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Family support groups

Family support groups are for relatives, partners and friends affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drugs misuse

The groups offer an opportunity to meet others who are experiencing, or have experienced, similar circumstances.

How they work

There are family support groups across Scotland, and many of them are a part of our network. Groups tend to meet weekly or once a fortnight. Some groups are led by family members and others are led by external facilitators.

Meetings can include members sharing their experiences, a visiting speaker or information sessions. Some groups also offer alternative therapies such as massage to help group members with relaxation.

Many of the groups in our network offer an initial one-to-one meeting where you can learn more about how the group works, what they can offer you, and ask any questions. Some groups focus on particular issues such as kinship care or bereavement.

Benefits of attending a group

Finding a supportive, welcoming and non judgemental environment to share your experiences in can help with your own recovery. Many family members also find it rewarding to be able to support one another and give something back to their communities.

In our recent members survey, peer support was the most common response to the question, ‘What has helped you most in your recovery journey?’ One respondent wrote, ‘Just time has helped, and frequently going to support groups – to listen and be able to speak about how I feel and not be judged.’

What our family support group members say:

‘When I went to the [family support group] it was to get help for my son, but I discovered the meeting was to help me.’

‘I’m not sure how I managed before the family support group started. All the folks I have met have helped me to go on.’

Find your nearest group

Find your nearest group using our searchable directory.

If there are no groups in your area or you can’t find a suitable one near you, you could start a group of your own to benefit other family members. Find out more about how we can help with this.

Join our network of support

If you are already in a family support group, but the group is not yet a member of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs, please fill in a membership form or ask the group leader to do so. Membership is free.

Member groups can get practical help and support at any stage of the group’s development, from fundraising and marketing tips to writing a constitution and building new partnerships. Your group would benefit from an experienced and dedicated staff team, our members only newsletter and free places at our annual conference.

Read more about the benefits of membership.