Admitting Addiction to Loved Ones
Admitting addiction to loved ones is one of the most difficult things for an addict to do. In fact, admitting you have a problem can be hard for anyone. This is true when dealing with other people, of course, but some things are hard to admit even to yourself. Unfortunately, moving beyond denial is something we all have to confront, eventually. The problem just happens to be more stressful if you are suffering from a major issue like an addiction.
First, let’s be clear. There is no shame in addiction. But even knowing this, it’s difficult to tell our friends and family the truth. One way to get through this is to come up with a plan. Find the best way to tell the truth to your loved ones. With their support, recovery will be much easier than if you were to try it on your own.
You can reach out to us at (385)-327-7418. Nothing would make us happier than helping you figure out what the next steps are after admitting addiction—whether you need rehab treatment, therapy, or simple guidance, we are here for you.
Coming to Terms with Addiction
Getting through personal denial is one of the hardest parts of recovery. Admitting you have a problem is often described as the
“first step,” but facing the truth about your own behavior has to come even before that. Once you get beyond denial, you need to figure out how to tell your friends and family that you have an addiction problem. Doing this isn’t so easy either. It takes real strength.
Before preparing a plan around telling your family that you’re an addict, let’s look at how you make that determination.
What does it mean to have an addiction to a substance? What are the signs and symptoms? These are all important questions, and knowing the answer will help you explain the condition to your loved ones.
How It Starts
Drug addiction is a disease that affects your brain, making it almost impossible to control your substance abuse. Addictions often start from a place of curiosity. At some point, everyone wonders what it would be like to try a drug. We hear wild stories about people tripping or feeling happier than they have ever felt before. For some, this curiosity leads to experimentation.
In other cases, addiction is an accidental effect from prescribed medications such as opioids. We start taking the medication to deal with pain but end up continuing with it in order to keep feeling euphoric and calm. Even though the experience can be enjoyable, the results are often disastrous for our well-being. For this reason, admitting addiction is essential for physical and mental health.
Look for the Signs
Here are some common signs and symptoms of addiction:
- Having intense urges to use the drug
- Taking larger amounts than you intended
- Taking a drug for longer than you intended or for longer than prescribed
- Believing you need to use the drug regularly
- Being unable to stop using
- Failing to meet your normal responsibilities at work or at home
- Maintaining a supply or stockpile of the drug
- Continuing to use the drug even though using continues to cause problems
These are all signs of addiction. But remember, addiction is a disease. Substance abuse changes the physical chemistry of our brains. This change creates a feedback loop in the part of our brain responsible for rewarding behavior and creating habits. For addicts, simply quitting is a task of Herculean proportions. That’s why addiction often requires special treatment.
When you know this, admitting you have a problem becomes that much easier. Telling your family is only another step towards seeking help and recovery.
Revealing Your Addiction
Odds are, your family already has a hunch you are doing something dangerous. Addiction isn’t an easy disease to sneak past those who love and spend the most time with you. While they might not know these changes are the results of an addiction you’re dealing with, they will probably notice the changes in your mood or behaviors. They will notice you are sleeping more, staying out more, and being secretive. No matter what they know, or you think they know, the best thing is to be upfront and truthful about what you are going through.
The following are some helpful tips for coming out of the addiction closet.
Pick the Right Time
Whether you think you are an addict, or you merely suspect you might be, confronting your loved ones is better done sooner than later. The sooner you tell your friends and family, the sooner you get treatment, and the easier your road to recovery will be.
Finding the right place and time to discuss this information is important. Having this discussion in a restaurant or while at a show is not ideal. The best place is probably the privacy of your own home. Another excellent choice is a group session with your therapist—something our professionals would be more than happy to help you set up.
Be Emotionally Prepared
When you get ready to have this conversation, remember to take a few deep breaths, and settle your nerves (without the use of drugs or alcohol). Having a clear, sober mindset during this discussion is important. This will be an emotional conversation for everyone.
Do your best to remain calm if they respond by crying, yelling, or asking a million questions. It is very possible they will be overcome with emotion and not at their most rational. It is hard for anyone to process that someone they deeply care for is having such a serious problem.
Whether you have this conversation one time or multiple times, remember the importance of being honest and open. While those closest to you might be in shock and unsure what questions to ask, it is likely they will ask at least one question. Often the question focuses on “why” or “how.”
It will be helpful to explain to your friends and family what led you to try drugs or alcohol for the first time. Discuss how you felt and why you went back for a second time. Let them know if there was a traumatic or stressful event or peer pressure, that pushed you into substance use.
Show them you have done the legwork and you are serious about conquering your addiction. Explain your next steps and if you have a treatment plan in mind.
Preparing a list of questions you are expecting your family and friends to ask can be helpful. This not only helps you review your thoughts on the addiction but also means you will have talking points ready. This can help you stay focused and calm as you break the news to them.
Some questions might be:
- Have you tried to stop?
- When did this start?
- Why did you even try drugs?
- How did you get drugs?
- Are you sure you have an addiction problem?
- What is your plan?
- How can I help?
While being upfront and honest about your addiction problem is important, this does not mean you must answer every question or lose your right to privacy. Maybe there are some important details that need to remain private, especially if those details could devastate someone in the room. Simply tell them you aren’t ready to discuss that topic yet.
Admitting you have a problem is difficult, especially if it stems from the choices you made. If you do not think you are in the wrong, that is OK. However, when you tell your friends and family you have an addiction, it is important you do not put the blame on them. Telling someone they are at fault will only add tension to an emotionally charged situation.
Share Your Recovery Plans
Often, people will reveal their addiction without having a plan of attack in place. If this is the case, you can ask your family and friends for help putting a plan together. However, if you are reading this article, you are likely the kind of person who has treatment options already in mind.
Having a plan of attack ready to show your family will give you confidence. This plan also shows them your determination and sincerity in getting help and overcoming this problem.
What if My Family Isn’t Supportive?
In a perfect world, we would all have a family filled with supportive and understanding people. While this is the case for some people, it is not the case for everyone. If you’re feeling hesitant about admitting an addiction to your family, it might be best to start with the family member you’re closest to. This could be a sibling, a cousin, or one parent. For many people, having the conversation one-on-one for the first time is a good confidence booster for telling everyone else.
It is possible some family members will be supportive while others will not be. Often those who are not supportive have a tough time relating to the situation. They cannot understand why you would choose drugs and alcohol over other “approved” methods. It is important to not take their judgment of your situation as a judgment against you. While they may sound similar, your situation does not define you.
More importantly, this is not the time to focus on what others think of you. Now is the time to focus on you and your recovery. It is time to build or rebuild healthy relationships, to create your support system, and to find your way back to a healthy life.
How to Get Help
Remember, telling your family and friends of your addiction is taking a weight off your shoulders. You no longer have this dark secret to carry around.
Now that you have told those closest to you, it’s time to do the work and create a new, sober life. No two people thrive with the same plan, which is why we recommend that you call us for guidance. Our treatment experts know how to ask the right questions about you and your past, and how to find a treatment plan that will work for you and with you.
Thankfully, you don’t have to break the news on your own. Recovery is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you must recover alone. There will always be more support just a short call away. Read this article, plan out a strategy, and if you still have questions, call us for help at the number below. Now is the time to invest in yourself.
- How to Find a Rehab
- 3 Things You Need to Grow Well in Addiction Recovery
- Reconnecting with Friends and Family After Getting Out of Rehab
FIND HELP IMMEDIATELY WITH US TODAY!
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