Family Support

Substance abuse support for the Families

Often when we talk about substance misuse, we focus on how this has an impact on the person abusing the substance. However, here at footsteps we understand the impact substance misuse has on the family and friends that surround the loved one. Families become broken and hurt, they are confused and unsure how to support the person they love most, feeling as if they are watching them slowly deteriorate. This affects all family members in different ways but usually has a more severe impact on younger members of the family. Despite all efforts to protect young children within the family they still feel and see what adults do and still need intense support to help them through. This is why Footsteps works with children from the age of 4 years old through to Grandparents.

Our aim is to work with both families as a whole and the individual family members to promote positive change, resilience, gain the tools to manage the situation and breakdown the associated stigma around substance misuse. We know that there is no quick fix when it comes to substance misuse and addiction and understand that often support is needed for a long period of time. Especially when the Loved one is not ready to change their behavior. Even if recovery is achieved there is still the ongoing impact of the challenges faced by the family.

What can Footsteps do for you?

Footsteps approach each family and their circumstances differently as we know not one approach fits all. All of our staff and volunteers are ready to listen to your situation in a friendly and confidential environment. You can discuss your fears and concerns about drug or alcohol use and the impact it has on you. We will aim to tailor our support to meet your needs through:

  • Counselling-
  • Home visits
  • 1-1 support
  • Family support
  • Respite days
  • Wellbeing groups
  • M-PACT Program – see information below.

How can M-PACT help your family?

M-PACT sessions are available to families that meet the criteria listed below. If you think that M-PACT could help your family to cope with drug/alcohol misuse, then please make contact with us.


  • One or both parents have suffered or are suffering from problems with alcohol or drugs
  • Have children between the ages of 8-17 (although sometimes younger children will be considered)
  • Those attending M-PACT sessions must be free from all mood-altering substances* for each session

M-PACT is a programme that helps parents and children, aged 8-17, talk more openly and safely about the effects of parental drug and/or alcohol misuse on the whole family and gives them new tools to move forward positively.

In order to take part in the programme, you will need to come for an initial meeting where you will find out more about M-PACT and we can answer any questions you might have.

After that, you will come together every week for 8 weeks with a number of families in similar circumstances.

“It made us realise how much we had kept from our child, how much we had hidden and not talked about”

The sessions provide a safe space to talk about difficult things and to learn how to cope better and move forward positively. Each week M-PACT can help your family become closer, more caring, understanding and supportive towards each other. Everyone is there to help improve their lives and the lives of the ones they love as well as have fun along the way.

M-PACT is run by people who understand how families are affected by drug and/or alcohol problems. They help make it possible for parents and children to understand each other better. Results show that families have a better understanding of addiction, are able to communicate positively, are more united,

safer and healthier as a result of attending M-PACT

“You won’t fight for yourself, but you’ll fight for your children....I want them to feel safe and secure, and therefore happy”

When is best to contact Footsteps for support?

The first step is often the hardest. Reaching out and asking for help can be daunting. Our trained staff and volunteers are on hand to try and ease some of this concern and understand the challenges you face. Once contact has been made, we will endeavor to carry out our initial assessment with you within 10 days so that we can get support started as soon as possible and assess your needs. We will then get you set up with 1-1 sessions, counselling if required and invite you into our wellbeing groups.

For those wanting to access our counselling service we aim to get this started within 6 weeks as soon as a counsellor becomes available. However often counselling will start much sooner than the 6 weeks.

For families who are wanting to work together and try to promote positive change in how they communicate we offer the M-PACT programme.

Make your decision

Now for the next step. If you do feel that you would like some support or would just like to speak with someone about your concerns please get in contact with us by calling us on out contact page or emailing your query.


Contact Form for Family, Young People and Substance User

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