Providing AOD support for families

SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING: A free family support meeting will be held by Family Drug Support next week. Picture: FILE.

Melanie Riley

FAMILY Drug Support (FDS) is holding a Family Support meeting to provide support to family members and friends impacted by the use of drugs and/or alcohol by others.

Family Support Worker, Jan Maguire said the meetings do not discriminate and they welcome anybody currently supporting or is impacted by someone who is using a substance whether it be illegal or not.

“Anyone who also feels overwhelmed or feels others won’t understand what they’re experiencing and are bottling up their emotions,” she said.

“This is the place to let it out.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to share and listen to others tell their stories in a non-judgemental and safe environment.

Ms Maguire said it is important to work towards dissolving blame and judgement that is often placed on family members that have a family member or friend that is using drugs and/or alcohol.

“People who are supporting someone or are impacted by someone who is dependent on a substance often lose themselves in the chaos, usually at the expense of their own wellbeing,” she said.

“They are judged for decisions they make and told they are enabling if they offer assistance to the person using, for example, paying their rent.

“The reality is they are doing all they can to keep their loved one safe and alive while dealing with a serious health issue.”

She said the enormous pressure that is often placed on families and friends to ‘fix the problem’ can be harmful too.

“One of the main aims of Family Drug Support is for participants to stop blaming themselves, as they often do, and take some time out to focus on their own life and other relationships,” she said.

“As well as some respite, they need to allow themselves to experience some joy.

“Our group is a safe space where they can draw on the collective wisdom and empathy of the participants.

“Many become friends and keep up contact outside the group evenings.”

Ms Maguire said while “success” is hard to define as it varies from person to person, she, and FDS hoped there were some positive outcomes from the meeting.

“Success for us is seeing someone practicing self-care, rediscovering the hobbies and interests they’ve let go, coping better and maintaining hope even if the situation hasn’t changed for the person using,” she said.

FDS hoped the meeting would have a positive impact on attendees, and it would be the start of a continuous offering in the Limestone Coast.

The Family Support meeting will be held on Tuesday June 18 from 6-8pm in the boardroom at the Community RSL in Mount Gambier/Berrin.

It is free to attend, with no registration necessary.

For any further information, please contact Jan Maguire on 0490 759 649.