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The Truth About Telling Your Family You Have an Addiction

A middle-aged man asks his wife for help.
Telling your loved one you need help is difficult, but it’s also a necessary part of recovery.

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Chances are, you’ve been hiding your addiction for a long time. The thought of telling your family the truth is terrifying. But you also know it’s the first step in getting help—and getting better.

But how exactly do you tell your loved ones something that you know will hurt them?

How to Tell Someone You Are Addicted

Chances are good that your family already knows something is going on with you. They may be relieved to have the problem out in the open so that it can be addressed.

It’s a good idea to have a rough outline of what you’d like to say—not a speech, just an outline. Emotions will run high, on all sides, and you want to be sure that you get your message across.

Begin by preparing them for a serious conversation. Tell them you have something important you would like to discuss. You don’t have to fill them in on every detail of your struggle if you don’t want to. But be clear in explaining that you have an addiction—and you have not been able to control it on your own.

The next step is to apologize for ways in which your addiction has hurt them—and to let them know that you’re prepared to get help.

Not the Response You Were Expecting

Hopefully, your talk will go smoothly and your family members will assist you in getting help and fighting your addiction.

But that’s not always what happens, especially if your loved ones don’t understand the true nature of addiction.

Maybe your family tells you that it’s not that bad. Everybody has a vice and this is yours. Or it could be they think this is a problem we can handle ourselves. If they’re really out of touch they may even ask you why don’t you just stop?

The best defense against any of these arguments is the truth. Start with what the National Institute on Drug Abuse says about addiction:

Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.

Then tell them what rehab does. It doesn’t just get you past the physical withdrawal (which is the easy part). It also teaches you the skills you need to cope without drugs or alcohol. And it helps you to build a new life.

In-patient Addiction Rehab Near Denver

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center based on the reality that addiction isn’t just a physical problem. Our master’s level trained therapists get to the root cause of addiction and will help you develop a strategy to manage and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our 90-day drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

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