Your community resource for addiction education, prevention, and recovery.

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What You Can Do for Yourself

If you are a parent or caregiver of a someone who uses substances, getting support for yourself might seem like a low priority compared to the importance of getting your child help. But caring for someone with addiction is a marathon and not a sprint, and recovery from a substance use disorder is often a family process, not just that of the individual using substances. So taking the time to find support for yourself not only helps you, it can help your loved one in the long-run.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can seek support.


Telephone and online supports

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers several helpful ways to access support, Monday through Friday, 9 AM-6 PM.

  • Call 1-855-DRUGFREE.
  • Send an email to a helpline specialist. Include as many details as you can, such as:
    • Your son or daughter’s age
    • The primary substance you are concerned about
    • Whether or not your child has been to or has sought treatment
    • Any questions you might have
  • Send a text to 55753. Include as many details as you can, such as:
    • Your son or daughter’s age
    • The primary substance you are concerned about
    • Whether or not your child has been to or has sought treatment
    • Any questions you might have

Allies in Recovery is an online resource based on the CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) model, an evidence-based method that has been shown to help families learn strategies to help themselves manage their own emotions while also encouraging change in their loved one who uses substances. (Note: Because of a partnership with the MA Department of Public Health, MA residents can establish an Allies in Recovery online account for free by entering their zip code as their promo code when creating a new account.)


In-person support groups

Many parents and family members find it helpful to attend meetings with others who know what it is like to love someone who has experienced a substance use disorder. These meetings can provide invaluable opportunities for connection, understanding, and information sharing.

Each group has its own philosophy and approach to supporting families, and even different meetings for the same support group can each have a different ‘feel.’ So if you try a meeting and do not like it the first time, consider trying a different group or meeting. Many folks have to attend a few meetings before they find one that suits them. And each person needs something different, so even if someone recommends that you attend (or avoid) a certain group, remember that their preferences are not necessarily going to be the same as yours.

  • SOAR (Supporting Outreach & Addiction Recovery) Natick is a Natick-based support group for parents and family members. It meets biweekly at the Morse Institute Library. Check the SOAR website for the latest schedule.
  • Learn to Cope is a parent support group that has many meetings throughout Massachusetts. The closest meeting to Natick occurs on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM at the Edward M. Kennedy Health Center in Framingham, and naloxone (Narcan) is offered to participants at each meeting.
  • 12-Step Programs have been around for many years and have helped millions of people find support to cope with a family member or friend’s substance use. They are based on a structured 12-step approach.
    • Al-Anon is a support group for people who worry about a loved one’s drinking. It includes Alateen, which are Al-Anon meetings for teens. Although Al-Anon groups are primarily focused on loving someone who experiences an alcohol use disorder, anyone who is concerned about someone with an addiction is welcome to visit a meeting to see if it is a good fit for them.
    • Nar-Anon is a support group for those who are concerned about a loved one’s addiction to any substance (or possibly multiple substances).
    • Families Anonymous is a support group for drug, alcohol, or related behavioral issues.


Outpatient counseling

If you are a family member or friend who is negatively impacted by your loved one’s substance use, counseling can assist you in reflecting honestly about your relationship with your loved one, in learning new skills to cope with their substance use, and practicing strategies for setting boundaries in your relationship with your loved one.

Natick residents have access to a free counseling referral service through William James College called the INTERFACE Referral Services Helpline. By calling 888-244-6943 Monday through Friday, 9 AM-5 PM, Natick residents can speak with a mental health professional and receive personalized, matched referrals for outpatient counseling services based on their insurance, therapeutic needs, and personal preferences. Referral specialists will provide follow-up to ensure that residents are satisfied with the clinician with whom they are matched.


Learn how to respond to an overdose and get trained to carry naloxone (Narcan)

One of the greatest fears that most parents, family members and friends of someone who uses drugs will understandably have is that their loved one will fatally overdose. Although you cannot control your loved one’s behaviors, you can equip yourself with knowledge and information so that you are prepared in the event that you witness an overdose. For instance, it is worthwhile for parents, family members and friends to get trained to carry naloxone (Narcan) and learn about how to prevent and respond to an opioid overdose. If you know that your loved one is using street drugs–even if they do not use opioids–it is worth getting trained in overdose response and Narcan since any drug purchased off of the street could be cut with fentanyl.