Resources for You When Your Extended Family Member is Struggling with Substance Use

    You may be experiencing a range of emotions if your extended family member is struggling with substance use. It’s not uncommon to be anxious, fearful, angry or resentful. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone.

    Here are some resources that others in this situation have found helpful and we hope you will too.

    Having easier conversations

    Sometimes conversations about substance use can be difficult. Here are some ways you can talk about it without it falling on deaf ears. Remaining calm and respectful can go a long way toward getting the results you want. Don’t forget that many conversations may be needed before they take any action.

    Learn more conversation tips from Psychology Today.

    In addition, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation shares ways to help families cope with substance use.

    Encouraging healthier behaviors

    Beyond Addiction by Dr. Jeffrey Foote is a wonderful resource for families. He discusses ways to encourage healthier behaviors while discouraging substance use.

    Another book that may be helpful is Get Your Loved One Sober by Dr. Robert Meyers. Built on his own experiences with addiction in the family, he offers practical suggestions on ways to address a family member’s substance use.

    Finding and encouraging treatment

    Allies in Recovery offers some great resources and worksheets on how to suggest treatment while attending to your own self-care and more.

    Personal counseling may be helpful for your family member and/or for you. A good therapist can help you deal with the emotional ups and downs you’re likely facing. Your insurance company or Psychology Today can offer counselors to work with you – just be sure they have training in addiction.

    If you are seeking outpatient or inpatient programs for your family member try our treatment locator offering programs across the country. After using the search tool, you will still have to call the programs to make sure they are a good fit.  Additionally, if your family member has other mental health issues, be sure any program you select treats both problems at the same time.

    Moderating substance use to reduce risks

    Some people may be willing to cut back on their substance use – even though your goal may differ.  Although Moderation Management speaks primarily to alcohol the ideas they present can be applied to other substances.

    Setting boundaries

    Consider setting boundaries with your family member. For instance, not allowing alcohol and other drugs in your presence, and not giving them money or covering up for them may be rules you set.  This blog post includes other ideas that may be of interest to you.

    Support groups

    There are a number of organizations that can provide you with support including:

    Remember that it likely took quite a bit of time for these problems to develop and it may take time for the situation to improve.  Be patient and be kind to yourself.