In Impact Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety, Wycombe

Project: Weekly support groups for families affected by someone else’s addiction
Grant: £5,000
Fund: Rectory Homes / HoB General

DrugFAM run a weekly support group in High Wycombe for people who are affected by someone else’s substance misuse, including people who have been bereaved as a result of someone’s addiction. The sessions are run by an experienced and comprehensively trained volunteer facilitator, and support over 50 people per year.

DrugFAM were awarded this grant of £5,000 to continue delivering the support group in 2018/19. The grant also contributed towards the cost of their helpline for attendees who may require support or assistance in between group meetings.

Their support groups help to reduce families’ sense of isolation, shame and guilt about their situation by bringing people together to share their challenges and access support and insight from both the trained facilitators and their peers. Knowing that they are not alone and having a safe place to talk about their experiences can also help to reduce feelings of loneliness.

Case study – Mandy’s story

Mandy* found DrugFAM through their website. Before she found the site she was trying to cope with her 18 year old son, who was addicted to drugs.

Mandy was suffering from anxiety and feelings of isolation, she said “I felt I was a bad parent and a complete failure and the shame was unbearable. I was hopelessly alone, sad and very miserable and my marriage was at breaking point.”

Mandy began by attending one-to-one sessions before moving onto the support group. “I was an enabler and my life with my drug addict son had become entwined and we were stuck together like glue. He lost his licence for the second time and, as he is a self-employed plumber, I was driving him every where with his tools for work. My life was him. I ate, drank and breathed him.”

Initially Mandy struggled to move forward despite attending the group, however she carried on, listening and taking everything in. “After giving him £1,000 to pay off his drug dealers and then going to the group session, Gill the facilitator spoke to me at great length and guided me to be brave and strong and not give in to him anymore. Changing this behaviour is my biggest achievement and I certainly would not have been able to do this without DrugFAM, they are worth their weight in gold.”

Mandy had a few set backs, giving her son food and cigarettes, but eventually managed to break the cycle. “I will not be taken for granted anymore, after all I have a life as well. I feel that I have come on in leaps and bounds and that my son knows I will not give him money. Drug addicts are good liars, manipulative and very deceitful and would sell their mother to get what they want and the heartache and misery it causes is unbelievable. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it was not for DrugFAM.”

*name changed