Are Support Groups For Families Of Alcoholics Helpful?

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An estimated 17.6 million people, or one out of every 12 adults in the United States, abuses alcohol. Millions more engage in risky drinking behavior, including binge drinking, which can lead to serious health problems, and drinking and driving. The behaviors exhibited by individuals who abuse alcohol can have a serious impact on family and friends, creating a toxic environment. Addiction can lead to marital problems, including separation and divorce, and alienate children and spouses. Support groups for families of alcoholics are helpful for both the family members and the individual who enters treatment. Dealing with an alcoholic family member can be an emotionally draining and isolating experience; support groups remind family members that they are not alone.


Living with Alcoholics: Family Support for Intervention

If you are living with someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse, it can be a frustrating and emotionally exhausting experience. Oftentimes families fragment into a collection of separate individuals who are simply existing under the same roof, rather than remaining a strong, cohesive family unit. Without any stability, family members feel alone and have no one to turn to for support. Family members may feel they have to “hide the truth” about what is happening to their loved one and feel like they are “living a lie.”

In order to cope with a loved one’s abuse, some family members choose to “look the other way”, attempting to ignore this abusive and destructive behavior. Unfortunately, ignoring a loved one’s addiction only enables continued alcohol abuse, creating a toxic and unhealthy environment. Getting help for a loved one and staging an intervention, however, is an emotionally draining and stressful experience. Support groups for families of alcoholics can help you stop the cycle of enabling behavior and better help your loved one. Support groups provide resources for planning an intervention and can connect you with affordable treatment programs in your community.

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Supporting Recovery & Long-term Sobriety

Family support groups will continue to be important even after your loved one completes treatment. Following treatment, you may find that new tensions arise. Common sources for stress include family conflicts, relationships, work and school, finances, and health concerns. It is natural for family members to experience trust problems and fear that their loved one will suffer a relapse. At times of tension and conflict, it may seem like things will never get better. Family members who are trying to support a loved one’s recovery also need support.

It is critical that the entire family be involved in the recovery process. Family support groups are an opportunity for family members to learn the best ways to support their loved ones during the recovery process. Many alcohol treatment centers provide family members with educational resources and the opportunity to attend joint counseling sessions with their loved ones. After individuals complete treatment, family members will continue to benefit from support groups. These support groups make it easier for everyone to institute a lifestyle change that supports individuals during the recovery process. For example, creating a supportive home environment that is free from alcohol is important to reducing the temptation for relapse. Support groups provide individuals with a safe place to share their fears and worries while finding comfort in the journeys and experiences of other group members.

Seeking Support: Finding Resources in Your Community

Joining a community support group is an important first step to better supporting a loved one during the recovery process.Just as an individual in recovery requires support from friends and family, so too do the individual’s family members. Family support groups provide the emotional support and resources necessary for family members to constructively support their loved ones during the recovery process. In addition to treating a loved one for their alcohol abuse, 12-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous and inpatient treatment programs also provide critical resources for family members of alcoholics. Joining a community support group is an important first step to better supporting a loved one during the recovery process. Contact and get started today.

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