Talking to Your Family About Your Addiction




Admitting addiction and talking about it to your family can be challenging. You may not know what to say and what to do afterwards. You may be afraid of their reactions and the repercussions.

Admitting addiction is never easy. The internal turmoil and the process of acceptance may have been tumultuous. Talking to your family members about it can be daunting as well. This is perhaps one of the many reasons why some people keep their addiction a secret. They may be afraid to speak up. However, doing so is a crucial step towards your journey to recovery.

Ask yourself: Do I have a problem?

Accepting that you have an addiction, whether it’s on drugs, alcohol, gambling, or certain other behaviors can make it easier to open up to trusted family members.

Acceptance is key. Once you let go of your denial, you can start paving the way for getting the help that you need.

If you are unaware if you really have an addiction, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you miss out on your responsibilities because you choose to use drugs or drink?
  • Do you find yourself hiding your activities related to drugs or alcohol?
  • Do you turn to these substances or certain behavior to cope?
  • Do you find that your activities are alienating your family or you’re distancing yourself from them?
  • Do you find yourself unable to control your substance use?
  • Do you find yourself doing more or consuming more than you originally intended?
  • Do you steal money or lie or find yourself betraying others because of this?
  • Do you spend more time being restless and thinking about when you will use or drink or do certain activities again?
  • Did other people express concerns over your activities?
  • Have you tried quitting but was unable to?

If you have answered yes to most or all of these questions, you may have a problem and would need professional help.

talking to your family about addiction

How do I tell my family?

Fear and anxiety can surround the idea of telling your family about your addiction. Perhaps you have tried reaching out before, but failed. However, being honest about your addiction can help you get the support you need, which is essential not just for overcoming addiction, but also having lasting recovery.

Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Choose the right place. Find the best time and place to do it, away from distractions. Make sure it’s also a safe and private place for you. You may talk to a trusted member first before talking to the rest of your family.
  2. Prepare what you’re going to say. Plan how you’re going to start the conversation. Make sure that you avoid blame-tossing. It helps to assess your own past behaviors so you can be prepared if they bring this up.
  3. Be honest. This is the most important part of all. Understand that you need help. You may be sorry for what you have done and what you have cost your family–own up to that as well. This may be a difficult conversation to have, but could be the most important one.
  4. Consider their side too. There’s a chance that your family members may have an idea. They may also get hurt, angry, or upset. Prepare for their questions. If you genuinely need their help, you will be honest. Consider their feelings as you share with them your struggles too.

What’s next?

Talking to your family about your addiction, it is clear that you can’t do it on your own. While you can try to go cold-turkey and turn your back from addiction without professional intervention, you may also consider your choices. Be open if your family suggests treatment as well.

Should you feel you need professional treatment, consider the program and the center that can best address your needs. This is crucial as well in your success as you navigate this next chapter in your life.

At Bridges of Hope, we work closely with family members to help their loved ones who are getting treated inside. We believe that the help and support of family members are important in sustaining life-long recovery.

Talk to us at Bridges of Hope to know more.

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