Living with, or loving someone with an active addiction to drugs, alcohol or a risky behaviour can have a huge ripple effect on your life. Addiction is very self-destructive, and watching a family member harming themselves and others, is bound to bring up strong emotions in you. If you have realised that you need help in dealing with your emotions, and your loved ones, then you too can be free from the bondage of the person you love’s addiction.

Addiction not only consumes the person that suffers from it, but it also gravely affects those around them.  Some may not understand why you do not just walk away and leave them to it. Setting boundaries and tough love is easier said than done.  You may fear that if you put a boundary in place or issue and ultimatum, that you will have to see through a very tough decision.  You may feel responsible for your family members wellbeing; you will go to any lengths to keep them safe from harming themselves, even at the cost of your own morals and sanity. Another common reason to seek support is that you feel completely out of your depth and at a loss. A loved one’s addiction can even cause you to become physically or mentally unwell, perhaps suffering from anxiety, sleepless nights, depression and loss of interest in other things.  You may isolate from fear of being judged by others for standing by your loved one, no matter what they seem to do as a consequence of their addiction. There is no doubt that trying to deal with a loved one in addictive addiction will bring up a lot of negativity, worry and stress. Sadly there is no easy answer to this, even them recovering can still leave you with feelings of mistrust and undealt with anger.


Co-dependency is a common disorder that can develop from living with someone or caring for someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  The co-dependent needs to be needed by the addict.  Their whole life can become all about trying to save or fix that one person. This obsession can take over everything else that was once important and can be all-consuming, to the point that they look back at their lives and one day realize just how unmanageable everything has become.  The co-dependent can neglect their own health, their friends, other family members, hobbies, work and finances.  Their self-esteem and self-worth plummets, as they only ever feel of any real use when they are seemingly needed by their loved one, or have a small victory in terms of their loved ones receptiveness.  Co-dependency can make for a lot of misery and even drive the sufferer to point of desperation, mental illness and suicidal ideation.  Co-dependency in its self is a serious condition that requires professional treatment.  Addiction Helper can help guide you to the correct sources of support and help you arrange counselling, so that you can start to look after yourself and enjoy life once again.

Support for You

There are a couple of options when it comes to arranging support for yourself, just because you have reached a point where you cannot continue as you are , does not mean you have failed your loved one or let anyone down. Looking after yourself is the most singularly productive thing you can do for a family member that is using. You will then have the strength and the knowledge to be there for them when they are serious about making some lifesaving changes. One to one support usually works best for someone who is struggling to cope with an addicted family member.  This will give you the time and space you need to talk about your problems.  Working with a Counsellor will help you to deal with your fears and with any frustrations and anger towards your family member and help bring the focus back to you.  Thus providing you with a fresh and balanced perspective on the situation. Addiction Helper can arrange One to One counselling sessions for you locally with an experienced BACP registered Counsellor.  Our Counsellors will provide you with a bespoke treatment plan to address your individual needs as a person.

As well as private Counselling, there are also some associations that are specifically set up to support family members who are struggling with an addicted loved one.  Whilst these associations are not run by professionals, but those who have been in a similar situation, they can provide a valuable service in terms of you not feeling alone in your pain, and in gaining advice on how others have dealt living with an addict. These associations are free to access and you can find further information and contact details on our site.

If you are still unsure what kind of support would best suit you, or you would like further information on Addiction Helper‘s help for family members, please call and speak to one of our trained Addiction Experts, who will be happy to help.  You can call us direct on 0800 140 4820 / 0203 553 6095