For Partners and Family Members

When someone in a family has an alcohol or other drug problem, everyone is affected. At first, as the problem develops, the family may not understand what is happening. The person with the problem may not see his or her use as a problem, or the person may not be completely open about what is going on.
As the problem becomes clearer, family members may have different ideas about how to deal with it. As individuals and as a unit, family members may struggle to balance their desire to help and protect the person with the need to let the person take responsibility for his or her behaviour. When faced with this situation, family members may:
  • feel guilt, shame
  • feel grief, depression
  • feel loss of control, anxiety               
  • feel anger and resentment      
  • experience denial.
If the problem worsens, family members may also begin to feel hopeless.
There may be:
  • vague, unclear communication
  • escalating conflict, breakdown of relationships
  • a gradual shift in roles and responsibilities
  • efforts to clean up after or otherwise rescue the person with the problem to protect him or her, or to hide the problem from others
  • nagging, threatening
  • counting drinks or making other attempts to check how much the person is using.
Finally, family members may attempt to control the person and his or her use, or they may increase their own use of alcohol or other drugs. Family members may also begin to neglect themselves emotionally, physically or socially.
 
How families can help

Families can play a strong role in recovery. With support from families, people are more likely to stay in treatment and have a successful outcome. Providing that support, however, is only possible if family members take care of their own needs first.

Partners and family members need to look after their own physical and mental health. To do this, you can do the following:
  1. Set limits. Decide what things you will or will not do, and let your relative or partner know. This sends a message to that person to take control of his or her own behaviour. Family members sometimes “rescue” by covering up or not allowing the relative or partner to experience the consequences of his or her use. This can reduce motivation for change or even make it easier for the person to keep using.
  2. Make time for yourself. Keep up your interests outside the family and apart from your relative or partner.
  3. Consider seeking support for yourself, even if your relative or partner is not in treatment. Understanding the problem and the impact it has on you will help you cope. Consider either entering therapy for yourself or joining a self-help or family support program. Local community addiction treatment centres may offer or be aware of these programs.
  4. Take a look at your own substance use. Might your substance use be a cause for concern? Is your drinking or other drug use a “trigger” for the problem use of someone else in your life?
  5. Acknowledge and accept that sometimes you will have angry or negative feelings about the situation. Having conflicting emotions is normal. Knowing this can help you to control these emotions, so you can support your relative or partner through recovery. Try not to feel guilty about your feelings.
  6. Protect yourself physically, emotionally and financially, as necessary. If children are involved, keep them safe.
  7. Keep up your own support network. Avoid isolating yourself. Keep in touch with friends and family outside the home who can offer support.
  8. Don’t allow the problem to take over family life. As much as possible, keep stress low and family life normal. Continue to do family activities such as celebrating birthdays and holidays.
  9. Having a relative or partner with a substance use problem can also strain the relationships of family members who are not using. Different family members may see the problem differently and interact differently with the person with the problem. Family counselling can help to promote family unity, and enable family members to support each other and the person with a substance use problem.
Getting treatment for your relative or partner

It may be hard to get your relative or partner to accept help. Even if the person does realize his or her use is a problem, he or she may not see treatment as useful. The decision to seek help has to come from the person who needs it. There are, however, some ways that family members can encourage a relative or partner. Generally, a concerned and supportive approach is most effective.

Tips for helping your relative or partner

  1. Learn as much as you can about the causes, signs and symptoms of problem substance use. This will help you to understand and support your relative or partner in recovery.
  2. Communicate positively, directly and clearly. State what you want to happen, rather than criticizing your relative or partner for past behaviours. Avoiding personal criticism can help your relative or partner feel accepted while he or she is making difficult changes.
  3. Encourage your relative or partner to follow the treatment plan. Encourage the person to attend treatment sessions regularly and to use the support from his or her counsellor or group. Support the person’s efforts to avoid things that may trigger substance use.
  4. Ask your partner or relative how you can be supportive and create a safer environment (e.g., would the person prefer it if alcohol were removed from the home?).
  5. As your relative or partner recovers, encourage him or her to begin to take back some of the responsibilities and connections that might have been disrupted. Getting back the healthier parts of his or her life, such as family, friends, work and hobbies, can help to maintain changes and to rebuild more balanced relationships with family members.
  6. Recognize that recovery may not be completely smooth. Relapse is often a part of recovery. Have realistic expectations and encourage realistic goals. Prepare a plan for your response to relapse, if it should occur. A relapse can escalate to a return to problem use. If this occurs, decide on your actions and limits, and communicate these clearly to your relative or partner.
  7. Give hope. Remind the person that no matter how hard the struggle, recovery is possible.
Relationship with a partner

A substance use problem can profoundly affect an intimate relationship. Feelings of resentment, anger and loss of trust can lead to distance and hostility in the relationship. The non-using partner may feel betrayed due to past actions. He or she might also have taken on more responsibilities than seem fair. Over time, a partner may begin to feel more and more in a parental role, eroding the couple’s bond. If the partner with the substance use problem does reduce or stop use, it will still take time, patience and a great deal of effort to rebuild what might have been lost. The partner might have been using substances to deal with stress and need to learn new skills to deal with life pressures.

If your partner is willing, meet with his or her counsellor. A meeting can help you to better understand treatment and to learn ways to be supportive and encourage progress.
Support groups for family members can also help. Later on, as your partner enters the action or maintenance stage, consider couple therapy with a marital or couple therapist who understands addiction. Such therapy can help improve communication and strengthen the relationship.

 


Recent Posts

  • East Kootenay Addictions- Adult Substance Use Job Posting

    Posted on: 06-Nov-2020

    Posted by EKASS | on 06-Nov-2020 East Kootenay Addictions- Adult Substance Use Job Posting

    EAST KOOTENAY ADDICTIONS SERVICES SOCIETY

    Adult Substance Use Counsellor

    Fernie, BC – Permanent Full-Time (37.5 hours per week)

    Closing Date: November 20, 2020

     

    Job Summary:

    The Substance Use Counsellor will provide screening, assessment and treatment planning to individuals, groups and families affected by their own or someone else’s substance misuse. In addition, the Counsellor will participate in the planning and delivery of treatment programs and community education programs in the Elk Valley area.

    Qualifications:

    • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate discipline suitable for addictions work such as Social Work, Counselling Psychology and minimum three-years relevant addictions experience.
    • Experience and training counselling individuals, groups and families with substance use and concurrent disorder issues.
    • Working knowledge of the mental health and substance use system of care, including a comprehensive understanding of current approaches to substance abuse and mental health treatment.

    Skills and Abilities:

    • Able to work with minimal supervision
    • Complete clinical screening, assessment and treatment plans
    • Provide therapeutic counselling services to individuals, groups and families
    • Establish and maintain relationships based on trust and respect, and maintain healthy interpersonal boundaries with work colleagues, community partners and clients
    • Develop and implement public education and prevention activities for various community groups with a harm reduction focus
    • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, and maintain accurate and timely reports
    • Be flexible and use analytical and critical thinking to respond to changing work conditions
    • Work with an inter-disciplinary team approach
    • Demonstrate adherence to professional ethical values
    • Maintain valid driver’s license.  Must have own vehicle
    • Hold a Valid first aid/CPR certification
    • Provide a current Criminal Record Clearance

    Salary:  Commensurate with The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association & HEABC, Provincial Agreement, Allied to Social Worker 1, Grid Level 8

    Submit letter of application and resume to:

    Dean Nicholson, Executive Director

    East Kootenay Addiction Services Society

    202, 1617 Baker Street

    Cranbrook, BC, V1C 1B4

    Fax:  250-489-1020

    Email:  [email protected]

    www.ekass.com

    Only those selected for interview will be contacted.




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  • EKASS is Hiring!
  • EKASS is Hiring!

    Posted on: 06-Nov-2020

    Posted by Theresa Bartraw | on 06-Nov-2020 EKASS is Hiring!

    EAST KOOTENAY ADDICTIONS SERVICES SOCIETY

    Adult Substance Use Counsellor

    Fernie, BC – Permanent Full-Time (37.5 hours per week)

    Closing Date: November 20, 2020

     

    Job Summary:

    The Substance Use Counsellor will provide screening, assessment and treatment planning to individuals, groups and families affected by their own or someone else’s substance misuse. In addition, the Counsellor will participate in the planning and delivery of treatment programs and community education programs in the Elk Valley area.

    Qualifications:

    • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate discipline suitable for addictions work such as Social Work, Counselling Psychology and minimum three-years relevant addictions experience.
    • Experience and training counselling individuals, groups and families with substance use and concurrent disorder issues.
    • Working knowledge of the mental health and substance use system of care, including a comprehensive understanding of current approaches to substance abuse and mental health treatment.

    Skills and Abilities:

    • Able to work with minimal supervision
    • Complete clinical screening, assessment and treatment plans
    • Provide therapeutic counselling services to individuals, groups and families
    • Establish and maintain relationships based on trust and respect, and maintain healthy interpersonal boundaries with work colleagues, community partners and clients
    • Develop and implement public education and prevention activities for various community groups with a harm reduction focus
    • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, and maintain accurate and timely reports
    • Be flexible and use analytical and critical thinking to respond to changing work conditions
    • Work with an inter-disciplinary team approach
    • Demonstrate adherence to professional ethical values
    • Maintain valid driver’s license.  Must have own vehicle
    • Hold a Valid first aid/CPR certification
    • Provide a current Criminal Record Clearance

    Salary:  Commensurate with The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association & HEABC, Provincial Agreement, Allied to Social Worker 1, Grid Level 8

    Submit letter of application and resume to:

    Dean Nicholson, Executive Director

    East Kootenay Addiction Services Society

    202, 1617 Baker Street

    Cranbrook, BC, V1C 1B4

    Fax:  250-489-1020

    Email:  [email protected]

    www.ekass.com

    Only those selected for interview will be contacted.


    Fax:  250-489-1020

    Email:  [email protected]

    Only those selected for interview will be contacted.

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  • Y Mind
  • Y Mind

    Posted on: 20-Oct-2020

    Posted by Theresa Bartraw | on 20-Oct-2020 Y Mind

    CMHA Kootenays and East Kootenay Addiction Services Society are proud to partner with the YWCA of Greater Vancouver to deliver this 7 week group for teens aged 13-18.  Y-Mind Teens is a program for teens who experience stress, worry, and/or mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety. The curriculum offers tools and strategies from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as mindfulness. The group will take a strength based approach and assumes that participants have been trying their best to cope with symptoms of stress, worry and mild-moderate anxiety. The tools and strategies provided in this curriculum offer new approaches to coping. Participants will be encouraged to approach these new tools with an open mind, and a willingness to try them; but, ultimately each participant will decide for themselves. The motto is- “take what works for you and leave what doesn’t”.

    This program is offered at no cost, and will provide participants with 7 sessions over 7 weeks. Please note that this is a closed program, and requires participants to be committed to attending these 7 weeks.  The sessions will run for about 1.5 hours, and dinner will be provided at each session.

    The orientation session will be Wednesday, October 21st at 5:00-6:30pm, and the sessions will begin on Wednesday, October 28th from 5-6:30. The location of the sessions will be at CMHA-Kootenays main office 300-1000 21St Avenue North.  Due to COVID-19 protocols, we will only be taking 6 participants at this time.  If you have anyone who may be interested please encourage them to attend the orientation session, so we can meet with the teen, and gather more information with them.

    Who would be an ideal fit for these sessions?

    1)      Teens aged 13-18 years of age

    2)      They express that anxiety is a primary concern and that their anxiety is within a mild to moderate range

    3)      Their schedule will allow for punctual attendance of all 7 group sessions

    4)      They are comfortable or open to work within a group environment

    5)      They are at a cognitive learning comprehension level to be able to interpret metaphors, conceptualize and discuss concepts, and apply them to situational experiences

    6)      They value open mindedness and respect for others’ opinions and experiences and are willing to help foster a safe space for group members to share and receive support



    Y Minds Y Minds (293 KB)

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Upcoming Events

  • International Overdose Awareness Day 2020

    Event Date: 31-Aug-2020

    Posted by Theresa Bartraw | on 18-Aug-2020 International Overdose Awareness Day 2020

    International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year. The day aims raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. It also acknowledge the grief felt by families and friend remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. 

    To help reduce the risk of overdose:

    • Buddy up when you are using, stay 2 meters (6 ft) from your buddy to remain physically distanced, but remember using with a buddy is safer than using alone!
    • Remember, smoking substances can still lead to overdose, take measures to prevent overdose.      
    • Avoid using different drugs at the same time or using drugs and alcohol together. 
    • Don’t use alone. Leave door unlocked. Tell someone to check on you.
    • If you feel you must use while alone, consider using the Lifeguard app www.lifeguardDH.com which can connect you with emergency medical dispatchers in the event of an overdose. Download at the App Store or Google Play.  
    • Test by using a small amount, then go slow.
    • Carry a Naloxone kit and know how to use it. Naloxone is available at:
      • ANKORS, EKASS, IH Public Health & Mental Health Substance Use Locations
      • Pharmacies located throughout Cranbrook
      • Recognize the signs of an OD: slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to rouse (awaken), non-responsive.
      • Call 9-1-1 immediately It is still safe (and important) to use emergency services during the COVID -19 pandemic
      • Open airway and give rescue breaths using face mask
      • Give naloxone (Narcan) if you have it
    • Check your drugs. Fentanyl test strips are available at:
    ANKORS #209 – 16th Ave North Cranbrook  250-426-3383
    EKASS – 250-489-4344

    www.drugchecking.ca

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  • Y Mind
    Event Date: 20-Oct-2020
  • Y Mind

    Event Date: 20-Oct-2020

    Posted by Theresa Bartraw | on 20-Oct-2020 Y Mind

    CMHA Kootenays and East Kootenay Addiction Services Society are proud to partner with the YWCA of Greater Vancouver to deliver this 7 week group for teens aged 13-18.  Y-Mind Teens is a program for teens who experience stress, worry, and/or mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety. The curriculum offers tools and strategies from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as mindfulness. The group will take a strength based approach and assumes that participants have been trying their best to cope with symptoms of stress, worry and mild-moderate anxiety. The tools and strategies provided in this curriculum offer new approaches to coping. Participants will be encouraged to approach these new tools with an open mind, and a willingness to try them; but, ultimately each participant will decide for themselves. The motto is- “take what works for you and leave what doesn’t”.

    This program is offered at no cost, and will provide participants with 7 sessions over 7 weeks. Please note that this is a closed program, and requires participants to be committed to attending these 7 weeks.  The sessions will run for about 1.5 hours, and dinner will be provided at each session.

    The orientation session will be Wednesday, October 21st at 5:00-6:30pm, and the sessions will begin on Wednesday, October 28th from 5-6:30. The location of the sessions will be at CMHA-Kootenays main office 300-1000 21St Avenue North.  Due to COVID-19 protocols, we will only be taking 6 participants at this time.  If you have anyone who may be interested please encourage them to attend the orientation session, so we can meet with the teen, and gather more information with them.

    Who would be an ideal fit for these sessions?

    1)      Teens aged 13-18 years of age

    2)      They express that anxiety is a primary concern and that their anxiety is within a mild to moderate range

    3)      Their schedule will allow for punctual attendance of all 7 group sessions

    4)      They are comfortable or open to work within a group environment

    5)      They are at a cognitive learning comprehension level to be able to interpret metaphors, conceptualize and discuss concepts, and apply them to situational experiences

    6)      They value open mindedness and respect for others’ opinions and experiences and are willing to help foster a safe space for group members to share and receive support

    Y Minds Y Minds (293 KB)

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  • New additions to the COVID-19 resource section

    Event Date: 31-Mar-2020

    Posted by Theresa Bartraw | on 31-Mar-2020 New additions to the COVID-19 resource section

    East Kootenay Addictions Services is building and adding to the COVID-19 Response Resources section of the website. Follow the link here COVID-19 Resources for more information

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