We Think We are Fooling Everyone… But We’re Not.
One thing we know about substance abuse is that it tends to be the dirty little secret no one wants to admit.
The good news is that is a completely normal perception, many people feeling ashamed and embarrassed about their addiction. This very reason leads many addicts to have problems being honest. To get sober addicts always need to start by admitting that they have a problem. More often then not the family will be aware of the problem, the signs are just too obvious to ignore.
The Functioning Addict and Alcoholic
However, some substance abusers are functional and may be good at hiding their addiction. For those individuals, it is so important to tell your family about the abuse. You are probably scared at the reaction you will receive when telling your family about your abusive behaviors. That is normal.
You are probably fearing that they will be angry, resentful and disappointed. Well, that is normal as well. Just keep in mind that their feelings of upset are coming from a good place. It is because they care for you and love you that they may show anger or disappointment. They want to see you well!
A good way to tell your family about your abuse is to gather them together. Be honest with them. Do not be defensive in their response to the news you are sharing. Be prepared to deal with their emotions as well as your own. Consider having an addiction expert there with you, some sort of counselor who can help with the explanation of your disease or addiction. Let your family know you want help and are telling them so they can be a part of your recovery.
A strong support system starts with you. Once you share with your family your cycle of abuse, you can feel more confident knowing there are no more secrets being kept. You can move ahead with honesty in both your struggles and successes. It may seem a terrifying situation to come forward and admit your faults as an abuser, but once you do, you will surely be on your way to a lifetime of recovery and relief, all with your family by your side.
A Story From an Addict
When I approached my parents about my heroin addiction, they had a feeling something was wrong, but they didn’t know how bad it really was. It all started when letters from different lawyers were coming in the mail. They started coming pretty slow, maybe one every 3 days. After I was arrested a few more times within a few weeks they started flying in, so the evidence was extremely prevalent. Me being the manipulative addict I am I was able to bullshit my way around it for a little while so I could keep getting high and avoid the pain of telling them the truth. As time went on and as court dates were missed my addiction continued to get worse and worse.
Eventually the pain became more strong than the fear of telling them. I sat them down at their house and told them that I had been shooting heroin and smoking crack for the past 5 years. They were obviously floored emotionally but they stayed calm and thanked me for telling them. They said that they knew I needed help but they weren’t sure with what or how to go about doing it. They kept me under a close watch over the next 24 hours while they called rehab center after rehab center until they finally found one with a bed available.
It was kept quiet in the family for some time, they didn’t want everyone knowing what I was going through. As time went on I told my other loved ones what I had gone though. I told them that I’m not that person anymore and I am continuing to try and better myself. They all said the same thing, that they loved me and their glad I am continuing to get help.
The point it that yes it was hard to initially say that I needed help. Without doing so who knows how long I would’ve stayed out there. I had to put my pride to the side and ask other to help me. This wasn’t something I could do on my own. Take a deep breath and find those closest to you, explain to them your pain and that you are willing to change. Something amazing can happen, just look at me.