Aims: To identify affected family members' (AFMs) experiences of barriers and facilitators to informal and formal help-seeking for themselves and on behalf of a close relative with alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse. Methods: Qualitative study, informed by interpretative phenomenological analysis. Semi-structured, audio-recorded, telephone interviews were used to collect data from 31 AFMs. Results: AFMs experienced several overlapping and at times competing help-seeking obstacles and enablers in accessing informal and formal support for themselves and on behalf of their relative with AOD misuse, and these are reflected in two themes and associated sub-themes: barriers to help-seeking and facilitators to help-seeking. Five help-seeking barriers were abstracted from the data: Stigma discourages help-seeking, Difficulty locating informal and formal support services, Previous negative AOD service help-seeking experiences deter subsequent help-seeking, Hopelessness inhibits help-seeking, and Feeling undervalued as an AFM. Three help-seeking facilitators were abstracted from the data: Previous positive help-seeking experiences increase future help-seeking, Overcoming shame and isolation and being open with trusted significant others, and Persevering in help-seeking. Conclusions: AFMs who access informal and formal help sources for themselves, and on behalf of their relative, are more likely to sustain their important support-giving role. Measures to strengthen AFMs' capacity and willingness to support their relative should be founded on an understanding of factors that affect their own help-seeking in addition to those encountered when help-seeking on behalf of their relative. Our findings have implications for the visibility of AOD services and informal support groups on the Internet, organisational culture of some AOD services, valuing the contributions of AFMs, and protecting AFMs and their relatives' privacy. Our findings also have implications for reducing public stigma of AOD misuse, changing some AFMs' scepticism about treatment outcomes, and reinforcing and enhancing AFMs' skills in persevering with help-seeking.