Help for families of addicts: 5 places to seek help

If your family is affected by addiction, who can you turn to for help? I’ve been there…and I share my real life suggestions for getting help for families of addicts here.

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If your family is dealing with addiction and you have had enough, there is no time like the present to become proactive. Instead of feeling like there are heavy bricks on your chest and you are losing the battle, take a proactive approach to helping you and your family recover. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless, and until we recover from our own signs of being a co-addict, we cannot help an addict recover.

We can help ourselves and our loved ones who are affected by addiction to take back their lives, regain some sanity and feel less alone. Here are five (5) resources for finding help for families affected by addiction. And we invite your questions, experiences, or shares about treatments for codependent behaviors or finding help for family systems struggling with addiction…in the comment section at the end.

Where can families of addicts find help?

1. Seek knowledge in books.

History Repeats Itself! Know what you are dealing with. Read up on addiction. There are great books out there on addiction, like Healing the Addicted Brain. Read about co-addiction. There are books on codependency and co-addiction like, Hope Street. In order to understand what you are facing it is good to understand what has come before. There are a lot of people who have been there, done that! Feeling understood, and reading stories of people who were able to triumph will give you hope and inspiration.

2. Seek advice from friends or experts.

Speak to people, friends, and acquaintances about your problems that have been through the same situation. Hearing that you are going to be okay from people who have survived addiction is a great way to motivate yourself. Advice from an expert is another type of advice that could be beneficial. An expert on addiction could help guide you through the process of recovery. There are therapists who are experts in working with addicts and addictive families who can help you understand the course of addiction.

3. Find community support.

Most communities provide support for addiction that is usually free or covered by insurance. There are community support groups you can join to help you cope. Look to your public health department, local religious organizations or simply google “addiction help” in your area. Support groups can be an instrumental step in recovery. Support from peers and others in your situation can help you feel like you have somewhere to turn.

4. Go to an Al-Anon, Alateen, or Nar-Anon meeting.

This is another, but very specific form of recovery and support for the families dealing with addiction. Everyone knows about AA and NA, but Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are for the people affected by addiction. The focus is on the co-addict or family member and how they can take back their life and heal despite what is going on with the addict in their lives. Some people find this very effective and really appreciate the group support they find in these rooms, although Al-Anon alternatives are also out there.

5. Comfort each other.

If your family is living with an addict, odds are each person feels isolated and helpless or has given up. If you get together without the addict and come up with a plan for internal support for one another this might help you gain back some trust in your family unit. Creating a plan of action for your and your family on how to deal with issues that come up, making a safe space in your home, keeping the lines of communication open, and drawing a roadmap on how you will move on despite what the addict does is a great way to take back your family from the reigns addiction. Even if you chose to live with the addict, you can still learn to live again and encourage each other.

About the author
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.
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