West Sussex charity shares how it supports families affected by harmful drinking
West Sussex charity Carers Support shares how it supports its clients dealing with drug and alcohol misuse.
Claire* (name changed), cares for her mum who has struggled with alcohol addiction for 30 years. She attends the Carers Support drug and alcohol group.
What prompted you to make contact with Carers Support?
I was suffering from depression and anxiety and it got to the point where I was suicidal. My mum’s drinking was overwhelming and isolating and I had reached a breaking point. I knew I needed to change something.
I reached out to the learning support team at my college and when I mentioned my mum was an alcoholic they suggested I contact Carers Support.
Can you describe how you felt when you first made contact?
I remember the second or third meeting I went to when one of the other carers remarked that I was very strong and brave and it felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. I had never considered caring for my mum as being anything other than a normal part of my life; I certainly would have never thought it was something others would admire. Hearing that positive feedback from someone in a similar situation changed my perspective completely and I made me proud of myself.
How has making contact affected you?
Before attending the group meetings, I had never met another carer and that was very isolating. But after hearing so many different stories and perspectives not only do I feel less alone and isolated, but it has also made me more aware and considerate of other people’s situations.
What has it been like coming to the group and meeting other carers?
There aren’t many other carers in my situation that I know of and it has been helpful to hear the perspectives of carers in completely different circumstances to me.
It has given me deeper understanding of the complexity of carer-addict relationships and has helped me view my own relationship dynamics from a new perspective.
What are the main outcomes for you from the support you received?
It has deepened my understanding of my relationship with my mum, it has made me feel less isolated and alone and it has allowed me to acknowledge the strength and courage it has taken to get through the past 20 years.
If you had three things to say to other families and friends affected by someone’s drinking or drug use, what would you want to let them know?
You are not alone – talking is really helpful. It can get better – don’t lose hope. You are stronger and more brave than you’ll ever know.
To find out more, visit: www.carerssupport.org.uk