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Support from family and friends

You may find that family and friends can offer you all the support you need but that is not always the case. If you are feeling isolated and lonely, there are other organisations and sources of support that we would encourage you to get in touch with. The most important thing is not to suffer alone – support is out there for you.

Experiences of support from family and friends vary greatly. For many people who have been bereaved through a loved one’s drug or alcohol use, you may well find that friends and family offer you the best source of support, both practical and emotional.

For others, it may be harder to seek support from those around you – see our suggestions for other sources of support [link to Other sources of support below]. 

Sometimes support can come from really unexpected sources – perhaps someone we don’t know so well but who is really able to empathise.

And sometimes we surprise ourselves, finding an inner strength or resourcefulness we didn’t expect. That doesn’t mean we don’t ask others for support too. It’s a balance between finding our inner strength and not feeling like we have to do it all on our own.  

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take your friends and family up on their offers of help. Often they will really want to be able to do something to support you. 

  • Make sure you tell others what you need. Whether it’s some time on your own or wanting some company, help with practicalities or someone to just sit with you, it is important you focus on what you need. 
  • If you are someone who likes to support others, or that has always been your role in the family, you will probably want to be offering support to others. That’s fine, as it can really help you feel you are doing something useful as well, but make sure that you also allow others to support you. You need to be nourished and supported too.  
  • Don’t worry about upsetting other people. It’s OK to cry with others and let them know how you are really feeling. Sometimes, of course, you may want to put a brave face on everything but if we do this all the time we can end up bottling up our feelings and not letting people in to offer us support. 

Sometimes it can be really hard to know what we want. Here are some suggestions of what you might want to ask your friends: 

  • listen to you and comfort you 
  • help with practical jobs like shopping, cooking and housework 
  • accompany you or speak on your behalf if you are in contact with professionals like the police and the coroners office 
  • help you with organising the funeral 
  • help you to let other people know about your loss if you would prefer not to do it yourself 
  • very gradually and only as you feel ready, help you take part in activities that you enjoy, say going to the swimming pool, meeting up with friends, walking in the park
  • keep talking about the person who has died, if you want to be able to do so, no matter how long it is since they died 
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