Advice for under 18s impacted by someone else’s drug or alcohol use
There are lots of reasons why someone might use drugs or alcohol, but this doesn’t mean they are not good people or that they don’t love you.
We understand it can feel like your family is the only one in this situation, but you are not alone and it’s okay to speak to someone about how you’re feeling.
Over 5 million people in the UK are affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use, including lots of children and young people impacted by family substance use.
‘‘Today I found out there are other people who have similar problems and I’m not on my own”
You can read stories from more people who have been in situations like yours and were helped by our services by clicking the link below:
People impacted by family substance use share their stories
There is lots of help and support available, and there are ways that you can cope with difficult family situations.
- Talk to someone you trust. We understand it can feel like your family is the only one in this situation, but you are not alone and it’s okay to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. This could be an adult in your life you trust, someone at school or one of the helplines at the bottom of this page.
‘You don’t realise how much talking to someone helps until you actually do it’
- Take time for yourself. Although you can’t make someone else stop drinking or taking drugs, you’re not powerless. It’s important to take time for yourself and find ways to cope. This could be playing or listening to music, getting into a sport or hobby or spending time with friends and other family members.
- Look after your own health and wellbeing. We’ve put together some advice for taking care of your own mental and physical health. Read our health and wellbeing advice.
- Find the support that’s right for you. It’s important to remember that there are other people with similar experiences, and there is lots of support available. You can find some useful links at the bottom of this page
Getting support from Change Grow Live
We have 20 services across the country that support children and young people who might have been affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use.
We can support you to cope with difficult family situations and feel stronger in yourself.
We don’t judge anyone involved, and our services are confidential. We are not a part of social services, and our workers are not social workers.
Our services are a safe space for you to explore feelings about a situation you might not feel you have much control over.
We’ve put together some answers to a few questions you might have about how our services can help:
Most of our services that offer this type of support work with people aged between 5 and 18. Some services will work with different age ranges. You can contact your local service directly to check what ages they work with.
You and your worker will find a time and a place that is comfortable for you. This could be at school, or any place in the community where you are happy to meet.
If you are under 13, then we will need consent from a parent or guardian before we can offer you support. If you are 13 and over and considered competent to give consent, we can work with you without your family knowing.
No. Our services are confidential. Things discussed in your sessions will only be discussed with individuals outside of that session if there are concerns for someone’s safety or wellbeing.
No. We are here to support you with whatever you want to discuss in your sessions, and we will respect your boundaries.
The number of sessions each service offers can be different for each service. You can contact your local service directly to check how long they can work with you for.
We’ll arrange a convenient time to meet with you and discuss any questions you have. We will help you to decide what sort of support is right for you. You will be paired with a keyworker and together you will agree on a plan for how and when you’ll meet.
Get help, support and advice
If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help.
Information and support for anyone affected by a parent’s drinking.
Safe, anonymous online chat for children and young people to discuss their mental health and wellbeing.
Anonymous online meetings for young people aged 13-18 who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.
Sesame Street in Communities
Free online resources to help children explore difficult situations and relationships.
Mental health support for children, young people and their parents/guardians.
Online and telephone support for children and young people to discuss issues anonymously.