Drink and Drugs News DDN December 2018 - Page 7

More on family support at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Adfam has embraced the opportunity to talk openly about stigma, says Robert Stebbings Gaining momentum tigma has been a prominent theme for us at Adfam and something that we frequently encounter in our varied work supporting families affected by alcohol or drug use. One family member spoke to us about how stigma is ‘like being labelled with a big invisible sign that I can’t see but others can’. This isn't good enough. Families should feel able to talk about their experiences openly and live their lives without fear of judgement from others. Often stigma isn’t malicious or deliberate; it’s due to people misunderstanding the issue and what families are going through. That’s why we have launched #StigmaMakesMeFeel – a campaign that gets stigma out in the open and tackles it face on. We’re aiming for 1,000 photos of people with our campaign boards writing their own personal messages of how stigma makes them feel and how it’s impacted on their lives. S ‘affected others’ just as they can support people tackling their own addiction. You can be with people who are just like you, get identification and lose the feelings of judgement and shame. It takes away the isolation that can come with addiction and make people unwell. The result of this project to share experiences, the DAWS Families and Friends Recovery Stories book, is about these forgotten victims of addiction – people who rarely have a voice and who are often supporting loved ones to access treatment and find recovery from substance misuse. My clients who attend DAWS have loved ones who might be in treatment or might not; they might be in their lives or they might not. Whatever the circumstance, if someone has been affected by www.drinkanddrugsnews.com By talking about this issue openly and honestly, we believe we can make a huge impact and change the way people think about substance use and the families affected. Since our launch earlier this year the response has been fantastic, with people across the country sending us a range of powerful and inspiring photos and messages. How does stigma make you feel? You can get involved in our campaign to raise awareness of stigma experienced by families affected by drugs and alcohol through three simple steps: 1. Download and print off our campaign board (pdf) 2. Write your own message on how stigma makes you feel 3. Take your photo and tweet it using the hashtag #StigmaMakesMeFeel (or email it to us at [email protected]) another’s substance misuse, they are welcome. In some cases their loved one has passed away as a result of addiction and they are left with the trauma. More than ever, they need support to help them process the loss that they are going through and they often experience a debilitating sense of guilt. At DAWS we help them to explore how they are processing their thoughts and feelings. Our 12-week rolling programme covers setting boundaries, self- care, healthy relationships, looking at anger, building up resilience and social networks. The first half of the programme is a process group, where we work with whatever is brought up by clients. The strength and courage that the families and friends show on a daily basis amazes me, and this shines through the book. These are stories of how ‘By talking about this issue openly and honestly, we believe we can make a huge impact and change the way people think about substance use and the families affected.’ people are watching their loved ones on a destructive path and unfortunately often end up on the path with them. It’s so very important to remember how substance misuse affects so many others around that one person. Figures from Adfam state that for every person in active addiction, eight people around them are likely to be affected. This highlights the problem we have and also shows how important it is for these people to get support and have their voices heard. John Taylor is DAWS family and carers lead. The Drug and Alcohol Wellbeing Service (DAWS) is run by Blenheim and Turning Point. Read the Recovery Stories book at https://bit.ly/2AUexFQ December/January 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 7