Drug and alcohol misuse can affect
families in a variety of ways.
Depending on the severity
of the problem,
the family member
will often be very, very angry,
very worried, very concerned.
The kinds of words that they use are
words like "traumatised", "devastated".
If they're parents, they often feel
that they've failed as parents,
so they feel very guilty.
If their family member
is stealing from them,
as sometimes happens
so they can fund their drugs habit,
they feel very angry,
they feel very betrayed, very let down.
This leads to a variety of problems
for the family member
because they often will lose sleep,
they become very anxious, very worried.
Rather than being judgemental,
try and understand what's going on.
Try not to blame.
Talk about the behaviour
and the drug use that's not good
rather than the child not being good.
Try to maintain the drug user
in the knowledge
that there's somebody
who really does care for them
despite everything that they're doing.
There are some families who would
give the family member money
for drink or drugs for example,
and will be really clear about that.
There are other families who know
that's that what they should do
but perhaps find it
very difficult to resist
because of the way they feel
about the drug or alcohol user.
They're more likely to try
and protect them by giving them money
or even sometimes by buying the
themselves for them.
Have a plan so there are small steps
which will help
that person with the problem
towards getting into treatment
and once they're in treatment,
to come to a full recovery
from the problem that they've got
and actually setting some steps
along the way,
some goals, some targets
that they can achieve
and perhaps putting in some rewards
once that's happened.
The help that someone can get
from a support group
or from talking to somebody else
who's been in the same position
I think can be really powerful
because it can help the family
to work out their own boundaries.
The bottom line
is around really deciding
what is acceptable behaviour
in your home
if that family member with the
is living under your roof.
Really be clear
about what's acceptable to you,
what you will and won't do.
You need to separate yourself out
from the drug or alcohol user's problem
as far as you can, and actually look
for support for yourself.
We very much believe that if a
member can get strength and support,
information, advice, peer support
from another organisation,
from a self-help group for example,
then they're far more likely
to be able to deal with the problem
because they have to say,
"I can only help and support
that I love who's changed such a lot
if I'm strong and capable myself."
Drug and alcohol users will go
what is described as a cycle of change.
It's really important that family
members understand that cycle
so they can identify
at which stage the drug user is at.
Users can be at any stage between
through to wanting to change,
seeking help to change,
accepting change and coming through.
It's very easy to focus so much
on the drug or alcohol user
that everybody else gets sidelined,
so at a really simple level,
ensuring that family routines
and rituals are maintained.
The other end of the extreme is that
there is specialist support available
for a whole family if that's what
the family chooses to do.
Drug and alcohol problems
can affect any family.
It's perfectly natural
to feel guilty about it,
but don't ever assume
that it's your fault.