Our 4 point plan

We have found, through experience, that the support families benefit from most falls into these four broad categories. So that's how we have grouped the resources on this page.

1.   Safety and wellbeing

Ours, and our loved one's safety, must come first. Harm reduction saves lives!
Total abstinence then becomes an option.

2.    Managing our thoughts and feelings

Families that know better, do better.
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it".
(Charles R. Swindoll)

3.   Our communication

How we communicate matters.
Families love learning Motivational Interviewing.

4.   Our behaviour

We cannot directly control our loved one's using, only the way we respond.
When we change our behaviour - they notice.

Safety and Wellbeing

Mental Health

Free Resources

We have found the Personal Bill of Rights really helpful for our self-compassion. We often forget we have rights too.
Personal Bill of Rights

This is a great evidence based tool for anxiety and other conditions.
NHS five steps to well-being

In summary

  1. Connect with other people

  2. Be physically active

  3. Learn new skills

  4. Give to others

  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

There is a great collection of PDF leaflets at these sites!

NHS Self Help Leaflets

Mental Health Foundation PDFs

Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

Therapist Aid worksheets


Mental Health First Aid

I have found this two day training really helpful. You may be able to get your workplace to fund it. (UK) - (USA) - (Australia)


Free courses designed to equip men with skills to:

Manage and regulate thoughts and emotions and navigate common life challenges



We are not qualified to give advice about particular drugs but these guys are:


The Drug Wheel


Coercive Control (Gaslighting)

The Freedom Programme

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Male Victims of Domestic Abuse

Managing our Thoughts and Feelings

Understanding Addictive Behaviour

Why does my loved one use substances?

ACT - Passengers on the bus

The ACT Matrix


TED talk by Johann Hari

ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences)

SMART Recovery HOV

Letting go of the rope

Holding the glass


Hula Hoop Tool

Upsetting yourself about getting upset

Our Communication


The world has progressed a great deal since the 1930s, except in the disrespectful and stigmatising language used to label people with Substance Use Disorders. The same is also true for their family members. The labels in this first video are used far too frequently, even by professionals and, of course, the media.

Change the conversation (3 minutes)

Canadian Stigma Learning Module

Moving Beyond Codependency

Why are we blamed for helping our loved ones? (3 minutes)

"If we want addiction destigmatized, we need a language that's unified.
The words we use matter. Caution needs to be taken, especially when the disorders concerned are heavily stigmatized as substance use disorders are." (RRI)

Recovery Research Institute's Addictionary

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is the best tool we have found for dealing with ambivalence to change, both for us and our loved ones.

It’s not about the nail (1 minute)

Kathleen Sciacca introduces MI (9 minutes)

Motivational Interviewing 101 with Dr. Ken Carpenter
ITC Seminar Series (93 minutes)

The Ineffective Physician: Non-Motivational Approach (5 minutes)

The Effective Physician: Motivational Interviewing Demonstration (7 minutes)

Excellent Psychwire Free Resources on Motivational Interviewing

MI Resources from the Homeless Hub (Canada)

MI: Assumptions and Principles - A Broad Framework

MI: Open Questions, Affirmation, Reflective Listening, and Summary Reflections (OARS)

MI: Eliciting Change Talk and Giving Advice

We highly recommend these four (1 hour) episodes of MI training by Igor (pronounced Egor) Koutsenok.
It's on the International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals website. ISSUP.
First apply for free regular membership, then the videos can be found here MI Course Recordings

Our Behaviour

Modelling change ourselves

Stigma is hurting families

The deadly myth of "rock bottom"

The world is a better teacher than we can ever be!

The Drama triangle 5:33

3 further tips

Connect with people in recovery

Recovery, ours and theirs, is not a "one size fits all". Dealing with addictive behavour is difficult, but we can it make even more so by reacting in negative ways and not learning to understand why they behave the way they do.

The good news is that people do recover from their substance dependancy. So go and meet them and listen to their journeys . Recovery groups have what they call "open" and "closed" meetings. The open meetings welcome visitors. Find out who is facilitating the meeting and they will check that the rest of the group is happy to have you sit in and listen. Please respect the guidelines of their group, particularly regarding confidentiality.

Meetings for our loved ones

Separate the person from the addiction

That anxious little boy you proudly took to his first day at Primary School, that girl you fell in love with and married, that daugter that achieved straight A's and headed off to university - they are still there and they still love you. Unfortunately they are now in a relationship with with their drug of choice (DOC). It is in control of them and it will do anything to maintain that control. I find it helpful to picture an invisible parasite on my loved one's back; it's not nice, a cross between the Sci-Fi characters Predator and Alien. No matter how fustated and angry you feel, when you shout, scream and lecture them, you are guaranteed to make the situation worse.

Think about it from their perspective. If they don't use, their parasite inflicts a painful psychological comedown until they use again. If they find the motivation and support to overcome this comedown, the next phase of physical withdrawal kicks in, the "rattle", and the pain becomes significantly greater. In the case of the "legal" drug alcohol, they can even have seizures and die. You may have read about withdrawal or seen it portrayed by actors, but as a regular visitor to detox sessions as trained family member, I found seeing young adults rattle deeply disturbing.

Their parasite is a master manipulator. One of the methods it uses is to shift the blame from itself onto anyone else in range. Its easiest and favourite target is us! So by shouting and screaming we are giving it the ammunition and pulling the trigger. Once it notices we've stopped shouting and screaming, it moves to the next phase, pushing "our" buttons. It will control our loved one's behaviour in ways to make us angry and when we eventually react, it can again shift the blame onto us

We significantly reduce the time it takes for our loved ones to choose recovery if we learn to stop our negative behaviour and learn to understand theirs.

Families and friends are not powerless over addiction

Far from it, whilst we can't do our loved one's recovery for them, families and friends can significantly unbalance their unhealthy relationship with their drug of choice. We can connect, support each other and share, evidenced based, modern recovery tools.

Everyone's recovery journey starts with a single step in a new direction. So our online meeting calendar page is a good next step, click on the link and listen in to a few meetings, to see if any help.

F and F meeting calendar