Resources to Help Families and Friends Weather the Storm
Millions of families are living in the grip of drug and alcohol addiction. Today there’s a growing community of parents, friends, and relatives who are sharing their stories online — and giving strength to others affected by addiction. Vertava Health has prepared this original collection of support resources, for those dealing with a loved one’s chemical dependency. We conducted research on countless addiction websites and blog postings. There is no other identical compilation of online resources that are specific to family and friends and this is one of the most extensive. It is imperative that family and friends of addicts have the support they need as they grapple with the myriad of complex issues.
How Did We Select These Resources?
Blogs and websites were selected based on the amount of free, helpful information or insights they offered. The list favors non-profit and non-commercial websites, although a few do have materials for sale.
Online support for those who care about someone addicted to heroin, Oxycontin or other drugs. Includes FAQ on treating opiate addiction, an online community forum and a section on realistic expectations for substance use treatment.
Fellowship for families and friends of alcoholics — including e-mail groups, chat rooms, virtual conference calls, and meeting locators. Founded in 1951, Al-Anon meetings are held in more than 130 countries, offering support to those affected by the problem drinking of someone close to them. Alateen is the organization’s program for teenage members.
An award-winning blog is written by a couple whose youngest son is in recovery. Lots of insights on how to parent an addict, deal with life in chaos and retain hope. An excerpt: Alex and his family still doing well. There are a few things I take from his journey:
- nothing is impossible
- hope is everlasting
- love is better than anger
- never give up
- if you need a break take one, then get back at it
- accept what is, give up on the world of “ought to be”
- if the world falls apart tomorrow, I still have today
A wealth of information on parenting troubled teens and preventing teen substance use. Includes a free parent toolkit, a toll-free parent helpline, grandparents’ guide and tips on how to intervene and have effective conversations with your child about drugs. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping teens live free of drug and alcohol use.
Based on the popular “Getting Them Sober” book series, this website helps families deal with the turmoil of living with an alcoholic. Includes family discussion board, free e-mail newsletter, and articles on such topics as handling vacations and holidays, and how to know if an alcoholic is serious about sobriety.
Worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. Online community forums on recovery, friendship and grieving the loss of an addicted loved one. State locator for teen and adult Nar-Anon meetings, where members share their experiences in-person to solve common problems. Nar-Anon’s 12-step program of recovery is adapted from Narcotics Anonymous.
Created to help parents with children of any age who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Includes links to inspirational stories and a free “Ask the Experts” forum with a panel of eight addiction recovery specialists. It provides wisdom, support, and guidance from other parents who have a child with substance use problems.
FAMILIES AND ADDICTION
A clinical social worker launched this popular blog in 2006 to help families struggling with addiction. Guides parents on how to access community resources and help themselves. Lots of support and ongoing dialogue for those affected by another’s substance use.
Empowers/trains parents to help their addicted children using a non-confrontational approach known as CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). This intervention is designed to keep parents involved in a positive, ongoing way, while also taking care of themselves.
Connects families with online support forums organized by disease type: opioid addiction, alcohol dependence, stimulant addictions, and benzodiazepine addiction. This nonprofit website is dedicated to providing peer support communities for those with addiction disorders and their loved ones.
Opinionated and insightful blog by an addictions counselor who has been doing interventions for more than 25 years. Links to timely news articles on addiction topics; blogs about drug laws, addiction, treatment, and the recovery movement.
A 12-step fellowship for those with relatives and friends who have drug, alcohol or behavioral issues. More than 500 Families Anonymous meetings are held each week in the U.S. and abroad. Alternative web-based meetings (including the E-meeting and the Meeting without Walls) are available. Free downloads on addiction and an online newsletter.
A mother’s online ministry/blog about her son’s addiction to Oxycontin and opiates. Helpful information for other parents on the early warning signs of addiction, co-dependency and initial strategies to consider.
A national campaign to mobilize people in recovery from all walks of life — and their families, friends, and allies. Inspiring stories and research trends showing the individual and societal benefits of long-term recovery.
RECOVERING COUPLES ANONYMOUS
Fellowship of couples working to restore their relationships after addiction. Founded in 1988, Recovering Couples Anonymous has online and in-person meetings. Members strive to stay committed in loving and intimate relationships and help other couples achieve freedom from addicted and destructive relationships.
A mother’s well-told journey to help her son — a recovering heroin and meth addict. Launched in 2010, this up-to-date blog chronicles the heartbreak and struggles shared by other families. An excerpt: “Addiction was not in my dreams, not even close. I never thought that I would lay awake at night wondering if my son was still alive, spend his life in prison, spend the rest of his life as a junkie, would he ever get clean, how can I help him get clean, or spend hours and hours searching for him. I have done my best over the years to pick up the pieces of my life and glue them back together.”
HELP FOR PARENTS (NCADD)
Guidelines for parents on keeping kids alcohol and drug-free, from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Stories from parents, prevention tips, information on genetic risk factors, teachable moments and more.
Support and guidance for families in crisis. Volunteers lead-free B.I.L.Y. parent support groups for those who have children (of all ages) with behavioral problems, addiction, and other issues. B.I.L.Y. aims to help parents regain control of their home, establish structure and find the strength to develop new, cooperative family relationships. The website includes a meeting locator, parent videos and an extensive reference library.
FREE FAMILY SUPPORT GUIDE
Vertava Health offers spouses, parents, and other helpful guides and objective information on addiction and recovery. Topics include how to get involved in a family member’s rehabilitation, dealing with denial and resistance, how to find the right recovery program and ways to help after rehab treatment.