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7 Support Groups for Families of an Addicted Loved One

Over the course of active addiction, individuals become accustomed to living an unstable, unhealthy life in which the passage of time is marked by a perpetual cycle of seeking drugs, consuming drugs, and then seeking drugs again. Addicts become a shell of their former selves, physically and even psychologically compelled to consume alcohol and administer dangerous drugs to excess. Before they know it, addicts have lost years or even decades of their lives to addiction, often losing their money, homes, families, or even their lives in the process.

Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease that has resulted in many good people losing their lives. However, despite the profoundly devastating effects that the disease of addiction has on those who suffer from it, addiction ripples through the lives of all those an addict loves, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Since addicts often turn to lying and stealing to sustain their addictions to alcohol and drugs, loved ones are often victimized and used to an alarming degree; addicts will quickly resort to stealing from family members, continuing to “borrow” money that is never paid back, and lying to loved ones if that’s what they need to do to obtain more of their substance of choice. Then there are those loved ones who don’t understand what it means to be an enabler, inadvertently making an addict’s disease worse than it already is.

With addiction being so widespread, there are countless family members, friends, colleagues, spouses and partners, and other loved ones of addicts who not only have no idea how to help the addict or addicts in their lives, but feel alone in their suffering and are unsure how to alleviate the side effects of addiction that affect everyone an addict loves. The good news is that there are a variety of services and support groups that are intended specifically for the loved ones of individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. These groups offer the loved ones of addicts an invaluable resource for a variety of reasons and are highly beneficial for those experiencing the secondhand effects of the disease of addiction. Here are seven support groups from which the loved ones of addicts would benefit the most.

Al-Anon Family Groups

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Often seen as the quintessential support group for loved ones of addicts, Al-Anon is an effective group for loved ones of addicts or, more specifically, alcoholics. Members of Al-Anon don’t necessarily provide direction to one another, but rather share stories individually and find strength in being able to relate to others who are going through or have been through similar experiences. The philosophy of the group is to “take what you like and leave the rest.” This is a great support group for spouses or partners, adult children, teens, parents, grandparents, and siblings of alcoholics or who have been, in some way, negatively affected by a loved one’s alcoholism.

Nar-Anon Family Groups

nar anon

Like Al-Anon for loved ones of alcoholics, Nar-Anon is the counterpart, a twelve-step support program for the families, friends, and other loved ones of those addicted to drugs. As a spiritual program, Nar-Anon offers spiritual recovery and helps the loved ones of addicts to understand addiction as a disease, accept that loved ones cannot cure an addict’s disease, and to cope with the profound effects that an individual’s addiction can have on others. Nar-Anon also offers nationwide meetings, support specifically for teens, an active online community, and tons of helpful literature.

Co-Dependents Anonymous

co dependents

It’s common for the loved ones of addicts to inadvertently enable the addict’s addiction due to co-dependency. When an addict and a loved one are co-dependent, this means the addict often needs the loved one in order to obtain alcohol or drugs while the loved one provides assistance—money, transportation, a place to live, etc.—despite awareness of the individual’s substance abuse for fear that the addict will abandon the loved one. This co-dependency is dangerous for both individuals. However, Co-Dependents Anonymous is a derivative of the original twelve-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, and is intended for those individuals who have found themselves co-dependent on others, helping those individuals to have healthier relationships free of co-dependency.

Dual Recovery Anonymous

dual recovery

In the same vein as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) is an important support group for both dual-diagnosis addicts as well as their family members, spouses, friends, and other loved ones. Built upon the same Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as the other essential twelve-step programs, Dual Recovery Anonymous recognizes that dual-diagnosis patients need support not only for addiction, but for the other co-occurring, or comorbid, disorder from which they suffer. For loved ones of dual-diagnosis patients, this provides a support network in which they can receive the encouragement and education needed to facilitate understanding and to recovery from the secondhand effects experienced as a result of a loved one’s dual diagnosis.

Adult Children of Alcoholics

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Although this support group is specifically for a subgroup of loved ones of addicts, Adult Children of Alcoholics has a proven track record of being an incredible resource for those individuals who have ground up with one or both parents suffering from addiction. Rooted in the same Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and most twelve-step programs, Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) offers meetings nationwide as well as phone meetings and even internet meetings so that any adult child of an addict or alcoholic can receive the support that he or she needs. This group operates on the belief that parental addiction causes dysfunction in the family unit that will likely affect the children of those addicted parents even in adulthood. As such, this is an ideal group for those individuals with parents who were previously or are currently addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.

Learn to Cope

Founded in 2004, Learn to Cope is an extensive peer support network that’s designed to offer moral and emotional support, encouragement, even education and valuable resources to the family members and loved ones of addicts. Although it’s slightly oriented toward addiction to opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers, loved ones of individuals addicted to any substance, whether alcohol or another type of drug, will find this support group to be a beneficial resource. Learn to Cope meetings typically feature an industry professional as a guest speaker, offering insight into recovery from the secondhand effects that addiction can have on a family. Although Learn to Cope is currently based mostly in Massachusetts, it offers an active online community that’s available for free and allows loved ones of addicts to receive the support they need regardless of where they live.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) Group

This group is specifically for parents of individuals suffering from addiction and was formed by Mike Speakman, a licensed substance abuse counselor who has been working in rehabs with addicts since 1988. Originally based in Arizona, PAL Group has grown and spread to three other states since it began in 2006, offering parents trying to save a son or daughter from addiction with much-needed moral, emotional, and educational support. In addition to having a number of existing chapters where individuals living locally can attend meetings, PAL Group also has an online resource for those parents who live elsewhere in the country, could benefit from PAL Group, and want to start a new PAL chapter in their area.

If you or someone you love is currently suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs, the Palm Beach Institute can help. Our team of recovery specialists can find the right treatment program for addicts who want and need to recover. Call us today.

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  • I went to Nar-anon when I felt there was no help for my codependency..I couldn’t tell another soul the wacky things I’d done to try to “help” my son into wellness…there was never one moment of judgement..not one sideways glance when we gave it one more chance..my son is 14 months sober last week…don’t be afraid to reach out!

  • I am a mother of a recovering drug addicted child!I am so interested in starting a support group for the familes of addicted loved ones heere in my area! I have spoke to my paster and asssistant paster abouitr helping me o head this up and get it started in our area! They are fully on board and these two strong men know all about drug abuse they were really hard into drugs before getting saved so PLEASE let me know where to start we need it so badly here in my area I live is a town named Prestonsburg Kentucky and I see how rampid the drug problem is here and I want to be able to help lead and guide the parents and other family members on how to deal with drug abuse! I know because I have had and still having to deal with people that are in my family whom can’t seem to let this go they seem to want to hold this over my childs head like they are just waiting on her to mess up! She has been clen since January of this year and I am one proud mom to be able to stand behind her and help her with the ordeal she has finally gotten to the point now that she can open up to me and talk about it! But again Please take this into consideration I am really wanting to start something to help menmd families even mine thank you so much look forward to hearing form you!

  • Good day:

    I recently published a book primarily for the family members of an addicted loved one. It is also quite popular with parents of young ones not yet addicted. I am wondering if there is a way to get it listed on your web site? Would you mind taking a look at the press release?

    Raisingdrugaddicts.com

    Thank you either way and keep doing what you do.

    God bless

    Bob

  • I have a 33 yr old daughter who has been in and out of jail due to drug addiction from Crack and stealing from me. This has been going on for years. I even had a slight stroke this last time which I had to have 2 eye surgeries because it affected my eye sight. She just got out 2 days ago, I picked her up and I haven’t seen her since. I just don’t know what to do. Thank you for listening.

    1. I am the mother of a 33 year old daughter suffering from alcoholism. Many broken bones, and abusive relationships. In, and out of the ER. Cops, and ambulances coming,and going. I’m surprised she is still alive. It has gotten much worse after her gastric bypass surgery years ago. She lost custody of her daughter who is 3 at this time. I babysat Eve from birth up to about 2 month ago. Her fathers new girlfriend decided she did not want us inEve’s life anymore. It has all takenatoll on my health, and my husbands. Miss my Granddaughter so much it hurts.

      1. I feel your pain…I haven’t seen my grandson since March 31st. I was told by my daughter and her husbands case worker to call CPS after they stole pills from me that weekend they were here….well now they won’t let me see him, but I had to call, she has been an addict for over 15 years, and she was reunited with her son in Nov., 2017. I would have him 2 days a week, just to help them out, and get G-ma time with him too. I raised him from May 17th 2017, untill Nov. 2017. He was 2 months premature, and my daughter was using heroin and her husband as well. She says she is sober because she is doing methadone, but they have had surprise drug tests and have failed, and I am to keep the baby untill they pee clean…So, for doing what I was told by the “state” , I am the one who gets punished, and they have no one to answer to in a couple months. I know it wont last, but I hate it for my grandson that he has to live in a home where no one works, and no car, no nothing.

    2. Hello Joanne….my 29 year old has been using crack for approximately 7 months….she has lost her job….all new friend…no interest in getting hair or nails done……text me at 1 or so in the am and then she wont answer my text …..is out all night with who know who or where….it has robbed her and her loving family. The only care she has is the next high. With great heartache we decided to section 35 her. She had an attorney and a doctor there for her. it went before the judge and he found no reason to have her detained and she was free to go. The doctor that interviewed her did not know about her job loss…he told the judge she had seen a therapist a few days prior….she had not etc etc…i was only allowed to listen. Crying and in disbelief the judge looked at her and said he found no reason to detain her and she was free to leave. I felt like the criminal. her brother and sister and all her friends for years are devastated and of course she told me clearly she hated me. I know without treatment she will die……My heart goes out to you ……I know the fear of this dark dark and dangerous drug. I am terrified ….,, until what….of what,,,, Our children are being robbed of life. Oh yes there is an epidemic…..without hope. i even spoke to the government and he was very helpful. I then spoke to a treatment center and was told The Government doesnt have a clue….I dont know what to do….what to think….I Love My Daughter as I know you do too. I feel now this dark dangerous drug has taken my daughter to a dark and dangerous life. I am hopeless and fear I will die for the constant fear and sleepless nights. God Bless You I know we are not alone….. I also know we are alone in getting help for our loved ones…..

      1. God Bless you and your family. We are unfortunately not alone. This epidemic is famous a modern day plague that is destroying our way of life. I truly expect to bury my 36yo dtr. She is a dual diagnosis addict. Unfortunately she has 2 daughters. It is because of them that I must keep going. At this time I am trying to keep the girls with me. And ask God’s direction.

      2. I feel for everyone one of you! I am dying tonight because Christmas was full of emptiness as I found my 31,yr old daughter the 23rd of this MONTH
        With a needle sticking out of her arm. She was so cold and so blue and even my attempts at Cpr failed. She came for the holidays and I had no idea she did that any more. Her relapse has left a hole in my soul!My question is I am looking for a support group her in Jacksonville, Florida of other people that have had this same experience!!! I really feel the need to be around people that have been through the same. I can’t sleep, eat or catch my bearings! Anyone?

  • I have a son who is in recovery for 2 months but before his relapse he was almost 2 years. When he’s working a program and I’m working a program everything is better but lately he has not been and living with him is impossible so I have asked him to move out. He is 24, it’s so hard. This disease kicks the life, love unless you have faith. Joanne get help for you, alanon.

  • I have a 30 old daughter who is addicted to crank and is involved with a crook and a criminal. She needs help and I don’t know what to do. She moved home several months ago and has been working a little here and there, but the last two to three months, she leaves and gets high with this criminal. She feels guilty and comes home and then sleeps and sleeps and then goes out again. She lives with me and my sister and we don’t know what to do. I just want to get her in rehab. Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Mary,

      Please check the email you provided to leave this comment, or call our center to speak with us about this privately. 1-855-960-5456

  • I have been enabling my 35 year old opiate addicted daughter for years. I can not allow her to live with me, too much drama. She has developed dangerous disabling health issues. Trying to help her through that, but it il like working with an incompetent small child. I may have to become unreachable again, like I was for the previous 12 months. Aaaarrrrggghh!

    1. Robert,

      Please check the email you provided when leaving this comment, we’d like to address this issue privately. Becoming unreachable doesn’t seem to be the proper solution for your daughter. She is struggling with a disease. Instead of enabling her, find her help. You can call our center and speak with one of our team members. 1-855-960-5456

  • My child’s father is an addict. His addiction has caused us to no longer be together. It has also caused him to have supervised visitations with our daughter. Since I myself am NOT an addict I need to understand how an addict thinks or why they do certain things. I live in a very small town which is over ran with meth. There are no support groups in my area that are for family members of addicts. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Im Exhausted and heart broken over my 30 year old daughter. She is Bi Polar, with a Personality disorder of some sort and a drug addict. She has been battling this since age of 20 or 21 She has lost her Baby who is now 4. Is in a abusive relationship who enables her by letting her do drugs at home to keep her safe. Problem is she gets out of control. She has been on the streets of Compton for 5 days and started getting calls for Ransom money or going make her work it off. This is not the first time. I am in Texas she is in Los Angeles and feel powerless. I need help to detach somehow. I have visions of her being abused nightly and don’t know where she is to help her. I get these phantom calls left on my voice mail saying she will call back and I never hear from her. We have put a missing person report in. I have 2 teenagers at home I must focus on and a husband ( who is not her Dad) and is less attached to her then I am. It puts a big strain on us all.

  • My brother is a 26 year old heroin addict for the last two years. I do not enable him anymore at all but I do seek the support from other family members of addicts. I believe I could find great peace in relation to the issue.

  • My daughter is a heroine addict. She has been on methadone for a year but the out-of-pocket expenses are too high to afford. She is homeless and I fear for her safety. I live in Washington State, in the Everett area. What resources are out there for her?

    Any help/assistance would be appreciated!

    Thank you.

  • Hi,I am reaching out for help. My son is 25 and a drug addict. This is something I never thought in a many years that I would have to say this. I just recently found this out and my life has changed. Since he moved in with me all my money I keep for myself is gone I have fallen behind on my bills all because I keep giving him. My home is unhappy. When he not happy the home is not happy. We argued he puts me down talks to me crazy. I just gives in and give my last. Basically I am buying peace in my home and I am tired. My only happiness and peace of mind is when I go to work. Some days I get depressed more when I know I getting off and has to go home.i don’t talk to anyone because I am embarrassed and shameful. He is my only child and I know he has no where to go but I am miserable and I just want happiness. Maybe talking with others will give me some strength and a lil peace.

  • I have a 29 yr old daughter who has been to rehab three times was in the hospital with carditis and has back slid Everytime. She and I cried tonight and prayed that this demon would be removed from her. She does have a step dad that has tried to help her and now another step dad that wants to help her but she has a job a roommate and bills she has to pay but we have to know what else to do.

  • My boyfriend is 33 years old. we have been together since we were teenagers . We have two daughters and he has battled an addiction with pain killers off and on for the past 10 years . Recently he was arrested for retail theft and I found out that now herion is his drug of choice . I’ve tried everything that I could think of to make him stop .We are no longer together but I can’t watch him continue to go down this path . He does not have any insurance and I don’t know how to get him help . I also am having a hard time dealing with this and I am afraid on how this is affecting our children . I am lost and just hope that someone can help .

    1. Sandy,

      I’m sorry that you’ve had to watch your boyfriend fall down such a dangerous hole. Without insurance, you can contact SAMHSA at 1-877-726-4727 and they can help you find a treatment facility that is either free/state funded or accepts self-payment based on your location. I hope he is able to get the help he needs.

  • I have a 38 year old son who is addicted to heroin my family has been shattered I have no access to my grandchildren my former daughter-in-law hates me my daughter won’t speak to me its been almost 2 years now.I am in constant pain and I’m losing my will to live because it’s so painful I am a Christian and that is what’s kept me from losing my mind but I am in so much pain help please my son will not go to rehab I’ve given him everything and he’s promised me he never does anything that he promised he has stolen me blind the last thing he took was my car even though i sold it to him he’s dropped off the face of the Earth and not continued payments he’s irrational and unreasonable and I miss him, but I don’t want to talk to him too painful I’m afraid of going back down that hole again

    1. As a grandparent it is quite likely that you have a legal right to visitation with your grandchildren. If you can not afford a lawyer to advise you on this contact Legal Aid in your State which is free. I know that in the State of NH you have this right and it will be ordered by the Court that your daughter-in-law comply with the Judge’s ruling. Bringing your grandchildren back into your life will give you such joy.. I too have a son who is an addict and he has lost almost everything he ever had, a loving wife, a beautiful home, the love of friends and some family members. He lost a successful business and almost all of his material possessions in the pursuit of drugs. When he tells us anything we assume it is at least 50% a lie if not a complete lie. I am joining a support group because this is too much to handle alone I would thoughtfully suggest that you need to do the same. God Bless you and help keep you strong.

  • My long time boyfriend and best friend is battling opiate addiction. I’m having a really hard time finding a local support group for families of narcotics addicts that is not faith/religious/spiritually based. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I’m located in San Jose, CA.

    1. @noelle Did you find anything? My brother is battling opiate addiction and I am searching for a secular support group in Phoenix.

  • I found this site, by accident, and felt completely at home… unfortunately-fortunately. I am looking for a Nar Anon, or something similar in the Palm Beach area. (non apparently) My 32 y.o. daughter has been in jail for 3 months now. She too went from various opiates for neck and back issues, after car accidents, then with mounting bills and no insurance, she did the typical descent to heroin with 7 counts dealing in stolen goods and grand theft. She too probably has Borderline Personality disorder. Soon she will leave, with an ankle monitor until the trial.
    My problem, I want her to be with me, where I can help and monitor. Yet most from Nar Anon are so dismally pessimistic. Everyone says she will relapse, only when… and I should let her grovel on the streets until she alone wants to be better. She hasn’t even admitted she’s an addict! What do I do??

  • I am the heartbroken mother of a 27 year son who is addicted to Adderall. Just recently told him he had to leave my home and I worry so about him.

  • My 3 children’s father is an addict of many different drugs. Mainly pain pills. We have been divorced for many years, our kids are grown. Our youngest turned 18 recently. They have been disappointed and let down by him so much that it has become a way of life for them. He spends alot of time in jail and this affects them greatly. He misses holidays, birthdays ect.. Constantly asking them to borrow money, never to be paid back. We now have 4 grandchildren that barely know him. It’s really sad when one person’s decisions ripple out to the whole family. My 18 yr old really needs and wants a daddy. Her daddy.

  • You forgot to at S-Anon (Support for family and friends of Sexaholics -SA-) to this list for a total of 8 groups.

  • I am SICK of programs that are all about how to support your addict and help them in their “sobriety” “journey.” I don’t want my addicted relative in my life at all. I’m tired of it being always about the addict. They go to rehab and come out expecting still more from their families. The person who cut them off because of the harm they did is CONSTANTLY hounded to “forgive” and labeled a bad person if they won’t.

    1. These addicts are truly sick
      The demons inside them are slowly robbing their lives from them
      I’ve watched my son stuggle for years
      It’s heartbreaking. They need serious help to get through it. Support is what they need …

      1. Disagreed, DC. Recovering addict here, spent six years addicted to heroin. Support is not always what we need. You’ve been watching your son struggle for years, you say. Have you never heard that too much support is considered to be enabling? If an addict is completely surrounded by a support network at all times then they’re not going to want to stop using. Why would they? If my parents supported me through my addiction I’d still be using.

  • Prayers, we all need prayers. It really hurts to see your loved ones going down. You look at old pictures and wonder what happened. My son is 30 and is at a rehab center. Is unfortunately that insurance companies do not see the problem and they end up not wanting to cover the cost. I am a single mom, raised three kids on my own. I jut do not have the sources. Once the insurance decides he does not meet the “medical necessity” requirements, then he is out. The only thing is that the reality is our kids are choosing to continue with the drugs. They are on denial so as long as we as parents enable this they will continue. Tough love might help. In as much as it hurts, sometimes is our only hope and believe that God has a plan.

  • I have been with an addict for 5 years now. at first he was addicted to pcp and alcohol and he has put me threw hell and back. I thought i had gotten him sober for good . i just found out that he had been abusing adderall , extacy pills, and cocaine for the last year and a half of our life together and i had absolutely no clew. In the midst of our 5 years , we had a son who is now 3. After i found all of this out i packed up our son and left . I am completely devastated, i feel like such a fool . and i think i need some type of help… is one of these programs good for me?

  • My son is 32. He is a dual diagnosed addict. He won’t make any effort to go to rehab. He is draining me mentally. He has drained his grandmother mentally and financially. He has no where to sleep. He thinks everything is never his fault. He uses heroin / speed / and most recently he has gotten back into bath salts. He has a 9 mo son who he wont ever see again until he is clean. he is homeless. He has no insurance. I can’t let him live with me. I am mentally worn out and quite frankly, he steals and I got nothing valuable but what I got is mine. I don’t trust him alone in my apt. I am sad to say that. I have no where to turn. He has a SEVERE case of Hep C, huge breakouts all over his body. ER’s around here give him script and turn him awaay cause they know he’s an addict. Where can he go for dual treatment without insurance? He has threatened to kill him self. Sad part is when he is clean, omg, he’s the best guy ever. I am so sick from worriment…………

  • I am a 54 yr. old mom who’s 30 year old daughter has been MIA for 20 months now. I have gone through rehab myself for alcohol and depression. I now live in a sober living transitional home. When my daughter left she was speed balling. (meth & heroin) I am looking for work and my goal is to get her 2 oldest sons 10 and 7 back from the state. They have developmental disabilities and are amazing little guys, their little brother is 3, different dad, Daddy has full custody of him, I pray I may get to see him soon. I never thought that she would disappear, however, all I can do at this point is to pray for her and know that God’s arms are wrapped around her. My family has fallen apart, with God’s help, we will survive and one day I will hold her in my arms again. After reading everyone’s words, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone and I’m not loosing my mind. It’s the not knowing that hurts so much. She acts like she’s a badass, but inside I know that she’s a scared little girl. I take ownership of my part in this. If I weren’t an alcoholic, maybe this wouldn’t have happened to her again. She was in rehab when she was 17, it only lasted 30 days. That was over 13 years ago. I pray for us all, everyday. God Bless!

  • Hello, My story is so much like (Lynda Hackwatch) that was posted on sep 10 2015. I want to start up a drug support ministry at our church for the parents whose children is addicted to drugs. can you please send me information on this program.

  • please send me information on starting a recovery ministry for single mothers that dealing with their addicted children.. I had dealt with some adicted family members and i want to be a supported to others

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