Take Action! Alcohol, other drug problems & your family
Alcohol and other drug problems create difficulties for the whole family — not just the person with the problem. That's why everyone should feel free to get help and support. At the same time, the family can encourage the person with the problem to get the help that's needed.
Things You Can Do
- Discuss your concern with another person — someone you trust and respect, such as a family member, friend, teacher, counsellor, doctor or trusted member of your spiritual or faith community.
- Learn about drugs and their effects. Call CAMH's Information Centre at 1 800 463-6273. In Toronto, call 416 595-6111.
- Find out about the kinds of treatment and help available. If you're not sure about the services in your community, you can call the Drug and Alcohol Registry of Treatment (DART) at 1 800 565-8603 (www.dart.on.ca).
- If you decide to talk to the family member who has the problem, think about who else to involve, and when and where to hold the discussion.
- Encourage and assist the person with the problem in getting help. But remember, you can't force anybody to get treatment — the final decision is with the person who has the problem.
- Be persistent but patient. These kinds of changes don't happen right away. It takes time for a person to admit problems and do something about them. Avoid criticizing the person for not moving more quickly.
- Remember that related issues may have to be dealt with in addition to the alcohol or drug problem, such as marital, emotional, financial, legal and health problems.
- Don't accept rude or physically abusive behavior. It's never OK to be mistreated by anyone, even when the family member is drunk or stoned. If this happens, don't make excuses. It's time to Take Action!
- Don't forget your own needs. You can help others better when you're healthy and happy yourself.