Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone close to the person who has a substance use disorder. Groups designed for family members can help support positive outcomes for everyone touched by substance use disorder and other behavioral health issues. It is important to remember that if you think you need support, you are not alone. There are others who have been through similar experiences who can help you.
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Al-Anon is a worldwide fellowship that provides a program of recovery for the families and friends of people addicted to alcohol. Providing support for someone with alcohol addiction, whether recovering or not, can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Al-Anon has several resources that can help, including tools to find local meetings, quizzes to determine if your needs align with the mission of the organization, and frequently asked questions to address common concerns.
Part of the Al-Anon fellowship, Alateen is a program geared toward adolescent members of families affected by alcoholism. Like Al-Anon, Alateen literature focuses on common problems that family members of people with alcohol addiction face, including excessive caretaking, self-esteem problems, and undue blame and guilt.
Similar to Al-Anon, Nar-Anon is a 12-step program for the family and friends of people who are addicted to drugs. Nar-Anon holds regular meetings to help family members affected by the disease of addiction.
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) is a Christian-run non-profit based on one founding phrase: “People helping people through the woods.” PAL meetings are usually held weekly and provide support for parents who have children that are addicted to drugs or alcohol. PAL groups are run by peers and consist of both an educational and a sharing component.
Families Anonymous is another 12-step program designed for the family members of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or have related behavioral health conditions. Like the other groups on this list, Families Anonymous focuses on the similarities between the experiences of different attendees to show that many other families share in the same struggles.
SMART recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a secular alternative to Al-Anon and similar spirituality-based interventions. SMART Recovery Family & Friends is a science-based program for family members of people living with addiction. SMART Recovery Family & Friends has several meetings in many cities and uses non-confrontational methods to help loved-ones cope with a friend or family member’s addiction.