alcohol use disorder

Telling Your Loved Ones That You’re Struggling With Addiction

For most people, addiction is often a secret, personal burden. The old adage that “admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery” certainly carries weight. But for most, admitting the problem means that the years of trying to show that they had control of their unmanageable lives is then exposed. Once you are able to take that first step in admitting you have an addiction to either alcohol or drugs, the next difficult step is telling your family.

Revealing it to friends and family can be tricky. Most people are mortified at the thought of being labelled an ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic’ – especially by their loved ones. But figuring out how to tell them is an important step in recovery, and the news that you are confronting your addiction can actually come as a relief. 

In reality, those close to you often already know.  People struggling with addiction tend to be secretive about their behaviour, but it’s unlikely that no one has noticed, especially those closest to you. Still, it may be hard to bring up this sensitive topic.

Here are four helpful things to consider when approaching the subject with your loved ones:

Be Honest

Being honest about your addiction and the way you are feeling will go a long way in helping them understand what you are going through. If you are unsure whether you even have a substance abuse issue, tell them that. You can simply say something like ‘I’ve been drinking too much and I’ve tried to stop but I can’t’.  Listening to their concerns may also help to put things into perspective. Just as you want to feel heard and understood, they want the same thing too. 

Prepare for negative reactions

Alongside the many myths associated with substance abuse, many people still don’t understand the science behind addiction. It may be helpful to remind your family that addiction is a chronic illness and not a choice.

It’s also possible that you may have hurt some of the people you love during your active use, and there can sometimes be underlying feelings of resentment. It can be very beneficial for family members to seek support for themselves, and many counsellors offer support services for the families of those affected by addiction.

Take Responsibility

Being accountable can go a long way toward getting your family in your corner. Although you may blame some people in your family for your addiction, this is probably not the time to work through those issues, and it shouldn’t be a priority. 

Ask for help from a counsellor 

If you’re worried about the way that your family may react, it will be beneficial to speak to an experienced counsellor beforehand. They will be able to advise you on how to best broach the subject for your particular situation. This can help you to feel more comfortable and confident when speaking to your family. It can be helpful to have them on standby to provide factual information about alcoholism and drug addiction.

Recovery852’s Grant Sanders has over fifteen years of experience and over 3,000 hours of clinical experience working in addiction recovery. Recovery852 assists individuals and families struggling with addiction and other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, don’t delay. Contact us now.

Leave a Comment