Nobody starts using drugs hoping to become an completely addicted. But that’s exactly what happens for millions of people each and every day.
According to the United States Surgeon General, one in seven individuals currently or will suffer from addiction at some point in their lifetime.
But what happens when those individuals want to quit? Hitting rock bottom in and of itself is difficult, but telling those you love the truth about your addiction can be difficult if not downright terrifying endeavor.
Though admitting that you’re addicted isn’t easy, it’s a necessary step toward your recovery that cannot be avoided.
If you’re nervous about the process, keep reading. We’re exploring the dynamic of addiction and family and offering some tips on how you can tell your loved ones you need help.
Admit It To Yourself
The first step is often the hardest. Before you come up with a way to tell your friends and family about your addiction, you’ll first need to acknowledge that you, indeed, have an addiction problem.
For some, that means taking a hard look in the mirror. For others, it means legal issues, debt, or strained relationships with family. Whatever the case, admitting it to yourself can be as difficult as admitting it to your family.
But in both circumstances, it’s crucial that you’re honest with yourself. There’s no shame in suffering from addiction, it’s a disease after all.
The Importance Of Overcoming Addiction And Family Support
Addiction is quite different from your run of the mill disease, as it tends to isolate us from those we love. As a result, you may feel that you might not have any family or friends left to count on and like your struggles aren’t worth mentioning.
But this lie is nothing more than a vicious part of addiction. As you begin to develop an addiction, you’ll ultimately experience what experts refer to as an attachment anxiety to their substance of choice.
The more you use the substance, the more it becomes a crutch for you. When you’re feeling sad, anxious, angry, or stressed, you know you can turn to your substance of choice to feel better.
When that crutch is gone, you’ll need the support of your friends and family. It might not seem like approaching your loved ones is worth it, but remember that they care about you.
How To Tell Your Loved Ones You’re Suffering
Now that we have a better understanding of the initial steps you’ll need to take, as well as why it’s worth telling your loved ones about your addiction, let’s get to the hard stuff.
Find The Right Time
In all honesty, finding the “right” time to tell someone you’re struggling with addiction doesn’t exist. Moreover, if you’re not careful, telling yourself, ‘It’s just not the right time’ is a quick way to excuse not confessing to your loved ones.
However, some instances make more sense than others. You’ll want to find a quiet, private moment where you and your loved ones can be alone.
Large family gatherings, public spaces, and holidays are best avoided if at all possible. The smaller and more intimate the gathering, the less pressure you’ll all feel.
Rehearse What You Want To Say
Admitting you have a problem is already tough enough, but finding the right words to convey your feelings can feel nearly impossible. A good way to make sure you don’t get tongue-tied is to think about what you’ll say ahead of time.
If it helps, open up a new document on your phone or computer and start pouring your heart out. Don’t self-edit, either. Make your confession as honest and open as possible. Once you’re finished, take a break to give yourself some distance.
Once you’re ready to return, take the general ideas of your confession and think about how you’ll convey your feelings to your loved ones.
There’s nothing wrong with reading off of your written confession, either. Do whatever you need to do to get your story out to your family.
Prepare For The Worst, Hope For The Best
A lot of those battling addiction refuse to tell their family because of how their loved ones may react. While that’s understandable, things can’t get better if you don’t at least attempt to explain your struggles to your family.
Prepare for a whole lot of emotion — not all positive, either.
There will likely be quite a few tears shed, expletives shouted, and, in particularly good circumstances, a few hugs and ‘I love yous’ shared.
No matter what happens, it’s important that you, as the one fighting addiction, stand your ground.
Even if their reactions are hurtful, understand the power in admitting your problem and think of how it frees you.
Let Your Loved Ones Ask Questions
There are so many misconceptions about what addiction is and isn’t. Often, these are perpetuated by pop culture. As a result, your family may not know how to react at all.
Let them know you’d love to answer any questions they may have about your addiction. Not only will this help develop a dialogue between yourself and your family, but it’ll help your family better understand your disease.
Have A Treatment Plan In Place
If you’re admitting you have a problem to your friends and family, there’s a good chance you’re considering treatment options. Before talking with your family, have a few treatments options in place.
Be sure to mention your interest in treatment to your family, as well. They may have additional resources that could help or may know of some great facilities.
Final Thoughts And Addiction And Family
Talking about addiction and family can be difficult, whether you’re the one suffering or a family member. But the fact of the matter is that the sooner we end the stigma, the sooner we can normalize treatment.
These conversations do need to happen, and we hope this guide helped you.
If you or a loved one have an interest in receiving help for an addiction, please feel free to reach out. We understand that everyone’s addiction is different, so let us help you find the right treatment plan for your needs.