Talking about substance use disorder (SUD) can feel like navigating a minefield. “Many people hesitate to reveal their behaviors to friends and family out of fear, shame, or guilt.” However, addiction affects all family members, even if they remain unaware of what caused the issues.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “When a family member is experiencing a mental or substance use disorder, it can affect more than just the person in need of recovery.” Lighthouse Recovery Texas can help you find the right way to disclose your addiction to family and friends. We offer family therapy and other family support services.
When Should You Tell Family About Your Addiction?
Every family is unique, and no perfect time exists to disclose substance misuse. You know your family best. However, putting off the conversation will only cause more issues in the long run. You can protect yourself and your family from further pain by being open and honest with them about your struggle. Many people wait to tell their family until they have no choice, which can cause their loved ones to feel manipulated.
You might benefit from telling your family before you experience severe side effects or encounter life-changing consequences. Early treatment ensures the best outcome, and many programs include family therapy as part of the process to help heal and motivate. Being honest with your family as soon as you recognize that you have a problem will make the process easier for everyone.
Instead of waiting for something unavoidable to happen, like legal or financial issues, you can reach out to your loved ones and let them know how you feel and what you have gone through. You can reveal the truth to your family in whatever way makes you feel most comfortable. The important thing is to set up a direct and open line of communication. You can tell them about your situation in the following ways:
- One-on-one with trusted family members
- All at once at a family gathering
- Through letters, emails, or text messages
- In a prerecorded message
- On the phone or through a video chat
- Through a trusted intermediary
Sometimes it can help to have someone there to provide moral support while you discuss things with your family. You can tell your loved ones with the help of a therapist, sober peer, close friend, sponsor, mentor, or other trusted member of your support system. If you are worried about how your family will react, it can help to have the conversation in a neutral area, like a therapist’s office.
How Should You Discuss Addiction and Recovery?
Language is essential when discussing addiction and recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “With simple changes in language harmful stigma and negativity around SUD can be reduced or avoided.” How you talk about yourself and substance misuse affects how your friends and family learn to understand the disorder.
Have a positive conversation about your circumstances and recovery goals by doing the following:
- Staying objective and using facts when describing addiction and treatment
- Being open and honest about your experiences and the realities of addiction
- Providing supportive educational materials or resources
Most people feel more comfortable having these conversations in neutral spaces where they do not feel threatened. Family therapy and other services can ensure you have a safe and comfortable area to discuss these complex topics. Your loved ones will also benefit from having an intermediary like a therapist available to help them better understand your position.
How Can You Have Positive Conversations About Addiction Recovery?
Preparation is critical when discussing difficult subjects with loved ones who may not fully understand them. You can have prepared conversations about addiction recovery by doing the following:
- Writing out a script ahead of time to ensure you have answers ready for possible questions
- Talking to a mental health professional
- Actively listening to your loved ones and their questions or concerns
You cannot force your loved one to see things from your point of view. All you can do is provide your perspective and listen to them.
What if Family Members Enabled Your Behavior?
Some family members may have unintentionally or unwillingly enabled addictive behaviors. If you manipulated them to gain access to more substances, then guilt or shame may make you hesitant to reach out. However, your loved ones deserve to know the truth and the steps you have taken to make changes. Most families learn to work together to heal and recover.
You can successfully achieve and maintain sobriety. Having family and friends at your side makes that process faster and less stressful. Lighthouse Recovery Texas encourages clients to involve loved ones in treatment. We can help you find healthy ways to repair relationships and improve family dynamics.
Family members can react differently to learning that a loved one has been diagnosed with substance use disorder. You might worry about how they may react or be ashamed of your actions. Telling them the truth is an excellent first step toward rebuilding relationships and being honest about your struggles with addiction. You do not have to go through rehabilitation and long-term recovery alone. Individuals who involve family in their recovery often have a better outcome. Lighthouse Recovery Texas can help you tell your loved ones about your diagnosis and help you educate them on the realities of addiction. To learn more about our programs and family support services, call our office today at (214) 396-0259.