of addicts can be vital.
Caring for a family member dealing with addiction can be challenging, painful, and sometimes disarrayed. Even if the person is treated successfully, there’s no guarantee that the family will remain emotionally okay afterward. This is why joining a family of addicts support groups is essential. This post will discuss what they mean, the various types, and how they can help a family cope with their loved one’s addiction.
What Are Support Groups for Addiction?
Support groups for addiction are individuals who have come together to offer support, encouragement, and guidance to addicts. These groups comprise people who have overcome their addiction and those who still struggle to maintain sobriety. Some are led by a psychotherapist or licensed medical staff. Addiction support groups aim to help one another overcome addiction and live a sober life.
Common types of support groups include 12-step programs, non-12-step programs, group therapy, and online/virtual support groups. These support groups can be vital in the recovery process. They offer a sense of community and support members to develop coping skills to maintain sobriety over the long term.
Support groups can help families and friends of those struggling with addiction overcome their emotional struggles and heal any wounds they might have sustained. Family members may go through various emotional responses, such as guilt, anxiety, and anger, to their loved one’s drug addiction. Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment where family members can share their experiences dealing with their loved one’s addiction, process their emotions, and validate these emotional responses.
Types of Support Groups for Families of Addicts
Some common types of support groups available for families of addicts include:
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are two of the most prominent support groups for families of addicts. Al-Anon is for families of alcoholics. On the other hand, Nar-Anon is for families dealing with drug addicts. Both groups are structured based on the 12-step program.
SMART Recovery Family & Friends
This is another support group for families of those dealing with addiction. The group is founded on the principles of SMART Recovery, a science-based program focused on addiction recovery.
Families Anonymous is based on the 12-step program. The group provides support to family members and encourages them to practice self-care.
PAL (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones)
PAL is a faith-based support group mainly for parents of addicts. The group supports, educates, and advises parents with a loved one struggling with addiction.
GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing)
GRASP is unlike the rest mentioned here. It’s a delicate support group for families who lost a member or a relative to addiction. GRASP offers a safe place for families to express their grief and shows them support and empathy.
Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families (ACA/ACDF)
ACA/ACDF is for adult children of alcoholic or dysfunctional families. It supports those who grew up in dysfunctional homes or homes affected by addiction.
Co-Anon is specific in its functions. It caters to families and friends of individuals with cocaine addiction. This group is also founded on the 12-step program.
Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA)
This support group is more elaborate in its functions. It supports families of individuals dealing with both addiction and mental health issues.
Effects of Addiction on Family
Alcohol and drug addiction have a long-term impact on families. Children and even adults who reside with those who have an addiction are more likely to engage in that behavior, which can affect them socially, physically, and emotionally. When you live with an addict, you may enable their behaviors and become codependent. Codependency is when you value the needs of others more than yours, even at the expense of your well-being. You name excuses for them to continue with their addiction.
Living with someone with substance abuse issues can sometimes overwhelm you with responsibilities and stress. You may also suffer depression in the process due to stress. Other effects it can have on family members include; poor communication, regret, and domestic violence.
How Can a Family Help a Loved One Who Has Addiction?
Addiction can be difficult for families, but you can take specific steps to manage the effects and help your loved ones recover. Here are what you should do:
- Let your loved one know that you will support them every step of the way.
- Encourage them never to skip treatment. If possible, accompany them to the sessions if they are undergoing outpatient treatment or partial hospitalization.
- Communicate with them calmly and respectfully and refuse to enable their addiction.
- Practice self-care and seek help too. Addiction can be emotionally and physically draining for family members.
At Cedar Oaks Wellness Center, we offer drug addiction support groups for families. We help family members to learn coping skills to manage stress and emotional issues associated with their loved one’s addiction.