A guide to family support services

For those with a family member struggling with harmful drinking life can be extremely difficult. This fact sheet provides a list of the main organisations in the UK providing support for families.

Adfam

Adfam is the national charity working to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol. It aims to empower family members and carers, support frontline workers and influence decision-makers to prevent alcohol and drugs from destroying families. Using compassion and evidence, the charity informs, supports and empowers both people affected by a loved one’s substance use and the workers who support them.

Al-Anon

Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking, regardless of whether that person is still drinking or not. The organisation is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experiences to solve their common problems. It has over 800 support groups in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Bottled Up

Bottled Up offers information and advice for family members living with someone who is alcohol dependent. The two founders of the organisation are a therapist and a psychologist who have direct experience of alcoholism.

Carers UK

Carers UK provides advice, information and support for carers. They also have an online community of carers and are available to Carers UK members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Children’s Society

The Children Society’s Stars initiative provides a hub of information, guidance and resources on parental drug and alcohol use, and the impact it has on children and families. Through its work it promotes the voices of children and young people, as well as seeking to influence policy and practice.

DrugFam

DrugFam is a charity that provides support for families affected by alcohol or drug dependency. Through its support services, it aims to provide a lifeline of safe, caring and professional support to families, friends and carers who are struggling to cope with a loved one’s addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Family Lives

Family Lives is a charity with over three decades of experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life. It aims to support the many people that play active roles in raising children to achieve the best relationship possible with their children, as well as supporting parenting professionals.

Grandparents Plus

Grandparents Plus is the national charity which champions the vital role of grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives – especially when they take on the caring role in difficult family circumstances. Its role involves advising and supporting grandparents and wider family members to ensure they have access to a holistic service, and offering them professional advice, information and casework support.

The Icarus Trust

The Icarus Trust offers support for families of people with addiction, including alcohol dependence. It provides a ‘Family and Friends’ service, whereby trained volunteers offer personal support and help signpost to appropriate professionals who can provide specialist help.

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA)

NACOA aims to address the needs of children growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcohol dependency or a similar addictive problem. This includes children of all ages, many of whose problems only become apparent in adulthood.

Relate

Relate is the UK’s largest provider of relationship support. As well as offering advice and relationship counselling for couples, it also provides advice for parents and other family members to help families deal with difficult times. The charity has a network of Relate Centres across the UK and a group of licensed local counsellors that provide face-to-face counselling and support.

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs exists to support those affected by the substance use of a loved one. It facilitates a Scotland-wide network of family support groups and runs a helpline service.