The Drug Class Blog

Aug 15

Help for the Family

Addiction: Where Do Family Members Get Support?

Whether it’s your teen or adult child, your parent, your spouse or a sibling, dealing with a loved one’s addiction is hard. There are so many facets of the problem. Their behavior may range from selfish and impulsive to violent and bizarre. You can’t trust them. They may lie, cheat and steal. The ups and downs are exhausting. You are worried that they will wind up in jail, or worse. For an addict asking for help is one of the hardest steps. For them once treatment begins their journey to a new life has begun. But what happens to the loved ones how do they get help?


Addiction destroys relationships. It will leave the loved one feeling angry, resentful, frightened and just plain tired. This is common, and while much of the focus may be on getting your addicted family member the help they need, you need help, too. The problem is, loved ones frequently neglect their own needs while they are trying to help the addict.

It’s Okay To Reach Out And Get Help

Some people struggle with reaching out during their loved one’s addiction. Trying to take it all on yourself isn’t fair, though. You need support. Whether your family member is in their active addiction, in treatment or in recovery, you are likely dealing with a host of feelings and situations that are challenging and unfamiliar (or all too familiar). Getting support from people who understand should be a priority, and can make a big difference.

Where Can You Get Support When Your Loved One Is In Active Addiction?

During this time, it is essential that you get support for yourself, and for the rest of your family. During active addiction, family members are worried, angry, confused, and probably losing a lot of sleep. It can make a world of difference to have people who understand give you support, suggestions and a shoulder.

Where You Can Go



Al-Anon is a 12 step support group for family members and friends of alcoholics. There is also Narc-Anon. Either will work, regardless of your family member’s drink or drug of choice. These groups are held weekly and often daily. You can find locations and meeting times by calling their hotline or looking up schedules online.


There is no cost to attend meetings or participate. You will find a tremendous amount of support. You may feel nervous, but you’ll find that the meetings are low-pressure and casual and you can just show up and listen. There is also a similar group for teens, called Ala-Teen.

Do You Struggle With Codependency?


There is a fine line between supporting your loved one and enabling them. If you have difficulties setting boundaries, or if you find that your actions are helping your loved one stay in their addiction, you may benefit from some help yourself. CODA (which stands for Co-dependents Anonymous) can give you valuable tools and support to help you continue to love your addicted family member without enabling them or continuing to neglect your own self-care.

Getting Support When Your Loved One Is In Treatment

Your loved one is finally getting the help that he or she needs. You are relieved, but this isn’t the end of their journey -- or yours. There are still feelings of anger, grief and sadness. Trust may be non-existent. Having your spouse or partner in treatment may be placing a great deal of stress on you, especially if he or she was a breadwinner or the primary caregiver of your children. There are still plenty of issues that need to be worked out.


The treatment center itself may provide support. Some rehabs offer family support groups, counseling and other forms of support for loved ones. If that is the case, absolutely take advantage of this resource. It’s helpful to understand as much as you can about addiction, and about what is going on in treatment. In addition, these groups and sessions can give you tips and suggestions for supporting your loved one in their recovery, and give you an idea of what to expect when they come home.


If you have been attending Al-Anon meetings or CoDa meetings, you should continue going.

Support During The Recovery Phase

Your family member is now home from treatment. Things are different, for sure, but you aren’t exactly sure what that means. There may be a honeymoon period where you feel like everything is going to be wonderful now that they are sober, followed by anger and disillusionment when you realize that things haven’t changed the way you thought they would.


At this point, a good resource is family counseling. Ideally, your recovering loved one is still participating in some kind of aftercare or 12 step support group. And, hopefully you are also continuing your own self-care. Family therapy at this point can help facilitate better communication, and help you recognize patterns in your family dynamics that need to be addressed.


Individual Counseling

It’s important that you don’t minimize the effects that your loved one’s addiction has on you. Depending on the individual circumstances, you may be suffering from depression and anxiety, trauma and a great deal of anger, insecurity, fear and mistrust. If you feel that your feelings are preventing you from repairing your relationship, or participating in and enjoying your life, getting some individual counseling for yourself is a good idea.


Don’t make the mistake of neglecting yourself. There is a saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup” and you can’t fully support your loved one if you aren’t getting support for yourself.



Please if a loved one is suffering from addiction don’t feel like you can’t ask for help, it is so important that you take care of yourself while they are learning to take care of themselves or still in active addiction. One of the saddest parts of this disease is that it’s stigma is not just with the sufferer it also casts an ugly shadow on the loved ones that surround them often causing them to feel isolation and loneliness as well. This does not have to happen there are many resources for you to use. Reach out as you get better you will also be able to better help your loved one.



Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.


You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram




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