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It’s not your fault

You are not responsible for your loved one's alcohol or drugs misuse

Your relative's alcohol or drugs misuse is not your fault. Family members, especially parents, often experience feelings of guilt and failure – believing that they are somehow to blame.

Harbouring these feelings can lead family members to behave as though they are responsible for the substance user and their actions.

There are many reasons why people use, and may go on to become dependent on, alcohol or drugs. However, it is the person misusing substances who is always responsible for their own behaviour. Their decision to stop using alcohol or drugs is their choice and their responsibility.

Feelings of guilt and responsibility can be overwhelming and difficult to let go of. Talking about negative feelings with your support network can help you to understand that it is not your fault.  It can also be useful to join a family support group to get support from others in similar circumstances.

As soon as you recognise you need support in own your own right, you will be able to set boundaries, talk to your loved one about their alcohol or drug use, and support yourself.