A NEW program is aiming to “break the dance of addiction” south-west families experience all too often.

The Family Drug Help program, a collaboration between drug and alcohol services Western Region Alcohol and Drug centre (WRAD) and Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC), takes a whole family approach and aims to equip the relatives of those with addiction with skills to break the cycle which often develops.

SHARC facilitator Angela Ireland said the program had been a huge success in Melbourne. She said family members of addicts often face guilt, fear and worry and their health suffers because of it.

“They often shutdown, disconnect and cover up the drug use because they feel ashamed or guilty,” she said.

“But all that does is enable the drug use to continue. We call it the dance of addiction, it’s the same steps over and over again.

“The aim of this program is to provide family members with different dance steps.”

Ms Ireland said family members will often play the role of persecutor, victim and rescuer, but the program will help them change to positive roles like challenger and enable them to support change.

“It helps develop positive strategies, to implement boundaries, the power of effective communication and how to manage guilt, worry and fear,” she said. “There is an initial session and then we have ongoing follow-up sessions to support family members though the process.”

WRAD’s Angela Alexander said all Warrnambool services were on board and hoped people would register their interest in the free program.

The program will begin in Warrnambool on April 17 between 6pm and 8pm with a second session planned for April 18 from 10am to 4.30pm.

– Warrnambool Standard