Addiction is a disease that isolates you. If you struggle with addiction, you most likely don’t even want to think of the words associated with it. “addict,” “alcoholic” and “drug user” are terms that the public does not find very respectable. Even having “substance use disorder” sounds bad.
Feeling like admitting to these things or phrases, life can seem to be crashing down around you. Nobody likes to admit complete defeat. Admitting you have a problem, to yourself and others, could mean the years of attempting to show how to control an unmanageable life would be brought to light.
After you accept what is happening, some may want to figure out how to tell friends, family, and loved ones about their addiction. Here are tips and supportive ways to bring about openness, honesty, and vulnerability.
How to ask for help and support
Telling your friends and family that you’re an addict or have drinking or drug problems is the first step. Regardless of whether they are your biggest fans or your harshest critics, your family and friends want to support you despite any criticism they may have.
Your loved ones are the best people to ask for help if you need it with your addiction, but it may be difficult to broach such a sensitive subject. Taking the subject up with loved ones involves a few things to consider.
When you are addicted to drugs, you are more inclined to tell lies, deceive, and take desperate measures you would not otherwise take. You should tell your family and friends if you are confused or unsure about whether you have an addiction problem. Describe what you’ve been experiencing and how you’ve been feeling. Explain your situation to them with honesty.
2. Make it clear that you want help
Bringing your research into the conversation is helpful if you’ve already looked into the help that is available. Describe how you would like help and if you have any options in mind.
If you have no idea what your next steps should be, ask your friends and family if they can help you research what you should do. You can search for addiction treatment centers, 12-step groups, or therapists with them.
3. Be open about why you want help
You may wish to explain to your loved ones why now is the right time to seek help and why you made this decision. This is your opportunity to be open and honest about how you got to this point and what you see yourself doing in the future.
4. Ask for help and support
You can also ask your family and friends for help if you are struggling with addiction. Inform them if you would like their guidance, advice, or any other action. As you navigate life’s journey, let them know how much their love and support mean to you. Share with them the importance of their support while you are there and after you get out of the treatment center if you’ve already decided to go to one.
5. Take steps to prepare for resistance
Your active substance use may have hurt some of your loved ones. There are still some people who don’t understand or believe addiction is a disease, and they may not believe you if you say you want to get sober. Their reactions can be skeptical, angry, and defensive. You should be prepared for this so that you can remain focused on your goals. Take the time to understand their feelings.
6. You shouldn’t feel ashamed
Break the news to your loved ones without shame, whether you’re new to this or have already sought help, or been sober for a while. Make changes in your life and be proud of how you tackled your addiction. You can explain who you are, what you’ve experienced, and where you are going to your loved ones if you accept who you are.
Addiction resources for families
Help your loved ones understand substance use disorders by bringing resources with you, especially if this is the first time they are experiencing addiction. They may believe myths they’ve heard about the disease if they are not familiar with it.
An excellent resource for families of addicts is The National Institute on Drug Abuse, which can answer questions like:
- Is it possible for some people to quit drugs on their own?
- Drugs and alcohol can be addicting for anyone?
- When it comes to quitting drugs, why is it so difficult?
- Would it be possible to help a friend or family member find a treatment center?
- In a treatment center, what should I look for?
- How does treatment work and how much does it cost?
Your family will benefit if you seek out factual information about alcoholism and drug abuse. You’ll teach them that it’s a brain disease that needs treatment.
They may, however, need your support just as much as you do. If they are family members or friends of someone in recovery, you might suggest they attend a support group. In this place, other people undergoing the same challenges can share their experiences, provide advice, and offer hope. Perhaps a family session or a session with a therapist would be helpful. You are not alone in this journey.
Telling your family, friends, and loved ones that you struggle with addiction can be scary, daunting, and difficult.
Get Help Today
Acknowledging your problem is the first step on the road to recovery – a road that should be accompanied by support from family, friends, and coworkers. You and your loved ones have access to a variety of resources that will help you understand the process of addiction and recovery.