Pubdate: Wed, 17 Dec 2008
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2008 Cape Times
Author: Caryn Dolley


Substance-abuse counsellors are encouraging the relatives and friends of 
drug addicts and alcoholics to open up about their problems, particularly 
during the festive season when drug and alcohol abuse tends to increase.

They are also urged to contact support groups set up to cater specifically 
for them.

On Tuesday, Carry Bekker, programme director and co-founder of Stepping 
Stones Addiction Centre in Kommetjie, said families with drug-addicted or 
alcoholic members often struggled to cope.

"And it's worse during the festive season, because bonuses are paid out, 
there's more money to spend, and more alcohol and drugs are bought.

"It's also the time of year when families get together. People suffer more 
in these times, because they hope things will be peaceful.

"These families often feel depressed, as if (their problems) are never 
going to end."

Bekker said relatives often chose to keep quiet about their troubled family 

"They try to hide it, as there's a lot of shame involved.

"But they need to share what they're going through, because it's not going 
to get better if they keep it secret," she said.

Bekker urged the relatives of drug addicts and alcoholics to contact 
support groups, like Al-Anon on 021 595 4517 or Nar-Anon on 088 129 6791.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D