When we think of support groups, often it’s Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other twelve-step derivatives that come to mind. As most of us are aware, those are support groups for addicts. They offer those who are suffering from addiction with a place and a community to which they belong, and with the twelve-step method, they are also given a blueprint that will help them achieve not only physical and psychological recovery but spiritual recovery a well. In short, the twelve-step method addresses all the effects of addiction, allowing groups of people to help one another through the addiction recovery process while they derive strength from their spirituality.
However, twelve-step and a number of other support groups aren’t only for addicts. There are actually a number of support groups intended specifically for the loved ones of addicts, providing them with a place where they can relate to others who are also trying to cope with the many emotions one feels when he or she has a loved one who is suffering from addiction. The people who attend support group meetings attest that they are instrumental in helping them to get through a very difficult, emotional experience. Therefore, the following are several of the most popular support groups for the family members, friends, and other loved ones of people addicted to alcohol and drugs.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the original twelve-step support group for alcoholics. It was created in 1935, after which time its membership group rapidly. Due to Alcoholics Anonymous being the first twelve-step group, it makes sense that Al-Anon would be the most prolific iteration of a twelve-step group for an addict’s loved ones. Al-Anon is typically seen as the premiere, quintessential support group for loved ones of alcoholics. In this and other support groups, members don’t necessarily provide direction to one another; instead, they simply share their individual experiences. However, this sharing of their stories is not to be underestimated since it allows members to derive strength and encouragement through relating to individuals who are having similar experiences. Moreover, people who have an addicted loved one will often very similar experiences, especially when an addict’s addiction causes him or her to turn on or even hurt his or her loved ones. These potential instances are particularly useful for the loved ones of alcoholics, helping them to cope with an overwhelming situation.
Much like Al-Anon for the loved ones of alcoholics, Nar-Anon is a twelve-step support group for the family of those addicted to drugs, particularly narcotic drugs like heroin and cocaine. Also like Al-Anon and the numerous twelve-step programs for addicts, Nar-Anon is a spiritually-oriented program that’s meant to offer the family members and friends of narcotics addicts with a place where they can gain a much better understanding of the disease of addiction, accept that they cannot stop or cure an addict’s disease, and cope with the profound effects that one person’s narcotics addiction often has on the people in his or her life. And one of the benefits to Nar-Anon (and also Al-Anon) compared to other support groups for addicts’ loved ones is the fact that this is a national group rather than a local organization; in other words, Nar-Anon is going to be available in a much wider range of places than other programs, making it as accessible as it is helpful.
It’s very common for addicts and their loved ones to be codependent to some degree. Many people will have at least heard the term “codependency”, which refers to an unhealthy relationship wherein an addict relies on a loved one to either protect him or her from the repercussions of his or her actions or to provide money so that he or she can obtain alcohol or drugs; meanwhile, the loved one either knowingly or unknowingly enables the addict for fear that he or she would abandon him or her if the substance abuse habit was not enabled. Fortunately, a twelve-step support group called Codependents Anonymous is designed for both the addicts and the loved ones. Like other twelve-step support groups, Codependents Anonymous lets codependent people meet and relate to others who are codependent with addicts; in short, this helps them to identify behaviors they need to address and learn healthier ways to behave that aren’t codependent or enabling.
There have been countless studies to investigate whether a correlation exists between having parents who were alcoholics during one’s childhood and the development of substance abuse problems in adulthood. Some studies have found the children of addicts and alcoholics to have an increased susceptibility to substance abuse problems in adulthood, which would make sense. Additionally, there’s evidence that the children of alcoholics have many profound mental and emotional issues that manifest over the course of adolescence and adulthood. In many cases, these individuals aren’t aware that the source of many of their issues is their experience of being the children of alcoholics and addicts. But that’s why a support group called Adult Children of Alcoholics is so important: It allows these individuals to come together and share their stories, relate to one another, consider alternate perspectives, and give and take advice that may help them to overcome the debilitating effects of being the children of alcoholics.
Nobody deserves to continue suffering in the throes of active addiction. Conversely, the loved ones of addicts have every right to the support and mutual aid of others who have had the unfortunate experience of having to watch someone they love deteriorate from a substance abuse problem. However, Intervention Services is here to help. If you or someone you love would benefit from more information about intervention, addiction, or the recovery process, call Intervention Services at 877-478-4621. Don’t wait a moment longer. Get back your health, life, and opportunities with just one phone call today.