How Can I Tell My Family I Have A Substance Abuse Disorder?


It can be hard to take a good look at your life and to realize that you’ve made mistakes. Nobody wants to confess that he or she has taken the wrong path in his or her life, however, being open about your mistakes must be a vital part of changing your lifestyle for the better. This has never been truer than in the case of addiction. Recognizing that you must be honest with yourself forms an essential part of acknowledging that you need professional help.

Unfortunately, a lot of people must hit bottom before realizing their addiction has taken over their lives and that they seriously need help. When they have reached this point, they will have already told so many lies to friends and family about their addictions that the prospect of finally telling the truth can be very frightening.

Concealing a substance abuse disorder can seriously damage relationships with families, pushing loved ones apart and straining trust to the breaking point. The most effective way of dealing with an addiction is first to open up about having a problem.

Am I Addicted?

If you are reading this, you may well be wondering whether you really do have a substance abuse disorder that requires professional treatment. If you are even asking that question, there’s a good chance that you do. Here are some questions you should answer to determine whether you really need rehab.

  • Do you use drugs or alcohol more than most other people you know?
  • Have you missed school, work, appointments or meetings because of your substance use?
  • Have you ever had a legal problem relating to your substance use?
  • Have you ever struggled to remember what happened after using alcohol or drugs?
  • Do you find it hard to stop drinking if you have had one drink?
  • Do you crave drugs or alcohol?
  • Do you have feelings of guilt after using drugs or drinking alcohol?
  • Has anybody ever told you he or she was worried about your use of drugs or alcohol?
  • Have you begun using substances more in recent times?
  • Do you find you need to use drugs or drink alcohol to have a good time?
Answer these questions honestly and take responsibility for yourself and your own behavior. This makes it much easier to begin making positive changes.

Why Tell My Family?

Even if you have admitted that you have a substance abuse disorder, you may still be hesitant to admit it to your loved ones. Whether you are afraid of hurting them or whether you are worried they won’t support you, it’s still important to get over that fear and to come clean about the situation.

Anyone who embarks on the difficult journey toward sobriety knows he or she will need help and support along the way. By talking to your loved ones and reaching out for their help, you can secure their assistance in the challenges that you face as you enter rehab.

Not only it is important to talk to family about your substance abuse disorder to gain their support, it is also vital as the first step toward your recovery. Your family members probably already suspect you are struggling with alcohol or drug use, but whether they have an awareness, it’s still time to confess to them and to give them the chance to be supportive and on your side.

Top Tips for Talking to Family Members About Addiction

Here are some top tips to help you to prepare for having the important conversation with your family about your substance abuse. By preparing in advance, you can make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Decide who you need to talk to about your problem.
  • Attend a support group to get in some practice.
  • Check out message boards and support communities online.
  • Write out some ideas about what you intend to say.
  • Communicate to your family the ways in which they can help and support you.
  • Think about bringing someone who you trust with you when you decide to talk to your family about your addiction. If you have someone with you who is already aware of your addiction, you will feel more comfortable and less defensive.

Having the Talk

When the day comes to have the talk with your family, you need to know how to get started.

  • Begin by asking your family to listen to you without interrupting or criticizing.
  • Take your already prepared notes with you so you can look at them if you feel nervous.
  • Say everything you have to say.
  • Finish by telling your family how you would like them to get involved and support you while you recover from your addiction. By involving them, it will help them to focus more on helping you than on negative behaviors.

Why Include Your Family in Your Recovery Process?

If a family member has a substance abuse disorder, it affects the entire family. Your loved ones could be your lifelong allies and best advocates while you’re in recovery and they can support and help you in many ways.

Approaching your family before you go into rehab is very helpful since there is lots of information they’ll need to become better educated when it comes to addiction and the recovery process.

When your alcohol or drug use is beginning to have consequences for your relationships, education, career or lifestyle, it’s probably time to seek out professional treatment.

Anyone who is entering rehab and is ready to embark on a sober life could benefit from the support of their loved ones, so opening up to your family before you take the plunge can help you to improve your eventual outcomes and set yourself on the best possible road to sobriety.

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