Brief Residential Programme for Families and Friends

The Manor House, Warminster, Wiltshire

Programme date: 25 – 28 June 2018

Action on Addiction For Families has long recognised that family members, partners and friends can suffer greatly from the consequences of another’s drug and/or alcohol misuse.

These family members invariably need a safe place where they can speak about their difficulties with others who share similar experiences which is why, more than 30 years ago, we developed the brief residential family programme.

Friends and family members affected by someone else’s addiction feel isolated, alone and overlooked - experienced Clouds family counsellors gently and respectfully help them to understand what is happening and how to begin making changes.

Participants gain information and education about addiction and its effects on others.  Workshops, discussions and group therapy provide opportunities to explore personal issues and to receive help.

It is not necessary for a family member or friend to be in treatment in order to benefit from this programme.  A formal evaluation has indicated that this short intervention can make a significant difference to the recovery process for the whole family.

The programme aims to:

  • Support family members and/or friends who are affected by someone else’s misuse of addictive behaviours (past or present)
  • Provide space and respite in a safe, nurturing environment
  • Offer the opportunity for change that is unlikely to happen without external help
  • Reduce the negative impact of addictive behaviours on the rest of the family and/or circle of friends
  • Interrupt repeating patterns of harmful behaviour and reduce risks
  • Increase the range of coping strategies and raise self-esteem
  • Improve communication
  • Strengthen protective and resilience factors
  • Provide education around addiction
  • Explore values and beliefs that family members/friends carry
  • Identify additional needs and strategies for individuals and guide them towards further help.                                                                                                               

On completion of the programme, aftercare options are discussed with individuals. Participants are invited to an annual reunion and encouraged to continue supporting one another.                         

The family programme has been evaluated by the Mental Health Research Development Unit (MHRDU).  The evaluations received approval from Bath’s Research Ethics Committee and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust Research & Development.

Here are some participants' personal reflections on recent Family Programmes:

"A very helpful and enlightening week.  I wish I had done this years ago."

"I would recommend this programme ... I feel it is a vital part of my recovery to receive help and support from specialists within the field of addiction. The benefits are life-changing."

"Having struggled with family members caught up in addiction for years I was still unaware of how much help I needed. This programme has been a turning point - I have been able to look at the past, show my emotions and begin to rebuild my life."

“All the staff were excellent and from the very beginning were welcoming and helpful.  I soon felt more at ease and wish I had done this years ago”

“The accommodation and the excellent way we were looked after by all the staff made a big difference to the stay -  I felt it was a safe environment”

Please telephone us on 01747 832 015 for further details: also to request an application form.

Click here to download a self-referral form