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Addiction and relating behaviours have a great impact beyond the addicted Individual. The unfortunate truth is those who are hurt the most are often those who are closest to the addict.

Family members experience stress and fear when someone that they care about is unable to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs. Often, they feel as though it is a personal failing and that somehow, they are partly to blame.

Of course, this is not true. Loved ones play an important role in addiction recovery, but supporting an addict is difficult. It requires patience, occasionally tough love, and faith.

Addictions North East is sympathetic to the issues that living and caring for someone in addiction can bring. We know it is vital that the family of those in our services feel informed, supported, valued and part of in the individual’s journey.

Whilst we are compliant with data protection and will not disclose the nature of their loved one’s progression, we will include the family where possible and offer support for their own individual journey.

What Is Family Support?

The aim of family support is to help the family and friends of the individual by providing mutual support and to offer a forum where experiences and anxieties can be shared.

Listening to the shared experiences of others can help the family find the confidence they need to deal with the effects of their relatives’ addiction.

In our experience we have found it is possible to rediscover happiness, whether there loved one is in recovery or not.

Why use our support services?

The families and friends of an alcoholic or addict are deeply invested for the wellbeing of their loved one. Often, they have tried almost everything to stop their loved one from the unmanageability and behaviours that can cause chaos in family homes and damage relationships.

Addictions know no boundaries, can happen within any family, and can have a ripple effect on an entire family or community. Addiction can leave much trauma and it is important for the family to not feel abandoned as their loved one undergoes therapy and a seemingly new way of life.

The recognition that carers are powerless needs to be taken into consideration. They often need a great amount of support and coaching to feel part of their loved one’s journey. Boundaries are important and we use those with experience to guide and help those families we support.

Several our staff have had their own experience as “carers”. Addiction can often be generational, although not exclusively and we have a growing number of individuals who have seen their own addiction progress in relation to a family member.

How does the process work?

The support of the carers is exclusively carried out by different member of staff to those working with their family member. This ensures strict confidentiality and no information is exchanged between the respective teams. The autonomy of both parties is important.

The family may be assigned a highly training support specialist to assist throughout the process. Some of this family will be in a group setting with others in a similar situation, there is also 1-2-1 scheduled support throughout.

Addictions North East has developed training (link) that is aimed specifically at helping the family understand their family member or friend in addiction. This training is designed to:

  • Educate the family on addiction
  • Educate on terminology of 12 steep model approach
  • Introduction to 12 step support – Al Anon and Families Anonymous
  • Therapeutic sessions aimed to support and counsel
  • Input on relapse prevention
  • Participation in structured intervention sessions with clients in treatment
  • Communication and conflict resolution support

Addiction North East encourages friends and families to attend support groups, depending on their beliefs and circumstances.
Some family members have enjoyed a great deal of support from Families Anonymous and Al-Anon or groups in their own localities.