“You Don’t Get That from Professionals”: A Consumer-Led Peer Recovery Program for Families and Friends of Individuals with Alcohol and Other Drugs Use Issues in Darwin

Noemi Tari-Keresztes, Noelene Armstrong, James A. Smith, Himanshu Gupta, Sam Goding, Sal Amanda Endemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

While there has been a reduction in alcohol consumption among Australians aged 18 years and above, about 25% of people still drink above the recommended limit. The use of alcohol and other drugs is a substantial issue in the Northern Territory; however, there have been significant investments in alcohol reforms over the past few years. This paper reports on a pilot study that involved co-designing, implementing, and evaluating the Circles of Support consumer-led recovery and empowerment program for families and friends of individuals with alcohol and other drugs use issues. The evaluation comprised a mixed-methods approach; however, this article only presents the qualitative component (n = 7). Interview data were thematically analysed, and four main themes were identified: (1) the value of a peer-to-peer approach; (2) facing challenges and distress; (3) adopting self-care strategies; and (4) the development of valuable skills. Participants enjoyed the program content and learning. This involved self-care and communication strategies, boundary setting, service navigation, the concept of post-traumatic growth, the circles of control, and the stages of change model for families. Our findings strongly support the scaling up of the program in Darwin and other locations across the Northern Territory and future program adaptation for different vulnerable target audiences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5514
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • alcohol and other drugs
  • empowerment
  • families and friends
  • peer support
  • personal recovery

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