Families Anonymous

As part of our research during the launching of the website ‘Help for Dependency’ we felt it was just as important to provide help and support for family/friends dealing with a loved one who is suffering from dependency and/or addiction

5 Ways, as previously mentioned, is a hub of Forward Leeds and provides a safe haven for people in recovery and for those who are coming to the end of treatment. The team also provides a Family Plus Service for family members who require help too. Within this program, 5 Ways also has relationships with outside organisations such as Families Anonymous who use a meeting room to provide a confidential service for those interested in attending.

Families Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship that offers support to families and friends affected by another individuals’ substance use, addictive disorder and related behavioural issues.

Julie and I attended a meeting and whilst we can give a broad overview of our experience, we cannot discuss individual cases due to strict confidentiality within the group.

On arrival, we were welcomed by the leader of the group and offered refreshments. We then joined other attendees. Everyone introduced themselves using first names only as anonymity is deemed paramount.

The Leader of the group explained that the ethos of FA was based on the ‘12 Steps’ (the same as Narcotics Anonymous & Alcoholics Anonymous). It also transcends all religious/ non-religious beliefs.

Each member of the group was given the opportunity to share their experience or concerns in relation to their situation. People shared that it was a relief to find that others were ‘in the same boat’ and interesting to learn how others were dealing with difficulties that they have faced or are facing. It was an open and interactive session and there was no problem with individuals getting upset.

At the end of the meeting, a passage from a self-help manual was read which was poignant to the situations faced by loved ones.

The most striking observation from attending FA is that it is a safe space to express your feelings, it is not judgmental, it is supportive and probably, most crucially, you get a great sense that ‘this is not your fault’ – you cannot take on the guilt that being with someone who is suffering from dependency or addiction problems makes you feel. It was a very comforting and quiet, peaceful experience.

If you are struggling as a family or friend of someone with dependency and/or addiction issues or just suspect that someone is ‘using’ we would recommend that you at least try something like Families Anonymous. You need help and support too.

Click Here to visit the Families Anonymous website.

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