Helpful Support Groups

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family Support Group
NAMI Offers support groups and classes for families as well as support groups for people living with a mental illness. You will hear your story coming out of the mouths of others. NAMI’s website is full of useful information and personal stories relating to mental illness.

Nar-Anon Family Groups
Nar-Anon is a support group to help those who love a drug addict. Here you can say the things you could only say to another loved one of an addict. They won’t judge you because they’ve had the same thoughts, and they will tell you so. Nar-Anon follows the same twelve step program as Narcotics Anonymous, and they often have simultaneous meetings in the same building so you and your addict can attend a meeting at the same time.

Relatable Books

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through his Son’s Addiction by David Sheff
At times I felt like I was reading my own family’s story because the events were so similarly tragic. David’s book is an honest, gut-wrenching account of what it’s like to be the parent of an addict.
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
This book helped me see through the eyes of my own daughter who also struggles with an addiction to crystal meth and heroin. Mirroring my relationship with my daughter, I sometimes found myself angry at Nic for his selfishness, concerned for his well-being, and hopeful that he would clean up his act.
We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction by Nic Sheff
This follow up to Tweak invoked in me the familiar feelings of disappointment associated with loving an addict. I was disappointed in Nic for dishonestly telling people what they wanted to hear in order to get out of treatment, and I was disappointed in myself for falling for it all over again. Like my daughter, Nic doesn’t seem to understand what it means to be truly sober. While not very uplifting, his second book is at least realistic.
The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long
This book should resonate with any parent who has ever tried to seek help for a child with mental illness and discovered the many barriers to treatment. Well-researched and informative, Liza’s book should be required reading for all three branches of government.
Mommy I’m Still In Here: One Family’s Journey with Bipolar Disorder by Kate McLaughlin
Kate describes the constant crisis that comes with raising two children with bipolar disorder. While the details of our stories were quite different, I admire Kate’s endless compassion, perseverance, and optimism.