Sharing and Learning Boosts Family Wellbeing

From Gloucestershire to Mexico
Written by Andy Moore

From Gloucestershire to Mexico!

We all love a holiday, especially somewhere hot and sunny. An opportunity to relax, forget the stresses of everyday life and have some fun. For many it’s straightforward: just save the money, choose and book the holiday and go, but for those who live with and support family members with an addiction to drugs or alcohol it is anything but straightforward.

How can you relax and enjoy yourself when you are constantly worrying about what your loved ones are doing back at home? Will they still be alive when I get back? Will they have been arrested again? These are just some of the thoughts and feelings that family members may experience.

Family support

Here in Gloucestershire, we run a support group for family members and significant others whose lives are affected by somebody with a substance misuse problem.

The group follows a structured programme with each session addressing different issues, but the most powerful part of each session is the support that the members give to each other. Members share their experiences about what worked for them and let others know that they are not alone. Whilst the journey may be difficult there is hope that things can be different.

The online group is facilitated by a skilled member of Emerging Futures staff who is in recovery themselves. Not only do they facilitate the group, guiding members through a structured workbook, but they act as an inspiration for group members by sharing their own experiences.

Improved confidence and self-esteem

Group members have grown in confidence and self-esteem which helps them support their loved ones in a more positive and effective way. They learn how to take time for themselves and prioritise their own needs as well as caring for their loved one.

One group member who had felt broken by her experiences recently gained the impetus and resilience to take a two week relaxation break in Mexico: “I have SO much work to do before I leave for Mexico on Thursday evening, and things are quite tricky at home after a difficult weekend. Thank-you SO much for your support, the course has been so useful. And please stay on your own path of recovery as you are doing AMAZINGLY.  I pray with all my heart that my husband can one day be doing as well as you 🙏”

The group has grown in membership and there are now around 19 family members on the course with an average attendance of around 9 or 10.

The benefits are best summed up by this feedback from one of the members: “You do a fantastic job and the other ladies on the course were lovely. I really hope they continue to get some benefit from the sessions, I know I did. Thank you for all your help and patience. I still have the workbook and will continue to use some of the strategies and mindfulness exercises we were taught.”

Supporting family members is a key and integral part of any good drug and alcohol treatment system and here in Gloucestershire we are making a real difference to those whose lives are impacted by the drug and alcohol use of other family members.

Read more about family dynamics

Our group members love these books:

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

Counselling for Toads