When a loved one is struggling with addiction, they aren't the only ones in need of help. The emotional, financial and sometimes even physical toll on the observer are consequences that should not be underestimated. You may have already sought resources to help the addict, but consider pathways of relief for yourself as well.

12-Step Meeting Groups for Relatives of Addicts

Al-Anon and Alateen: Al-Anon and Alateen are 12-step programs, where groups meets to focus on helping family members and friends of alcoholics. Al-Anon is most commonly understood as the partner group to AA, (Alcoholics Anonymous). Any relative of an addicted person is welcome at the Al-Anon meetings, whereas Alateen is a program specifically for the teen relatives and friends of addicts.

Nar-Anon: Also a 12-step program, Nar-Anon is similar to Al-Anon and Alateen. It provides mutual support to family members in a group meeting setting, but is independently operated and not associated with any other programs.

Families Anonymous: Similar to Nar-Anon, Al-Anon and Alateen, Families Anonymous is a 12-step program for the friends and families of those who are addicted. Unlike Al-Anon and Alateen, Families Anonymous is open to anyone affected by an addictive behavior; including drugs, alcohol, or destructive behaviors.

Web Resources for Relatives of Addicts

The web resources below will guide relatives toward finding the right 12-step groups, non-12-step recovery methods and general resources about addiction.

  • Addict Help: Provides resources for drug and alcohol addiction, including information specifically for families and a database of available treatment centers. Immediate family members and relatives are encouraged to read and use any of the website's information.
  • Here to Help: An advocacy project serving families with addicted loved ones. The website includes information for both families and addicts, with a page where family members can “connect with others" experiencing addiction in their families or in their own lives. The “Family Member" link offers a variety of informative material, ranging from understanding what a family member who suffers from addiction or substance abuse is experiencing, to helping a relative manage mental illness. Specific resources for children and teens are also located under this section of the website. The site makes no qualifications about whether relatives seeking information are immediate family, living with the addict or extended family; offering help to anyone concerned with and affected by the addiction.
  • Steps to Recovery: Provides information about support groups for family members of addicts, information on treatment for addicts and explanations of treatment programs, as well as the and signs and symptoms of addiction.
  • The National Substance Abuse Index: Provides a wealth of information for families and friends, as well as the addict themselves. Also included is a twenty-four hour hotline offering help with addiction; complete with information and statistics for local resources and state laws, discussing both how addicts can help themselves, and how the non-addict can support their relative.

  • The Working Sobriety: The links and resources section includes an extensive list of 12-step programs—ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous to Workaholics Anonymous. The nearly comprehensive list also includes links for programs that assist families and friends of the addicted, including Families Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Alateen. Working Sobriety seeks to provide family and friends with a start to positive resources for their addicted loved ones, particularly those that may lead to recovery.

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