Carers Support West Sussex is today highlighting its services for family and friend carers of people with a drug or alcohol issue.
The West Sussex charity has more than 500 such carers registered, but believes the figure is much higher, with many ‘hidden carers’ across the county.
Carers Support runs 12 support groups for carers of someone with a drug or alcohol issue every month in Southwick, Crawley, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Horsham, Lancing, Bognor and Worthing. It can also offer one-to-one support and services like counselling.
‘Chris’* cares for his partner, who has an alcohol issue, and his son who has Down’s syndrome. He now volunteers with Carers Support and talks to other carers about his experience of caring for two people. He said:
“They’ve been the person they were, become the person dependent on substances and then in recovery they become another person so they’ve been through a lot of change, an awful lot of change. There’s an awful lot creeping in that’s trying to pull them back. Addiction, cravings, old behaviour, old habits, old friends, old places.”
“No one in a family environment sees themselves as a ‘carer’.”
But Chris says he’s found volunteering at Carers Support extremely helpful.
“In the people I have come into contact with at Carers Support, its solid gold. It helps me, I can be walking down the street and there are a lot more happy, smiling faces around. Everyone’s got their war stories, but when there’s a positive everyone is so pleased for each other.”
“It’s totally safe. What is said in the room stays in the room.”