Problem drug and alcohol use affects all those who care about the person, especially the family. Problem drug and alcohol use can affect all aspects of family life, including social life, finances, family roles, relationships and communication.
It is common for families living with substance misuse to experience a range of emotions including guilt, shame, fear and isolation. Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress. Alcohol/drug users can have very erratic and unpredictable behaviour and it can be difficult to know how they are going to act. Normal routines may often be interrupted by unexpected or frightening events. Family members may witness aggressive, angry and violent behaviour.
Each family copes with substance use in their own unique way. However, there are recognised stages that families tend to go through when there is serious alcohol or drug use:
Often, a family cannot cope with the impact of addiction on their own. Family support services can help you to acknowledge some of the problems and feelings you may be experiencing. A drug/alcohol user can only stop if they want to. If they are dependent on the drug, then it may be difficult for them to stop on their own. Finding help is the best thing you can do for you and your family member
You can download information and self-help resources from this website and we have provided a list of helping agencies here that you can contact. Additionally you could talk to your G.P. who can provide advice and link you to services.