Addiction is truly a family disease. Groups that support families of addicts are an important part of the recovery process for both the addicted person and their loved ones. Addiction therapy should always be a part of the solution for any family living with a substance use disorder, but these support groups play an equally important role in providing strength and hope.
Groups That Support Families of Addicts
Here is a brief rundown of five groups that support families of addicts to help you decide which might be the best fit for your family.
The original group to support families of addicts, Al-Anon came about way back in 1951 by Lois Wilson, wife of AA co-founder Bill Wilson. Their primary focus is providing help and guidance for family members of people with alcoholism in accordance with 12-step principles. It’s an especially great fit for the family members of someone already in AA, but they can be of assistance to the loved ones of anyone living with an alcohol use disorder.
Nar-Anon followed in 1968, after the development of the Narcotics Anonymous fellowship. Like Al-Anon, they support families of addicts through meetings, literature and fellowship. The primary difference with Nar-Anon is that they are connected with the NA program. This means they focus on all drugs of abuse, not just primarily alcohol. Again, the program works especially well for families of people in NA, but they can help anyone with an addicted family member.
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)
The full name of this group is now Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families, or ACOA for short. They support families of addicts as well and are 12-step based like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. The difference here is that there is more of a focus on repairing the damage that often occurs when one grows up in a household with alcoholism or addiction.
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL)
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones or PAL offers a non-12 step alternative to support families of addicts. It features what they call an “evidence-based educational component” and peer-to-peer support. They have weekly meetings as well as literature and online forums. PAL is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit like the others on this list.
Recovering Couples Anonymous
Recovering Couples Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship that works to support families of addicts. They are unique in that their focus is on couples’ relationships. Helping people understand and repair the damage done to marriage and domestic partnerships by addiction is their primary mission. They also offer meetings and encourage couples to work together to repair their relationships using their literature and guidance.
The Value of Fellowship
Many people are aware of the ways in which addiction therapy and fellowships can help the recovering addict. But far fewer focus on the family’s needs, which have been impacted by addiction. The fact is that families who engage in the healing process for themselves often find that there is a synergistic effect. Not only do they heal themselves, but they help others around them. Including their loved one who is living with addiction. If any of this resonates with you, by all means, reach out to one or more of the groups above and get involved. You will be glad you did.
If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, Promises Brazos Valley can help. Give us a call to discuss the options for a brighter future for yourself or your loved one. Please get in touch with Promises Brazos Valley at 800-393-0391.