Telling Your Family You Have an Addiction Problem
The day that you find yourself actually having to admit that you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol is likely a day that is overwhelming and frightening. As addicts, we work so very hard to try and hide our addiction.
We work especially hard to hide it from the people we love and admire. These people are usually our family members. So how do you find the right words to look them in the eyes and tell them something that you know is going to break their hearts?
A Good Chance They Already Know
The truth of the matter is that if you have been in contact with your family members on any sort of regular basis during your addiction, they more than likely already know you have a problem with addiction. As addicts, we often think we are doing a real bang-up job at hiding our disease from the people we care about the most. In reality, we aren’t doing a good job at all.
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Addiction is a disease that can only be hidden for so long, and then the signs become absolutely impossible to cover up. Anyone who knew you before addiction took control of your life already knows that something is terribly wrong. It may take them a little bit of time to figure it out, but they eventually put the pieces together.
When you begin to come up with what you want to say to your family, it’s probably best to assume that they already know you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. When you stop to think about it, it is likely they have even attempted to talk to you about your addiction in the past. Don’t insult their intelligence by denying how long you have been trying to cover your tracks. Be honest with them, and they will be more receptive to the conversation.
While the conversation that you will need to have with your family will no doubt be an emotional one, you need to take the time beforehand to plan what you really want to say. You need to have a rational blueprint of sorts. The reason for this “blueprint” is so you can be sure to say what needs to be said, not what just ends up coming out of your mouth in reaction to emotions like pain or anger.
Getting Needed Addiction Treatment
The most important part of the conversation with your family will be the part where you tell them what you are going to do to help yourself. No doubt, you will want to tell them how sorry you are for any hurt you caused them (and they do need to hear you say that you are sorry), but you should also have some information to share with them about getting into an addiction treatment program.
You need to explain to them that you are ready and willing to acknowledge your addiction today. More importantly, you need to share with them that you are ready and eager to enter into an addiction treatment program. You may not have all the answers to give them about where or when you will enter into an addiction treatment center, and that’s okay. All you need to convey is that you are ready to do what needs to be done in order to get your life back. That is a great first step.
Your family may be upset with some of the things you have done during your struggle with addiction, but they will always love you. Family is forever, and they ultimately want to see you in recovery. The conversation you have with them to admit you are an addict may be a difficult discussion, but it is one that you have to face.
Once your loved ones see you are being honest and humble, they will be more than willing to help you through your drug rehab program and provide you with a great support system during your addiction treatment. Once you have this conversation with your family, you will be surprised how much weight is lifted off your shoulders, and how much more ready you’ll feel to begin your recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please call us at (866) 339-3544 or submit the form below to learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Los Angeles.
Contributed by Nikki Seay.
Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from substance abuse, dual diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.