Whether you are actively using, considering, or in recovery, we may have someone who is caring for us in some way or another. More often or not, this is a partner, family member or a very close friend.
This support, particularly in early recovery, can be hugely valuable, and on- going support can help us to keep clean and sober.
Do we stop to consider how this affects them, perhaps, maybe? However, there is no doubt that caring is taxing, both physically and mentally.
Often, they find difficulty in understanding what is happening to you, maybe they can’t for the life of them understand why you can’t just stop, or why you crave. This leads to frustration on both sides, and inevitability friction, arguments and fights.
Yes, carers need support just as much as you (and some would say more!).
As the role of family and carers has become more prominent, groups have sprung up to support them. The granddaddy of them all is Al-Anon, although originally set up for those around alcoholics, it now welcomes carers of substance users.
Run by fellow carers on the mutual aid principle, there are many branches all over London, so there should be no problem with finding one fairly close.
The Treatment Services also now have Carers Groups either of their own, or with a partner agency. The meetings are usually run weekly, and are informal, some may be facilitated by a professional, but most are run by a group or an individual carer, on the mutual aid model.
Apart from the support the members of a group can give each other, many groups have regular contact with Drug and Alcohol staff, who can speak to carers about the nature of addiction and coping strategies.
The Groups are free to access and don’t usually require a referral, just roll up at the time on the day.