How to take care of ourselves and support our loved one, who is struggling with alcohol and other drugs (AOD)

This site provides positive solutions-based support for families and friends who suffer because of their loved one’s use of addictive substances and activities.

Think for a moment about volume of music you've listened to in your life so far. This is my play list of recovery tools. Like my favourite music it is the work of others more talented than me. My intention is to share what works for me and hopefully some of it will work for you and your loved one.

Alternat+ves Support Groups

Our Alternat+ves in-person F and F meetings

Our local Brett Young Carers Hub have kindly provided facilities for us to host our face to face meetings again. The centre is warm, friendly and their staff offer a range of specialist support for carers. They have a well equipped conference room so we can bring along our online families with their expertise from around the world. Zoom call this a "hybrid meeting". This is an exciting challenge for us to combine our experience pre and during covid and has many potential benefits.

Check this link to see if you can get to the meeting. Get Directions.

If you would like to attend, please check with us before travelling.
Our email address is:

Our Alternat+ves F and F online meetings

Online meetings are a great way to get support if you don't have a face to face family and friends meeting nearby or are unable to attend one because you work during the day. All meetings are open and free to attend

Joining our meetings

You will usually find that the meeting room opens 15 minutes early so that we can help you with any technical issues. Our Alterat+ves meetings run on the the Zoom platform. We aim to encourage the group interaction that we enjoy in our face to face meetings. So if you are able to, download and install the free Zoom app and join the meeting on a laptop or desktop PC.

You can join the meeting and just listen in, or by using a headset with a microphone, you can fully participate as you would in face to face meetings. You don't have to switch on your web cam but many participants do. Body language is an important component of communication in peer support, smiles are contagious!

The chat box is a really useful advantage that online meetings have. We use it to share links to modern recovery websites and resources. Participants can ask questions and support each other throughout the meeting. During the meeting we share simple presentation slides illustrating such things as the stages of change, positive communication and motivational interviewing. Short videos may be shared to demonstrate the techniques.

Clicking on the "join by browser" option, without installing the app, will work fine but you lose some extra features. Many people also join from their cars, using their phones, unfortunately the phone app doesn't offer the "save chat" function. However chat links can still be opened and bookmarked to be explored after the meeting.

Click on the this link at 6pm (UK) to join our Sunday or Tuesday Alternat+ves Family and Friends online meeting.

Alternat+ves F and F meeting.

Add to calendar

Welcome to our Family and Friends Group

(The following welcome speech is read out at the beginning of each meeting).

Safety and well-being

The purpose of this group is to bring about positive change. We will first prioritise our own safety and well-being, and then the safety of our loved ones. In these meetings we will learn better ways to support ourselves and our loved ones.

Don’t believe everything you think

Regardless of what we may think or have been told, we are not responsible for the choices and behaviour of our loved ones.

Nobody is completely "powerless" over addiction. Everyone can change including us. When we learn to respond rather than react, our loved ones notice.

Positive communication works

Our loved ones are much more than their current problematic behaviour, so we avoid disrespectful and stigmatising labels such as “alcoholic”, “druggie”, or “addict” in our meetings. Equally "enabler" and "co-dependant" stigmatise family members. Labels are for jars - not people!

We will learn from, rather than dwell on, the bad things that have happened in the past, so we avoid “war stories”. You can’t make progress if you are glued to the rear view mirror.

Changing our behaviour

We don’t wait for our loved ones to reach “rock bottom”. We encourage and reward non-using behaviour, whilst allowing the natural, negative consequences of their using to happen sooner rather than later.

Positive change takes time and requires effort. Like any training, the more meetings you attend and the more you learn and practice between meetings, the sooner your life will improve, regardless of whether your loved one chooses recovery or not.

We want this to be a safe place to share our experiences and be listened to non-judgementally. We will respect confidentiality, unless you indicate you may harm yourself or others. In this case, for safeguarding, we will seek professional support.

Thank you for joining us, we hope you find tonight’s meeting supportive and helpful.


If you find our group helpful and would like others to have the opportunity to join please share our details.

Download social media image
Alternat+ves Social Media (jpeg)

Download poster
Alternat+ves A4 Black and White Poster (PDF)

Download Leaflet
Alternat+ves A5 Black and White Leaflets (PDF)

Please copy and paste our Alternat+ves Parents Meeting Zoom Link -

Alternat+ves on Facebook

FaceBook works across all time zones and is useful for families to connect, ask questions and share resorces between meetings.

Our Facebook page

Alternat+ves Page

Our Open Facebook Group

This public group is for people that are comfortable breaking down the stigma associated with SUD. Here we can network with other families and share how CRAFT and ITC helps in practice..
Alternat+ves Open Group

Our Private Facebook Group

This private group is for people that have attended two or more of our Alternat+ves meetings.
ITC Member Resources, like the all ITC short guide chapter pdfs, are available via this group.
Alternat+ves Private Group