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Support or withdraw? – the ambivalent position of people who have persons with drug abuse in the close family.

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Björn Andersson
Anette Skårner
Publicerad i Conference on social work research. Lund, School of Social Work: 23-24 May 2016
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk en
Ämnesord family, concerned others, problematic drug use, coping strategies
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Socialt arbete

Sammanfattning

The paper deals with how people experience and encounter a situation where they have close relatives with drug abuse. The empirical material consists of interviews with 13 persons who have been interviewed twice; so in all there are 26 interviews. The background is that the interviewees participated in a support group for relatives and the aim was to evaluate the outcome of the group sessions. That’s why there were two interviews made; one before and one after the sessions were completed. However, during the interviews there were lots of stories told about how drug problems in the family affected the everyday life and social relations of other family members, relatives and friends. It is these stories that form the basis of this paper. In general the interviewees described a social situation where the drug problems of their relatives had an overwhelming impact. Most of the participants were parents to the relative and they experienced that the problems were ever-present and inescapable. All their social relations, in the family, to other relatives, to friends and to colleagues, were influenced and, more or less, defined by the problematic situation. Some of the interviewed got functioning support from parts of their social network, but the most common reaction was that relatives and friends tended to withdraw from social contacts and avoid the awkward subject. The result was a feeling of being abandoned and alone with all difficult decisions. All of the interviewed had contacts with the social services and with support organizations. They did get some help from these contacts; however, it was often limited in scope. One advice they frequently had encountered was that they should withdraw from the relation to their relative and that their support was rather part of the problem. The term co-dependency was often used in connection to that. This advice left the interviewed in a confused state, since it to their experience was impossible to functionally dis-connect from their beloved relative and passively watch while he or she was sinking into inhuman life conditions.

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