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February 28, 2019

Coming Out as an Addict

Have you recently realized that you have an addiction and found yourself wondering about how to tell your family and friends? Coming out as an addict can be a daunting step to take, but it’s important to have a support system as you begin to navigate seeking help at a rehabilitation and detox center and entering recovery. The support of your family and friends will be vital during your recovery, which means that you need to find a way to tell them that you have been suffering from an addiction and open yourself up to receiving their support as you seek the help you need.

Finding the right way to come out as having an addiction can be a challenge, but with a few simple steps, you can find a way to communicate with your family that will provide both you and them with a safe, comfortable environment to process information in. While every family and relationship is different, there are several important steps to take to tell your family and friends about your addiction and begin the healing process.

Coming Out as an Addict: What You Need to Know

Telling your family and friends that you are struggling with an addiction can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with a few steps, you can help navigate this complex process and communicate with your loved ones both your current situation and where you hope to be in the future.

Say Those Five Words

“I’m struggling with an addiction” can be the most difficult words to say, but to start your path as a recovering addict, they are words you have to first admit to yourself and then share with the people (or person) closest to you. It can be tempting to push off telling your loved ones as long as possible, but the sooner you tell them, the sooner they can begin acting as a support system to help you in getting the long term rehab treatment you need.

Drug addiction can be a slippery slope and it is vital to communicate with your family about your addiction as soon as possible, as it can worsen in a short period of time. Drug addiction can be difficult to hide and it is likely that your family already knows you are struggling with something. Acknowledging what you are struggling with allows them to feel comfortable talking with you about it and overcomes one of the first hurdles on the path to sobriety. When you decide to tell your loved ones, pick a quiet and private place to talk to them. Once you’re there with them, sit down, take a deep breath, count to three, and then say those five words.

Be Honest and Open About Your Struggles

While your family may have been unaware of your addiction or suspected there was something going on, it is unlikely that they know the extent of severity of your addiction and the symptoms you experience from it. Once you admit that you have an addiction, it is helpful to tell them what you’ve been going through and allow them to gain better insight into your addiction. Addiction manifests differently for each individual and it can be helpful for your loved ones to understand what you believe are some of the triggers for your addiction and how significantly it has impacted your life as they may be unaware of how severe your addiction is.

When telling your loved ones about your struggles, it is also important to mention that addiction is a disease and that while it is not a choice, you are taking responsibility for any wrongdoings in the past. Addiction can sometimes cause you to act in ways you normally would not and it is helpful to apologize to your family and friends for any strains in your relationship that your addiction has caused or actions you’ve taken that are uncharacteristic of how you would normally behave. During this time, it’s also important to tell your family that you are taking responsibility for your actions, getting the help you need to achieve sobriety, and that you will need their support to help you on your path to recovery.

Tell Them Your Plan

Now that you’ve taken responsibility for your behavior in the past, it’s vital to communicate with your family that you are also taking responsibility for your future. By sharing what your plan is for recovery from addiction, you are showing your loved ones that you are planning to make a change and face your addiction head-on. If you need help analyzing different options to choose the right path, you can also communicate that with your family and ask for their help in finding the right rehabilitation center, addiction treatment plan, and/or therapist to support you in overcoming your addictive habits, becoming sober, and getting back to your normal life. Your family loves you a lot and wants to see you get better, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and support when you need it.

For more on addiction and recovery, contact us.

Sources:

Clearview Treatment Programs. “Telling Your Family You Have an Addiction Problem.” Retrieved from https://www.clearviewtreatment.com/blog//family-addiction-problem/.

DrugAbuse.com. “8 Tips for Coming Out of the Addiction Closet.” Retrieved from https://drugabuse.com/coming-out-of-the-closet/.

New Leaf Recovery. “How to Tell Your Family About Your Drug Addiction.” Retrieved from https://www.newleafohio.com/tell-family-drug-addiction-admitting-you-have-a-problem/.