Alternat+ves Support Groups

Our aim is to combine the zero cost and longevity of traditional step groups with the best modern recovery methods used across the mental health and addiction services.

Our groups are peer volunteer lead. Group facilitators have direct experience of caring for loved ones with substance use dependancy.

We use the term "family" to cover anyone that is concerned and cares about another's well-being. So for "family" please subsitute partner, son, daughter, sister, friend, neighbour, sponsor, care worker etc. You may also come across phrases like "Concerned Significant Other" (CSO) in books, but we rarely hear these terms in group discussion.

Family members struggle with the same issues, regardless of which drug their loved one chooses to use. So in these groups we don't discriminate against our members because of their loved ones's choices. Families dealing with alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictive activities are all welcome.

Three quarters of our loved ones with substance use dependancy also have underlying mental health issues. They often fall into the gap where they can't get support. We aim to learn the best way to help these people, no one is on our "too difficult" pile!

Whilst we support and may recommend them, we are not affiliated with recovery groups such as UK SMARTRecovery, AA, NA, Alanon etc. All our resources go into family support. We don't require funding and won't be employing anyone or charging licence fees. We don't need to send out "please donate" emails, internet cookies or use advertising.

Instead we will use the same open source model that makes the internet work. We will generate and freely share our own support guidance on the internet based on our experience of what currently works best in our peer support groups. We welcome support and guidance from professionals and other groups if it can be freely shared online and in our groups.

Any personal information trusted to us will always be dealt with sensitively and confidentially ie we won't be passing on your name, email address or phone numbers without your consent, in line with our understanding of current GDPR Regulations.

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

Welcome to our Family and Friends Group

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. Change will happen. We can all develop a more calm, accepting and peaceful mind.

Positive communication works

Ourloved 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.

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.

Click on this link to find the latest info about our groups in the West Midlands

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