Find a Meeting or Support Group for Addiction
Whether your child is in recovery, relapsing after treatment, or stuck in the throes of addiction, you face tremendous stress each day. Sometimes you may feel that you don’t need help since you are not the one struggling with addiction. However, finding an addiction support group can work wonders for parents who could use some extra understanding.
Though no two families’ situations with teen addiction look exactly alike, other parents can walk alongside you, and offer realistic coping skills and genuine care.
Support groups exist not only in your community but also online. Neither option is better than the other — it’s all about what benefits you the most. To figure out the format that works best for you, just try out a few different options.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a support group meeting finder on its website. This tool allows you to locate groups in your community, based on your loved one’s addiction.
Support for Families and Friends
Living with a drug addict isn’t easy for anyone. Both groups approach addiction as a family disease, and members tend to understand just how deeply your teen’s addiction impacts you, your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends — everyone.
Nar-Anon and Al-Anon Family Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer help for addicts themselves, while Al-Anon and Nar-Anon hold support groups for families of addicts. Members work through their own 12 step programs, aimed at helping family and friends recover from the effects of their loved one’s addiction. The organizations encourage you to attend at least six meetings before you decide if they are right for you.
Some members may stick to fellowshipping with with one another at meetings, but Nar-Anon and Al-Anon also provide structure for members who wish to spread the word about addiction disease in their communities.
Find local Nar-Anon meetings at www.nar-anon.org, and find local Al Anon meetings by visiting www.al-anon.org.
If you have other children, remember that they too may have struggled due to their brother or sister’s addiction. Alateen is an Al-Anon group just for youth ages 13–18, many of whom have spent years dealing with an alcoholic sibling. Your kids will connect with kindred spirits and receive support through Alateen. Local and online chat meetings can be found at www.al-anon.org/for-alateen.
Also, let your teen’s close friends know that they are welcome to attend meetings with you if their parents allow it. Not only can this be helpful — especially if they have — they might also learn some great ways to help a friend who is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Recovery Programs for Recovering Addicts
Your struggling teen can benefit tremendously from meeting with others who endure the disease of addiction. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that support group participation is a major indicator of successful, continued addiction recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program dedicated to encouraging people who are addicted to alcohol. People of all ages, races, economic groups and belief systems are welcome to attend AA meetings. The only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking.
AA members “share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”
Some AA meetings are “closed” and only members may attend, while others are “open” so that family members can join their addicted loved one. If you wish to go to an AA meeting with your teen, contact your local chapter before the meeting to ensure that the upcoming meeting is considered open. The closed meeting rule exists to preserve the privacy of members and the anonymous nature of AA.
Learn more about AA online at www.aa.org.
Narcotics Anonymous is another 12-step program for people suffering from substance addiction. Meetings are home to people from all walks of life — members are not defined by a single religion, income level, age, religion or race. The binding factor is that everyone at NA wishes to stop abusing substances. Whether your teen is addicted to drugs, alcohol or any other substance, they will find acceptance and support at NA.
“We meet regularly to help each other stay clean. We are not interested in what or how much you used, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help.”
NA meetings generally last about an hour or slightly longer, and are self-run by members, not paid treatment professionals. Find an NA meeting at www.na.org.
Does Your Child Need Addiction Treatment?
If you think your child may be abusing drugs or alcohol, now is the time to seek some help. It’s easy to stick your head in the sand and hope that the problem will go away on its own — but the unfortunate truth is that substance abuse issues rarely resolve without some form of intervention.
We know how difficult it can be to reach out for help. Society’s negative stigma of addiction certainly doesn’t make things any easier. But now is the time to forget what your friends, family and neighbors may think, and do everything in your power to save your child. Your child needs you — they can’t overcome this problem without your help.
At TeenRehabCenter.org, we can walk you through every step of the way. We can help you determine whether your teen needs professional treatment for substance abuse, figure out the cost of drug rehab programs that could work for your child, provide you with a list of vetted treatment options, and locate appropriate rehab aftercare, such as support groups in your community or online.
Best of all, our help is free and private. Just give us a call — now is the time for you to save your child’s future.
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