It is not uncommon for young adults to keep things from their parents. Feeling a sense of independence and maturity can create a desire to handle things on their own. However, addiction is something not many can handle on their own. Those struggling with addiction find themselves in a very lonely place and can find it challenging to open up to their families. Feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and hopelessness can be a major obstacle to asking for help. In a major plot twist, help is exactly what is needed during this time; especially from family and friends. Learning how to talk to your family about substance abuse and addiction and asking for help might be the most important thing in your life. Sometimes the only option to win is to surrender.
The Power of Surrender
While it might sound counterintuitive, surrendering to win is the first step towards regaining control of your life. Before you can move forward in the recovery process, there must first be an acknowledgement of the problem and a desire to get better. Your family can be your strongest ally during this time, but they have to know what is going on and that you are serious about getting help. Repeatedly asking for help and not following through leads to distrust and an unwillingness to help. If you are serious about treatment, prepare to sit down with your family and be open and honest.
Time and Place
Picking the right time and place to talk with your family about your addiction issues is an important part of this journey. It would not befit the topic to bring it up during a social outing or over breakfast when everyone has just woken up. It is recommended that you choose a time and place where everyone is present, calm, and somewhere that everyone feels comfortable and safe. You want to create an environment that is conducive to open and honest communication. It is also a good idea, if possible, to come to the conversation sober as coming in under the influence can have the opposite effect than what is intended.
Open and Honest Conversation
Direct and honest communication is key when talking about addiction with your family. Taking a straightforward approach in discussing your current situation, how it started, how it has progressed, and the impact it’s had on your life allows you to communicate the mental, physical and emotional toll addiction has had on you. Being transparent shows a sincere desire to get better and underscores the severity of the situation.
If your family has no experience in dealing with substance abuse, it may be a good idea to come prepared with some information on addiction. Sharing brochures and online resources can help those unfamiliar with this disease become more acquainted, better informed, and more supportive. If your family does not believe that addiction is an illness, you may need to bring scientific backed data explaining how the disease of addiction works.
Be Prepared for Reactions
Unfortunately, not everyone will understand your struggles with addiction. Just because you are ready to get substance abuse treatment does not mean that everyone around you is ready to give it. While most family members will be full of love, understanding, and support, this is not a guarantee. Some may be angry, shocked, or dismayed. Be patient with them and stay open to their responses. Giving them time to process may end with a change in tone. Ultimately, seeking help from active addiction should be something done for yourself. While having family support is helpful, it is not necessary for recovery.
Offer a Plan
Accepting responsibility means seeing things through. Asking for help is a great place to start but coming into the conversation with a plan illustrates the seriousness of your commitment. It is reassuring to your family to see that you’ve put time and effort into creating a clear strategy for getting better.
Surrendering to the reality of your substance abuse and talking to your family about it is the first step towards healing. Addiction is a treatable disease but it is rarely overcome alone. Your family’s support and guidance during this time can make the difference between getting help and continued suffering. If you are preparing to speak with your family or have already had the conversation, Momentum Recovery is here to assist. Whether you need to talk with our staff about how to have the conversation, or go over your plan, our dedicated team of treatment professionals are available 24/7. Call us today to begin your journey towards a healthier, happier life.