How to Speak to Your Loved Ones About Your Addiction

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Facing an addiction is one of the most challenging first steps for anyone struggling with substance abuse. The road to recovery is difficult but you don’t have to do it alone. Speaking about your addiction with loved ones is a hurdle all in itself as you are letting yourself be vulnerable. But that should not let that deter you from opening up and being honest with those that you care about the most. Encouragement and support from family can help increase the chances of sobriety during recovery.

Honesty and Trust

Recovery not only requires honesty from yourself but honesty with others. Honesty is key when having a conversation about your addiction. Hiding details, lying and withholding information can prove to be more detrimental if they surface later. Doubt and betrayal could develop if found you are lying or withholding important information that family and loved ones should be aware of. Being honest with your loved ones about your addiction helps build trust as you are confiding in them of your addiction. This will allow your family and love ones to understand what you are struggling with and how they can help you during recovery.

Timing and Location

Choose a time and location that is appropriate for this conversation. This should be a private place where you and your loved ones can speak without any interruptions. You don’t want any distractions to prevent everyone involved not getting their turn to speak and expressing their feelings. And don’t rush this conversation minutes before another engagement as you’ll want to plan on discussing this for a couple of hours.

Mother talking to daughter about substance abuseWhat and How Much to Share

Plan on what you want and how much you want to say. Share basic information in the first conversation about your addiction is ideal so you don’t overwhelm them. Write down your thoughts in a letter or make a list of talking points to help you process how and what you want to say. Also, put yourself in their shoes and think about what types of questions or concerns they may have.

Some important information that can be shared:

  • What types of drugs or alcohol are you struggling with?
  • How long have you been struggling with addiction?
  • What are your triggers?
  • Have you been arrested or committed any crimes because of it?
  • Have you relapsed?
  • Are you seeking help or plan on receiving treatment?
  • What are your plans in getting help?
  • What can your family or loved ones do to help you through this?

After you have shared this information, allow everyone time to speak and time to process the information. Give everyone an opportunity to talk and listen to what they have to say. Be respectful, patient, and positive for any positive or negative reactions that will follow. This is a difficult conversation that can be overwhelming for some people. People might need time to digest and process all the information. Remain positive for whatever reaction you face and remind yourself that whatever the outcome, that it doesn’t reflect on yourself as a person. These are the first steps towards recovery and your path towards sobriety and healthier living.