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When It’s Time to Tell the Family About Your Addiction

By Brad Lamm, CIP

When It’s Time to Tell the Family About Your Addiction

Coming to terms with your addiction is the first step on the road to recovery. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to tell your loved ones what’s been happening. Although it’s not something we look forward to, following these guidelines will help you accomplish the next step as smoothly as possible.

Write it Down: It’s not going to be easy, so do yourself a favor and put pen to paper to work out what you want to tell them. This will help you stay on track when things get emotional.

Get Honest: Thinking about the ways in which your addiction has hurt your family and loved ones is crucial when having ‘the talk.’ Understanding where they are coming from will make it easier for them to hear you and believe your desire to get help is sincere.

Recognize: They may already know. Anybody who knew you before your addiction took over has caught on that something is wrong with you. It is also likely that they may have tried to talk to you in the past about what’s going on, only to receive the cold shoulder. Recognize the facts and be prepared for their reaction.

Express Your Regret: Saying ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way in getting your peeps to hop on the bandwagon. Make it easy for them to support you by acknowledging the harm you’ve done in the past and express your desire to set things right.

Make a Plan: Call a rehab that specializes in treating you drug of choice and make plans to go right after the talk. This will demonstrate to your loved ones that you are serious about recovery and are willing to go to any lengths to get the help you need.

Be Prepared for Their Reaction: Recognize that there are a plethora of responses your friends and family can have; anger, outrage or fear are just a few. You can’t control other people’s reaction and you don’t have to try to make it okay for them. Reassure them that you know this is difficult to process but underscore your desire to get sober. Eventually, they will come around as you proceed in your program of recovery.

Remember that you will continue communication with your loved ones as you go through treatment and they may want to seek additional support for themselves to help them deal with their own emotions. After you’ve had that all important talk, it’s time to focus on yourself and do the work that only you can do.

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