One of the most important factors in drug or alcohol treatment is the strength of the support system around the person in need of help. If you’re a family member of someone undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, you can have an enormous impact on their recovery by showing them that you are available and supportive.
However, because a loved one’s addiction can be emotionally taxing, family members don’t always have the resources or energy to provide this crucial support. In these cases, there are several organizations that can help families in need, including Al-Anon, Alateen, Nar-Anon, Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, Families Anonymous, SMART Recovery Family & Friends and NAMI Family Support Groups.
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
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 Family & Friends
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.
GRASP, or Grief Recovery After Substance Passing, is a community designed to support people who have lost someone they love to addiction and overdose. In this way, GRASP provides an outlet not only for the mental and emotional toll of having and losing a loved one to a substance use disorder.
NAMI Family Support Group
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides more broad support group for family members of anyone who has experienced the symptoms of a mental health condition. Membership is free, and the weekly group is designed for adults family members.
The Benefits of Support Groups for Families Affected by Addiction and Mental Illness
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 addiction 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.
How to Find Family Support Groups
Information about in-person and virtual family support groups can be found on each organization’s website:
Family Addiction Treatment Programs
Family involvement is essential for the recovery process. If you have a loved one living with addiction, the sooner you get involved and seek support for yourself, the better. If your loved one is attending treatment at one of the many Recovery Village facilities across the country, The Recovery Village Family Program is a great place to start. Reach out to a representative for more information or visit our webpage today.
Al-Anon Family Groups. “Al-Anon Family Groups.” Published 2017. Accessed April 17, 2019. Al-Anon Family Groups. “Alateen.” Published 2017. Accessed April 17, 2019. Families Anonymous. “Welcome to Families Anonymous.” Published 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019. GRASP. “First Steps.” Published January 29, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019. SMART Recovery. “Help yourself, and help your loved one, with an alternative to Al-Anon and Johnson Intervention.” Published 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Al-Anon Family Groups. “Al-Anon Family Groups.” Published 2017. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Al-Anon Family Groups. “Alateen.” Published 2017. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Families Anonymous. “Welcome to Families Anonymous.” Published 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
GRASP. “First Steps.” Published January 29, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
SMART Recovery. “Help yourself, and help your loved one, with an alternative to Al-Anon and Johnson Intervention.” Published 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.