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Family Members and Loved Ones: Support Groups

Learning that your loved one, be it a child, parent, partner or friend, is struggling with an opioid use disorder can bring a whirlwind of emotions, concerns and questions.

Connecting with a group of individuals who are also navigating the challenges of having a loved one diagnosed with an opioid use disorder can help you manage a difficult and painful situation.

Learn to Cope Support Group

Learn to Cope is a support network for family and loved ones affected by opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders.

Learn to Cope is peer-led support network developed in 2004 by Joanne Peterson. Learn to Cope has over 10,000 members on a private online forum, along with 25 in-person meeting group across the state of Massachusetts. It is uniquely focused on opioid use disorder but is open all family members and loved one’s affected by any substance use disorder. 

What Happens at a Learn to Cope Support Group?

  • Groups are led by facilitators who are family members or loved ones 
  • Group leaders facilitate sharing stories of success and challenges
  • Time is devoted to help anyone in crisis with their loved one by talking through a situation and getting direct feedback, guidance, and resources from fellow group members 
  • Groups bring in guest speakers to discuss relevant topics. Guest speakers are often local professionals/experts working in the field or individuals in long-term recovery.  
  • Learn to Cope partnered with the MA Department of Public Health and offers support group members free naloxone kits to reverse an opioid overdose. Overdose education and training on how to use naloxone (Narcan) is available at every meeting in Massachusetts. 

 Click on the image below to connect to the Learn to Cope Website

Click here to connect directly to the Learn to Cope support group meeting locator

SMART Recovery Support Group

  • SMART Recovery offers support resources for friends and family members of individuals struggling with substance use disorders. 
  • SMART Recovery emphasizes the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) Model in helping family and friends. Learn more here
  • Most of the family and friends group meetings happen online.
  • There is a growing number of states that are offering SMART Recovery for family and friends in-person meetings… click here to find a meeting in your area 
  • SMART Recovery also developed a resource called the SMART Recovery Family & Friends Handbook


Nar-Anon or Al-Anon and Alateen Support Groups

  • Nar-Anon and Al-Anon are the support groups for families and friends that is based off the 12-step program, with Nar-Anon focusing on drug addiction and Al-Anon focusing on alcohol addiction. Learn more and find a meeting near you here
  • Alateen is a group for adolescents who have parents or loved one’s affected by addiction. Learn more here