By ALICIA SPARKS
Last Wednesday, actor Daniel Baldwin filed for divorce from his wife former British supermodel wife, Joanne Smith. Baldwin cites Smith’s problems with substance abuse as the reason for the couple’s split – and the restraining order he obtained against her just one day before filing for divorce.
Baldwin, who has been married to Smith for nearly four years, is no stranger to problems with alcohol and drug addiction. The actor has battled his own problems with drug and alcohol abuse, including legal troubles that stemmed from his addictions, and appeared on four episodes of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew back in 2007, and has stated he knows firsthand how “difficult a position she is in.”
His experience might be why Baldwin was able to make such a quick and decisive move regarding his wife’s addiction and the well-being of the couple’s two toddlers, Avis Ann and Finley Rae Martineau. He’s been there and done that, so to speak.
Yet, not every loved one of an addict has that kind of experience to draw from.
In reality, many family members, significant others, and other loved ones and friends of people addicted to drugs and alcohol, don’t have a whole lot to go on in terms of making the best decisions for everyone involved. Often, they don’t have the experience helping addicts or themselves – or they’ve had a type of *co-dependent experience which – if they want to make safe, healthy choices now – isn’t going to provide much help.
After the jump, find five resources that can help you as a loved one of someone with substance abuse problems.
1) The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes literature related to families and alcohol or drug addiction in hard, digital, and/or CD/DVD copies. SAMHSA is also an excellent source of substance abuse education.
2) Al-Anon Family Groups provides support for family members and loved ones of problem drinkers in the forms of local and online meetings, podcasts, and various pieces of literature. The group also has Alateen, a special branch for teens dealing with family members who are problem drinkers.
3) The Sober Recovery Community provides an active online forum for the family members and friends of alcoholics and drug addicts. This message board covers everything from basic addiction support threads to reading suggestions and book studies. Of course, this isn’t the only online support group for loved ones of addicts. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, try Googling for alternatives.
4) The Partnership at Drugfree.org Alliance Program, which is made up of non-profit organizations as well as local and state government agencies, provides information on how to recognize substance abuse problems, how to intervene, and how the entire family can recover. Most of the Drugfree.org programs focus on parents dealing with teen substance abuse, but much of the information – including the drug guide – relates to all family members and loved ones of alcohol and drug users.
5) Community resources. Your community mental health center is a great place to start looking for support for loved ones of addicts, but if you don’t have one, try talking with facilitators of local Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous groups. You can even check with area substance abuse treatment facilities. Not sure how to find them? SAMHSA provides a handy online locator.