We know that addiction can have a devastating impact on the families of those struggling with a substance use disorder. In fact, it’s been said that addiction is a disease of 1+4 because it affects not only the individual, but at least four other loved ones as well. Sadly, family members are often at a loss for how to help the individual in active addiction, other members of the family or even themselves. To make matters worse, the shame and stigma society associates with addiction keeps those that need help from reaching out – even to close friends and relatives. Instead, most families struggling with addiction suffer in silence and don’t know where to turn. The good news is that there are many wonderful family resources available to help them and other loved ones cope, heal and carry on. From 12-step meetings specifically for family members and other loved ones of individuals suffering with a substance use disorder to Family Support Navigators (FSNs).
“If it were any other illness, friends and neighbors would be stopping over with dishes of lasagna.”
We’ve created a comprehensive guide to help families navigate their way through this challenging and painful experience. In it, you’ll find tips and resources addressing everything from what to do if you suspect a loved one has a problem with alcohol or other drugs to understanding your (and your loved one’s) rights in regards to treatment, recovery support, and insurance coverage, descriptions of the various types of support and treatment options available in New York State and how to access them, navigating the insurance process, taking care of yourself, links to many helpful national and local organizations and so much more. The FOR-NY Family to Family Recovery Resource Guide is in production and will be available for download in late Spring 2017. If you’d like to be notified when it’s available, email FOR-NY Director of Education & Training, Theresa Knorr, here.
Family Support Navigators
The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) funds Family Support Navigators (FSNs) to help families and individuals understand the progression of addiction, how to navigate the insurance and treatment systems, and even how to adjust to a loved one’s return home from treatment. In short, Family Support Navigators provide support for families throughout the recovery process and connect them to a variety of vital resources. To see if there’s a Family Support Navigator near you, click here for a county by county directory.
Because the guide is so comprehensive, it may take some time to read it through thoroughly and access the assistance you need. In the meantime, you may want to attend local mutual aid groups or join one of the many online support communities like those included here:
- Al-Anon, Ala-Teen: offering support for friends/ families of people suffering from Alcoholism)
- ACOA: Adult Children of Alcoholics: supporting people who grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional homes
- Nar-Anon: 12 step program for friends and families of addicts
- CODA: Codependents Anonymous: offering support for people seeking healthy relationships
- Families Anonymous: 12 step group for families and friends of those with alcohol, drug and behavioral problems
- The Addict’s Mom: Sharing without Shame
- Mothers of addicts
- Parents of Addicts Online Support Group