Family and Friends Service
If your life has been impacted by the addiction of a loved one
…then we can help you to regain some normality in your life.
Active addiction in a family member causes imbalance to the entire family system: with the non-addicted family member often ‘over functioning’ as the family member with the addiction ‘under functions’. This can lead to the family member becoming progressively unwell.
Family members can often find themselves isolated, alone, or angry, despairing and unable to express them selves, doubting their sanity as all attempts to manage another’s behaviour consistently fail. They may find themselves utterly exhausted. One moment angrily, or even sometimes violently, trying to force another to change, but in the next, feeling sorry for the person, trying to understand why, and rescuing or bailing them out of trouble.
With the best of intentions this can inadvertently enable the addict or alcoholic to continue using. We recognise addiction as a family disease or dysfunction and know through our extensive experience that changed attitudes can effect change throughout the family system.
However, change can be difficult to maintain without regular support.
Our confidential and free weekly groups will enable you to share experiences, educate yourselves about addiction and help you to break free from isolation, gaining encouragement and support from others with similar experiences. Healthier boundaries within the family can be established with those using addictively and attendees of this support group often start to build for themselves a positive lifestyle, regardless of whether the addict gains recovery.
Our support group members find understanding, strength and hope from those family members, partners or friends, whose common experience can often be guilt, which can then drive the enabling behaviour. The group experience will affirm that it is the user who is always responsible for their choices and behaviours and must therefore face the consequences of their addiction.
All sessions are facilitated by fully qualified and experienced counsellors and run every Wednesday and Thursday from our Stevenage centre. In St Albans sessions are Tues afternoon and all day Thursday.
Please call 01438 355649 (Stevenage) or 01727 854479 (St Albans)
I have a son who is an alcoholic.
He is in recovery now, but certainly not then. My wife and I had tried everything – we’d been to various organizations which are set up to help addictions, but they didn’t seem to lead anywhere. Then we were given the name of The Living Room and made an appointment to attend the Friends and Family group.
In the early days it took a bit of effort, I could only see in black or white, addiction was beyond my comprehension…I had a total lack of understanding of the addiction from which my son suffered. However, over the time I learnt some remarkable tools and I now look at addiction in a new light.
My son’s addiction had affected me, I had become something I really did not want to be, I was angry and I took it out on my wife. Our relationship is still rather fragile, but I think we are making progress. Before I had received the tools and education about recovery and addiction I couldn’t handle it… I couldn’t see forward, but now life is different, I’ve got a greater peace of mind.
My son has also attended The Living Room engaging in their recovery services for many months and is now in sober recovery. I put that 100% down to him attending The Living Room – he is a new man now. We’ve got a life back and our son is in the throws of getting his license back. The future looks promising… We couldn’t have done it alone.
I have an alcoholic husband…
…but I had dragged my heels about coming along because I thought I’d be told how I can help my alcoholic husband and, to be perfectly honest, I was sick of helping him. He had been at The Living Room for about seven months and seemed to be doing really well. The only trouble was I seemed to be getting worse.
I found I was getting angrier and angrier and I was worried that I would take it out on my one and a half year old son. I was pleased to find that when I arrived the counsellors weren’t interested in my husband, they wanted to help me. They explained that addiction doesn’t just affect the addict, but that it also drags the whole family down and I was relieved to have the answer to my insanity.
Happy Days Playroom (The Living Room Crèche) has made it possible for me to attend The Living Room. The crèche staff are brilliant and so understanding. It gives me such peace of mind knowing that he is nearby. My son loves to be there and often asks if he can go on other days of the week! He even has to have their names included in his nightly list of people who love him, sort of like a prayer list, and he soon pulls me up if I miss them out. I’m very thankful to The Living Room and all the people that work there. My life is so much more manageable now and I couldn’t have done it without their help and support.
All pictures are of models not actual Living Room clients.