Family and friends of a person suffering from an addiction may feel it's their fault, in addition to anger, frustration, confusion and helplessness.
Learning about the disease can help ease the anxiety, social and emotional stress that addiction can place on a family. If you or your loved one had a new cancer diagnosis, you'd likely do as much research as possible, and maybe join a support group. Addiction is no different.
Recovery meetings, such as those held by Al-Anon, Alateen and Nar-Anon, help family members and friends deepen their understanding of substance dependency by sharing personal experiences and seeing that no one has to do this alone. You can't control a person's behavior, just like you can't control a cancer diagnosis. In addition to their closed meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) both hold open meetings where family and friends of alcoholics and addicts are welcome to attend.