Anne Sinnott and I travelled to Newcastle in the UK for the first Addiction and Family International Network conference.
The AFINetwork is interested in promoting, through research, practice and policy, the well-being of family members, friends and colleagues who are affected by and concerned about another person’s addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
They believe that family members and others who are affected by addiction in their families receive far less attention than they deserve.
They believe their experiences need to be better publicised and their voices better heard.
Families have a vital role to play in understanding and responding to addiction and have a right to receive appropriate services themselves.
The five core aims at the centre of the AFINet philosophy are:
- To disseminate internationally a non-pathological, family member-centred model of the circumstances and needs of family members affected by their relatives’ addictions.
- To promote research about the experiences of family members affected by their relatives’ addictions around the world.
- To promote good, evidence-based prevention and treatment practice relevant to the needs of affected family members.
- To advocate with policy makers, including international organisations and national governments, for greater awareness of the circumstances and needs of family members affected by their relatives’ addictions and for better services for them.
- To raise awareness at a global level of the needs of families affected by addiction
The Addiction and the Family International Network consists of a number of academics and practitioners who collaborate on undertaking research and in attempting to raise the profile of this neglected area of research and practice.
Around the world there are over one hundred million families significantly harmed by their family member’s addiction issues. Families need help in their own right and also play a huge role in the recognition and treatment of addiction.
There were 65 people who attended the conference from 27 countries. It was fantastic for us to meet Richard and Gill Vellerman, Jim Orford and Lorna Templeton.
We learnt about the 5 step model and were privileged to hear many presentations and be involved in asking questions and discussions.
We discussed bringing a trainer to Melbourne to train our clinicians at APOD Family Support in the 5 step model.
The website is http://www.afinetwork.info if you would like to see the books, published and unpublished papers or become a free member.
I am very thankful for this experience.