People that are struggling to become sober have lots of support from their treatment center and regular group meetings so that they can handle the experience. What about the family and friends of addicts that are also grappling with this difficult time? Support groups for those that have loved ones with addictions can be a very helpful and healing resource.
Twelve step and other types of treatment programs understand that it is not just the addict that is negatively impacted by substance abuse. When someone has an addiction it can hurt them and everyone around them. The way that a person behaves while they have an addiction can be very painful and confusing for their loved ones.
Support groups for an addict’s close friends and family can be a place for people to talk about what they are dealing with now and what has been problematic in the past. There are many frustrating aspects of knowing someone with an addiction and being able to talk about it can help ease some of the stress and make it more manageable. These kinds of support groups are designed to give people an outlet for dealing with their feelings about a person’s addiction and the recovery process.
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 person’s 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 person’s 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 person’s 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.
Spouses of addicts can have especially complex issues with their partner and may not know how to improve their relationship. The addict’s intense focus on their drug or alcohol use can leave their partner feeling unloved, neglected and resentful. An addict may also neglect their role as a parent leaving their partner to take on the duties alone.
Different Kinds of Support Groups
Because there are a multitude of issues that can come up when a person has a relationship with an addict, there are a variety of support groups available for help. There are support groups specifically for spouses because their relationship leads to unique dynamics that need to be addressed. Spouses of addicts need to be around others that have experienced similar problems with their partners so that they can receive the advice and support that they need.
There are other support groups available for specific family members such as parents of addicts. It can be especially painful and disappointing to have a son or daughter who has developed an addiction. Parents may be dealing with feelings of failure and may be unknowingly enabling their child by helping them.
Addiction can be especially hard on children who witness the addictive behavior of a parent on a regular basis. Children with an addicted parent often live in chaos or fail to receive the care and parenting they need to become a functioning adult. Support groups for children of addicts can be a safe place for people to confide in others who have also grown up with an addicted parent.
There are even support groups especially for siblings of addicts that are dealing with their own unique issues of living with someone else’s addiction. Siblings often feel ignored because the addict requires so much attention from parents and everyone else in the family. Siblings can also worry about the addict and their safety or feel unable to help them.
Whatever your relationship is to an addict, there is a support group available to help you work through your feelings about the situation. The more you learn about addiction from the group the more you will have a better understanding of how to cope with your loved one’s problems. Support groups can help everyone involved with the addict feel that they can handle them and their recovery.