Caring for yourself while you are caring for someone else

In order for us to offer support to another person regarding alcohol and/or other drug use, it’s important that we look after our own health and wellbeing. It is normal for people close to someone who is working through alcohol and/or other drug use issues to experience a large range of conflicting emotions. These could include feelings of isolation, anger, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, frustration, fear and stigma. People in this situation can also feel that they are solely responsible for resolving the issue, which can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

Remember that there are services that can offer you support, including ACON’s Substance Support Service and Family Drug Support.

Tips for looking after yourself

  • It is important to realise that a person’s alcohol and/or other drug use will only change when they are ready to change it. Too much worry and taking care of a person with alcohol and/or other drug use problems can result in you getting burnt- out or feeling overwhelmed.
  • It is okay to ask for help as you need support too.
  • Allow yourself to experience mixed emotions over the situation.
  • Take time to do things for yourself. It is important that you continue to feel good about yourself.
  • Keep in contact with other people in your social circles and maintain your own social network.
  • People in situations similar to you can find that it’s difficult trying to be a ‘carer’ as well as a friend or partner. Try to spend quality, relaxed time with the person, to maintain the relationship with them.
  • Be aware that supporting someone through their alcohol and/or other drug use issue could trigger feelings and memories from your own past experiences.
  • Remember that when caring for someone affected by alcohol and/ or other drug use you have options as well. In some cases it may become unsafe for you to stay in a situation if you feel it is impacting negatively on you. •
  • Supporting someone with their substance use can take away from other responsibilities and relationships which can take a toll. It is ok and necessary to make time for other relationships in your life

Remember your loved one can always access support from ACON's substance support service, don't hesitate to call 029206 2000 or find out more at the ACON website.


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