RELATIVES of drug addicts across West Dunbartonshire are being given access to much-needed support with the launch of a new group.

The family support group was launched by community project Alternatives for relatives who might be feeling distressed, hurt and drained because of addictions.

Alternatives workers and volunteers hope a weekly chat and a cuppa in a relaxing environment will help those going through the same problems.

Bobby Walker, a family support worker with the new Alternatives’ project, said: “Alternatives is hoping to help support families and friends of people with a dependency and within recovery who feel that they need somewhere to go and speak in a safe and confidential space where people won’t judge them.

“We are also hoping to help people to engage in discussion so as to gain a better understanding of what both the family of the service user and the service user themselves are going through.

“We’re trying to break down the barriers that have been built up through dependency and recreate the bonds that a family needs to help and support each other.”

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The family support group intends on taking a more therapeutic approach to healing outwith the traditional meeting room.

Alternatives staff and the small group of people who have been attending the weekly meetings have been discussing various ideas, including beekeeping, volunteering with other organisations in the area, and educational projects tackling the stigma of addiction.

Bobby added: “Volunteering with various groups within the area can also be beneficial to relieve the stigma of addiction.

“This is not a referral service. Our meetings are open to all who feel that they need some form of support.

“The meetings will hopefully help everyone attending gain a better understanding of addiction and what everyone goes through from family, friends and the person with the addiction issue.”

“This can lead to people feeling better within themselves and being better able to cope when things take a downturn.

“We have a small group of family members currently attending our weekly meetings, and we’d like to invite anyone else who may be interested to come along.”

The family support group runs on Monday evenings in Alternatives’ offices just off Dumbarton’s High Street and on Wednesdays in Alexander Street, Clydebank. Both meetings run from 6.30pm-8.30pm.