Addiction is a family health crisis with a need for support for everyone affected. In the pursuit of recovery for a loved one, you may overlook the need for care and encouragement for yourself, your spouse, and other family members. Let’s look at how finding and participating in support groups can help sustain you in your efforts to stand by someone with a substance use disorder.
Participating in family support groups can be a valuable way to sustain your energy and commitment to a loved one’s recovery or support yourself. In these groups, you can connect with people in similar situations, build your own support community, and learn new strategies for self-care. Al-Anon hosts meetings for people like you, with in-person and virtual options available. Origins Counseling Dallas offers several free support group options, including family support groups that meet virtually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Addiction Affects Whole Families
The impact of a substance use disorder on families knows no bounds. It can consume a great deal of time and energy, create chaos and instability, damage relationships, destroy trust, and deplete financial resources. The stress and strain on family members can cost them time at work, affect their health and sleep, and much more.
As you reflect on how addiction has changed your family dynamics, consider what has changed in how you come together as a family unit. For example, it might be avoiding the person with a substance use issue. You may feel a need to be heavily involved in their life at the sacrifice of your own interests and goals. Some families may struggle with how to talk about the issue and face communication breakdowns about other important topics.
Finding Support Through Groups
Feeling a sense of shame about a loved one’s addiction can compel some people to ignore their own needs for support. For example, you may have already cut yourself off from relatives and friends who have been judgmental and unsympathetic about your loved one’s recovery needs. Even if you have trusted people in your life, they may not want every interaction with you to be focused on your family member’s addiction.
Many families experience issues similar to the ones you’re dealing with right now. Connecting with people who are in the same situation as you is a valuable way to get the support you need to sustain yourself during very demanding times. Support groups for families provide a safe space to talk about your most significant challenges and learn from others how they face obstacles to helping their loved ones get sober.
How you participate in these support group settings is up to you. There’s no specific “end game” for attending, and there’s no requirement to speak at a first visit. Instead, you’re welcome to listen to others first and hear from new people what challenges they’re facing and how they respond. Then, share a story or ask a question at a time whenever you’re comfortable doing so.
An Introduction to Al-Anon
Al-Anon provides support groups for family members and friends of people with substance use disorders. Some groups meet in person, while others meet virtually. You can even choose from a variety of group types to fit your needs.
1. Meeting Day: Choose a day of the week that fits your schedule.
2. Meeting Language: English, Spanish, and French are spoken at different meeting sites.
3. Special Needs: Whether you need an accessible location, a meeting in sign language, or one offering child care, different Al-Anon meetings may provide accommodations for these needs.
4. Group Type: Find an Al-Anon group aligned with your goals for support. It could be a Family and Friends type, a Family, Friends, and Observers group, Parents only, or something else.
Free Support Groups from Origins
Origins Counseling Dallas hosts free support groups for families that is open to the public, you do not need to have a family member attend an Origins’ program to attend. Virtual groups are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. These groups are hosted on Zoom so that you can join from anywhere.
Virtual meetings offer an opportunity for full group topic discussions, including anger, forgiveness, and self-care. A clinician from Origins Counseling Dallas hosts these conversations.
If you face resistance from family members about trying a virtual support group, you may want to get acquainted with the support group first before inviting other family members to join you. Attending a virtual session or two first can help you explain how it works to others. You can also identify ways your new support group is aligned with the specific needs of your family as you work to learn more about addiction and how to respond to your family health crisis in positive and productive ways.
Origins Counseling is a program in Dallas, Texas, made available by a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We provide a comprehensive diagnostic assessment and evaluation, as well as renowned clinical care for addiction. We have the compassion and professional expertise needed to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1264.