How To Tell Your Family About Your Addiction

By Stacey Henry

Telling your family about your addiction is a brave and necessary step towards your recovery. Accepting that you have an addiction and being willing to share that information with your loved ones takes courage. Your family can be a great source of support for your recovery, but first, you have to tell them what is going on.

You do not have to go through your recovery alone, and you will have a much higher rate of success with a strong support system. There may be times when you have cravings or impulses to use, and family can help keep you on the sober track.

Tell the truth :
It is likely that your loved ones already know or suspect that you are struggling with addiction. They might have even brought it up to you or offered to help before. It is an important part of your recovery to admit you have a problem out loud. So even if your family already may know, go ahead and tell them the truth: you have an addiction problem. Be honest and tell your family that you recognise your problem and that it is affecting other aspects of your life. You do not have to share every single detail, but let them know that you understand how your addiction has negatively impacted your life and those around you.

Own your responsibility :
Once you have admitted your addiction, take responsibility for it. Do not blame the problems in your life or other people for your addiction. Treatment will help you identify and work through root causes and triggers of your addiction. The initial talk with your family is not the time to find these factors or assess blame. Instead of pointing fingers, admit that you made some bad choices and that you take responsibility.

At the same time, do not tolerate abuse from your family on this matter. If they react angrily and try to tell you all your failings and mistakes, then they are not in a place to be supportive of your recovery.

Apologize :
Substance abuse often causes problems, or at the very least distance, in any relationship. Now is a good time to apologize for anything you may have done as a result of your addiction that has negatively impacted your family. If you have been isolating yourself, acted aggressively under the influence, or stolen money for substances, it is time to confess and apologize.

Share your plan :
To show that you are serious about getting help for your addiction, share your plan for treatment. Tell them about the steps you plan to take or have already taken to get help. If you are at a place where you feel you cannot help yourself, ask for their help in coming up with a plan. Even if you have your own plan, some family members may be eager to help you research and find ways to get help. Let them do this as part of their own process. Any information they glean about addiction can only be helpful to you as part of your ongoing treatment.