Your community resource for addiction education, prevention, and recovery.
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.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers several helpful ways to access support, Monday through Friday, 9 AM-6 PM.
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.)
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.
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.
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.