The families of addicts and alcoholics are often deeply affected by their loved one’s addiction. Wanting your family member to get sober, not knowing how to help them, and not knowing what to do to support their recovery can be a harrowing experience. Oftentimes, family members will blame themselves to some extent for their family member’s addiction.
At Oregon Trail Recovery, we are aware of the effect addiction has on the families of addicts. Along with our expertise in addiction treatment, our staff have all been affected by addiction in some way on a personal level which is why we are so passionate about our work.
In this article, we discuss support groups for the families of addicts and ways you can talk to your loved ones about getting help.
Founded in 1951 by Lois W, the wife of Bill W, Al-Anon is a support group specifically for the families of alcoholics, their mission statement being Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers. Al-Anon is similar to AA in that it is a mutual support group, it is anonymous, it’s based around 12 steps, it has voluntary participation (meaning that if you just want to listen that is perfectly fine) and it’s a safe place for support.
The same way AA provides comradery for recovering addicts and alcoholics, Al-Anon provides comradery for the children, wives, husbands, and close friends of addicts and alcoholics. It isn’t a place where you and other family members get together and plot ways to make your loved ones stop drinking or using, it exists solely for the families of alcoholics and addicts.
Every meeting is a little different, so there may be some searching around to find the meeting that suits you best.
- Portland Area Al-Anon maintains a list of Al-Anon meetings and resources in the Portland Metro area
- A PDF of Portland Al-Anon meetings can be found here
- Oregon Al-Anon maintains a list of Al-Anon meetings throughout the state
- Washington Al-Anon, for families based in Washington
For younger family members, Alateen is a good support group. Essentially the same as Al-Anon, but geared towards people between the ages of 13 and 18. These groups offer support to the children of addicts/alcoholics and allow them to meet kids their age going through the same struggle.
You can find Portland-area Alateen meetings through Portland Al-Anon’s website
Nar-Anon is similar to Al-Anon, except it is specifically for the families of addicts. It is based around the 12 steps, is focused on healing for family members, and is a safe, anonymous space.
SMART Family & Friends Meeting
SMART Recovery also offers family support groups. These groups work similar to professional therapy sessions, giving you tools to support your loved one and cope with their situation without enabling them. Unlike Al-Anon and Alateen, registration is required for these events, though there are no fees.
Hazelden Betty Ford offers free virtual family support groups staffed by addiction professionals. These groups require registration and operate a couple of times per week. They also offer Connection for Families, helping families receive recovery insight and support, regardless of whether their loved one seeks treatment/sobriety.
The Herren Project is a nonprofit that provides free resources for treatment, recovery, and prevention of addiction disorders. One of their offerings Is free family support groups, which are led by licensed clinicians and social workers. The support groups are a free way for families of addicts and alcoholics to express concerns about their family members, find comradery, and learn healthy coping mechanisms. While the groups are free, they do require r.88egistration.
Nami Family Support Group
Though geared more towards adults with loved ones experiencing mental health conditions, this can be a useful resource for the families of addicts and alcoholics, especially for family members of dual-diagnosis addicts and alcoholics. These support groups are free, anonymous, and led by family members of people with mental health conditions. While not specifically geared towards families of addicts, the same comradery can be found in these groups.
- Multnomah County NAMI Groups
- NAMI Oregon Groups (for family support, select “NAMI Family Support Group” in the Class/Program drop-down menu)
OTR’s Family Communication
As mentioned earlier, our staff is very sensitive to the needs of families afflicted by addiction. With approval, we make sure to keep the families of patients updated with information about their progress as well as any major challenges that come up. We also offer family meetings and family weekends, where we give information on addiction, the treatment process, and further resources. We also include the patient in this process, so you can get updates and see their growth firsthand.
Some of our testimonials can attest to this, with a family member with the initials S.C. (to preserve anonymity) saying “addiction is a family disease, and everyone at Oregon Trail has been very sensitive to our family’s needs. The family weekends were informative, education, and allowed us an opportunity to interact with our loved one in his environment. Each time we left Oregon, we left with greater hope for our son’s long-term recovery.”
Recovery is a disease that affects everyone in the addict’s life, and we want to make sure to include family members in the healing process.
Contact us today for more information on our treatment options and family support.