The following testimonials are from members of Co-Anon Family Groups UK & Eire,
about how Co-Anon has helped them.
I found Co Anon after my loved one relapsed shortly after leaving rehab. I was at my wits' end as felt I had tried everything to get them to stop drinking. I came to meetings expecting to be told how to fix the addict for once and for all. I soon came to learn that this was an impossible responsibility I was putting on myself and that no one could help the addict, but the addict themselves.
Initially I wondered what the point of attending was if I wasn't going to be told how to stop the addict from doing what they were doing but I kept coming back as found a sense of comfort in the rooms. Meetings not only helped me to realise that I was no longer alone and that there is an army of people out there who 'get it' and understand without judgement what I was going through, but they also helped me to understand more about the disease of addiction and how I too was affected. I was very much at my rock bottom long before my loved one reached theirs. I needed to shift my focus.
Through the meetings I found a sponsor and started working the steps. I thought the steps were just for the addict initially but they have helped me to completely turn my life around and change my way of thinking. They say in the meetings that changed attitudes aid recovery. My changed attitude has not only helped me but it has also helped my loved one as when I stepped back and stopped interfering in every aspect of their life, they were able to step up.
Looking back to my life before, I felt angry, frustrated and lonely a lot of the time. Now, I know I can live a happy and fulfilling life regardless of what the addict is doing and I know what a sense of relief it gives when I keep the focus on my recovery instead of theirs.
I came to Co-Anon broken. My dad is an alcoholic and has been for 15 years.
I started on the Co-Anon zoom on a Tuesday night. I was worried in case people didn't understand what I was going through, but everyone welcomed me with open arms and no judgements. I started going to the meeting every Tuesday night and I would pick up something that someone said that would help me.
I started realising that this programme was for me, and there was hope that I could get better and improve my daily life.
I started the 12 steps after a year. I was scared to do them as I was in so much pain from my alcoholic.
It doesn't just affect 1 person in the family it can affect up to 10. It started to affect my partner and my son because I was in so much pain.
My alcoholic hasn't found recovery but I have and I'm loving every day of my life. I owe everything to Co-Anon and the people within the programme, they are all so amazing and supportive.
I owe my life to Co-Anon and I'm so grateful to have found this programme every day.
I am so grateful for Co-Anon. Before finding support for myself, life was unmanageable. I was always worrying about my husband. I was worrying if he had slept enough, eaten properly, turned up to work on time, 'is he using?', 'is he lying?'. I would constantly ask him questions which would end up in confrontation as he was covering up his addiction leaving me feeling betrayed and resentful. I felt lonely and afraid; constantly worrying about the future and what might happen.
After finding the support for myself I soon learnt that I was powerless over my husband’s addiction and that I needed to have some compassion for myself. One day at a time I started looking after my needs. After attending the face to face meetings and zoom meetings and receiving amazing support from people that understood my situation I finally began to grow.
Today I have compassion, understanding and patience for my husband and our relationship is better than ever. There is hardly any arguments I listen rather than react. I look after myself and put my mental health first. I will be forever grateful for the kindness of the people in the Co-Anon group, without them I would have continued being lonely, frustrated and obsessively thinking about how to fix my addict.
- Jo S
I came to Co-Anon because I had nowhere else to go. I had tried doctors, therapy and the mental health services. The addict was in denial, the money was running out, their health was at the point they were a regular visitor to A&E.
But the really bad bit: my health, physical and mental, were the worst they have ever been and I don't do drugs. My life was falling apart and I couldn't stop it.
I went to Co-Anon looking for the answer to how to stop an addict from using. I wanted that person back from this hell hole. It was suggested to try 6 meetings, and by the 6th meeting I had found somewhere safe to talk and people that understood. They didn't tell me what to do, they shared their feelings and thoughts. Now I know it to be their experience, strength and hope.
My life is so different; no more a living hell but it has balance, serenity and unconditional love.
I am a very grateful Co-Anon member. This programme and the people in it have saved me in more ways than one. They gave me a place in the world where I belonged with no judgment of me or my husband's addictions and what I didn’t expect was for everyone to give me a sense of being and help me become a better person.
We’re all very different people in the programme but with similar stories. We don’t look at how different we are, we look for the similarities and they’re never hard to find.
Before joining the programme, I focussed all of my attention on my husband and his addictions, wondering where he was, if he was using, lying for him to friends and family when he did use, paying off debts for him, even booking doctors appointments for depression prior to my knowledge of his addiction.
I found myself losing control by trying to control him and his addictions. In addition to this, I had struggled all my life with finding my place in world, I struggled with life and I struggled with how others affected me, my mood and my thoughts. I was a crazy person fuelled by fear and anxiety by the time I found Co-Anon.
Since joining Co-Anon only 5 months ago, I have found a place where I am loved and accepted with the best people I have ever met in my life. More importantly I have found a place where I can focus on me and find inner peace and self acceptance, regardless of other people's actions. I owe Co-Anon my life and will spend my life giving service to a programme that served me and continues to serve me.
I joined Co-Anon over 1 year into my husband's recovery from addiction to cocaine and alchohol. Because he had already found sobriety, was working his 12 step program and getting well with Cocaine Anonymous I thought I was fine. I was no longer fearful of what might happen each day. I went to a weekend CA convention with him and was bowled over by the love, support and joy people there showed for each other. A lot of these people were strangers but had one thing in common... addiction.
I joined Co-Anon to see if there was something that would make me feel better than 'fine'. This group of strangers and I had one thing in common... loving an addict. It was the best decision I have ever made!
I thought I was ok, my husband wasn't using so why did I need to look at myself? The 'fine' that I felt wasn't fine at all. The coping strategies that I had while my husband was using were still how I lived my life. I wasn't living, I was existing. Finding a group of people who didn't judge and were there for ME was amazing. His recovery was no longer in charge of me. I realised that I needed to find myself again. So much of my life had been about him, when he was using and when he was in recovery.
I found a sponsor, worked the 12 steps and found me again. I found an amazing group of people who not only have an addicted person in common but who had been trying to deal with all that that brings in similar ways. We are all so different and yet all the same. The experience, strength and hope that these wonderful people shared with eachother has opened my eyes to a much healthier way to live my life. My mental state is no longer in coping mode. I have worked through problems that I had before I even met my husband. I have found ways to deal with things and no longer put my head in the sand and say it's fine!
I can talk about anything with them because judgement has no place in Co-Anon. The things I have experienced have been experienced by others. I feel no shame, embarrassment or fear and can talk about any issue.
The love and support is always there and can be felt every minute of every day.
I am truly grateful to have found Co-Anon.
My name is Sue - Rob’s mum or 'mother' as he called me & I am a grateful member of Co-Anon. This is my story.
Rob had a normal childhood surrounded by a loving family & friends. He played sport, ran for the school cross country team, played rugby for his local club & Yorkshire schools. He got into the usual scrapes, drinking sessions & fights which I expected for a teenager & thought he would grow out of. In hindsight I was very naive & gullible, believing everything more or less he told me. I was his mum, why wouldn’t I? I also realise I wanted to believe him.
Rob left school and trained as a plumber but was never content, always looking for something better. He became unreliable: not turning up on a Monday after a heavy weekend, moody, argumentative with the older guys. He was eventually sacked & then went onto many more jobs in the different trades, always working hard & often long hours - when present.
Rob was portrayed as the joker when out socially; always up for a laugh, the leader and a very good-looking jack-the-lad type character. Always popular especially with the females. Not many knew the real Rob, who was insecure & struggled with anxiety, never thinking he was good enough, the black sheep of the family. His motto was ‘I will have a few beers before I go out!! That will help…’
I helped him get jobs, paid his bills, bought him a car so he could get to work. He started off by living in my house with his sister. I didn’t charge any rent & couldn’t understand where all his money was going. The number of people he brought back and the lack of respect he showed to her & me was frightening.
The doubts which were at the back of my mind became a reality. The drinking had moved onto drugs and the nightmare began - or should I say continued. He was out of control; moved from job to job never lasting more than 3 months. He would be out of touch for 4 days at a time.
The worry, stress, pain & anxiety this then caused me for the next 10 years. The fear of what was next! Expecting a call from the police, hospitals, would I find him in a ditch? Stabbed? Robbed? The worry of dealers finding out where myself or family lived - fear being the one constant. I didn’t understand where had I gone wrong - how could I fix him? I tried everything I could to no avail. Rob ended up on the streets. How had this happened to my beautiful little boy? It broke my heart. I still paid for him to go into a hostel - of course I did!
This was not the answer as I found out. Rob said he was at his rock bottom, desperate to sort himself out. I found a rehab & took him there, bought food etc. Rob went in & out of there a few times, eventually sorting it out himself, plus moving to another rehab where he started the 12 steps programme with CA. He reached Step 9 and I had hope again; he never completed his steps however talked about the concept a lot.
Rob gave me an amazing gift, which was introducing me to a support group for friends & family – Co-Anon. This was a life saver for me, I met people who understood the illness of addiction. I worked the 12 step program for myself which continues to give me strength & understanding, plus the ability to help others.
Rob & I had a close, open & honest relationship because of this. I could start to understand the demons on his shoulder. Rob, myself and all the family thought we had time to get my Rob back.
I found him deceased on the 22nd March 2023 on his bed, in his first ever flat of his own. This was the day before his 36th birthday. He died of a heart attack brought on by consistent use of cocaine over time. We never knew this was such a massive killer in young people under 40.
Don’t think you have time - get help now, it is out there.
RIP Rob, loved forever.
In the spirit of Tradition Six, Co-Anon Family Groups is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution.