Getting some support from others who have gone through a drug or alcohol related bereavement can be hugely helpful to families and less daunting than seeking professional support. This section explains what peer support is and how to get it.
It is important to take care of yourself after a bereavement. It will probably be helpful to talk to someone about the person who has died, your memories of them and relationship with them. Who you decide to talk to is up to you. You may want to talk to friends, family, a spiritual or faith advisor, your GP or a professional organisation specialising in bereavement. It can be difficult to talk to friends and family, especially if you don’t feel they understand what it is you’re going through, but they can be a crucial source of support and you should talk to them if you feel able.
What is peer support? “…where an individual(s) who identifies themselves as having a specific problem/need and have received support to address the problem/need delivers services for the primary purpose of helping others with similar problems or needs. “ Peer support offers social, practical and emotional support. By definition, it must be voluntary, run and directed by consumers (peer supporters) in an informal setting, and offering flexibility and a non-medical approach. Beliefs, styles and values include:
The thing that has helped me to cope the most is ….. …….the peer support I got and telling others I loved that person and sharing happy memories (Alex M.) ……. the people who I discovered had also lost a child to addiction and had never met before and the love and support they have given unconditionally and without judgement - because they know the devastation of losing your child in this way. (Sue C.) ……..involvement with others who have been bereaved in the same way. (Helen L.) ……..focusing on my own wellbeing (Sarah H.)
by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips