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How to Tell Your Family You Have an Addiction

woman finding hard how to tell her addiction

The large majority of people who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol do not need to tell their families that they have a substance use disorder. That is because family members of an addict typically bear witness to the effects that addiction has caused. But, in some cases, a person can be an addict without their families knowing. Some addicts do not live near their families while others do a superb job hiding their addiction, making it easy for their families to not be aware of what they are going through. Some might even be able to pass their substance abuse off as recreational, especially if they are a functional addict. Regardless of why an addict’s family does not know they have an addiction, it is imperative to inform them for the sake and wellbeing of all involved. 

If you have an addiction, your family needs to know. Not telling them perpetuates a relationship of dishonesty and mistrust, as well as hurts your loved ones. You might be wondering how to tell your family you have an addiction. You might be anxious, scared, or overwhelmed by the thought of opening up this part of your life up to them. You might be worried that your family will disown you or force you to do things you are not ready to do, such as go to treatment or move closer to home. But, telling your family you have an addiction is a vital step in your wellbeing, as it is a positive step in your hopeful and eventual recovery. 

Telling Your Family You Have an Addiction 

Telling your family about your addiction might be the last thing you want to do, and understandably so. But, continuing on with a deadly disease without letting your family know the extent of it is a recipe for disaster. You do not need to add more stress and upset to your current situation by keeping this information from them. If you are ready to tell your family about your addiction, consider the following. 

Be cognizant of timing

You want to tell your family about your addiction at a time when they will be most receptive to it. If your family has no idea that you are an addict, then you will want to consider a few things prior to having this conversation with them. For example, do not talk with them when they are already overwhelmed by something in their lives or when they are in a hurry to go somewhere. Try to nail down a time where things are more status-quo and your family has free time to process everything. 

Be sober 

No matter if you are seeing your family in person, talking to them on the phone, or even writing them a letter, make sure you are sober. Even if your family already knows that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, being under the influence will not make this conversation productive. You want to be as sober as possible so that you can talk tactfully with your family. You do not want to be in a place where your inhibitions are lowered, especially if someone in your family experiences a bad reaction to the news of your addiction. As difficult as your addiction is for you, remember that it is just as difficult for your family. 

Tell the truth 

If you have never talked directly with your family about your addiction, they are going to have a hard time trusting what you are saying. That is because you have either kept your addiction from them completely or you have never publicly acknowledged that you have a problem. So, be prepared to answer all of your family’s questions openly and honestly. Now is not the time to hide your addiction, rather be vulnerable so that your loved ones can be informed and included as a source of support in the future.

Bring a support person with you 

When you speak with your family about your addiction, bring someone with you that can be of support and comfort to you. Do not bring along a person who has tension with the family or who is under the influence. You may confide in an aunt, uncle, or family friend prior to speaking with your family so that they can be there on your side when you have this conversation. This can make the process of telling your family you have an addiction easier, as you have someone with you who can help you get this extremely important message out. 

Be prepared to apologize 

Keeping your addiction from your family is completely understandable. You don’t want to hurt them or have them worry about you. And while your intentions may have been good, it is critical to recognize that your withholding of this information will hurt those you love in some way, shape, or form. So, be prepared to apologize to your family when you have this conversation. Do not allow your ego to stand in between your message and your goal. 

Know that when you tell your family you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, that you cannot control their reactions. The only thing you can do is attempt to be as mindful as possible regarding how to share this news with them. Prepare yourself for some family members to be upset and for some to even be angry. Allow them to have the feelings they have, but remain calm and kind. This isn’t easy for anyone involved, so remember to be as thoughtful as possible. 

Orange County Drug Rehab

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, know that you are not alone. We know that the next best step you can take is reaching out and asking for help. At Asana, we offer top-of-the-line care for addictions to all types of mind-altering substances. 

So, do not wait one more second. Call Asana Recovery right now to learn more about how we can help you.