Talking about your addiction with loved ones

Substance use disorder is one of the most stigmatized health conditions in existence and that can make it difficult to talk about with friends, family, or loved ones. However, in many circumstances, being open and honest about addiction can prove useful in one’s journey to recovery and wellness. We know the challenges that addiction can bring to a person’s life, but it’s important to know that you don’t have to go through it alone.  When you are ready, you can use these tips to help guide your conversation with loved ones:

  1. Remember that you are in control. You and only you have the power to decide who you tell about your addiction. You are also in control of how much information you want to provide. Some of the things you may want to share could include what substances you are struggling with, your plans for treatment, what your triggers are, and how your loved ones can support you during this time. Make a plan that lays out the information you want to share and be sure to include answers to some questions that you might receive.
  2. Consider timing and location. You are in control of when you decide to tell loved ones about your addiction, but the sooner you can talk with them, the sooner they may be able to help you. When you do decide to have that conversation, be sure to choose a private location where all parties can focus on the conversation at hand without interruptions or distractions.
  3. Educate them on the facts. Substance use disorder is not well understood by many people, so be sure to provide the facts to substantiate your claims and help show that you’ve done your research. For example, you could share that addiction is incredibly common, affecting more than 20 million people in the United States.
  4. Ask for help. Addiction can be an extremely isolating disease, so try asking for help from someone you know and trust. Let them know how their support and love can help you along the way to recovery. If there are specific things you need, be sure to ask them if they can help you with those needs.
  5. Give them time and space to process. Depending on the circumstances, this could be unsettling or startling news, and everyone reacts differently. Try to remain positive and calm no matter what reaction you receive and allow your loved ones time to digest this news. No matter the outcome, remember their reactions do not reflect anything about you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, Wayspring may be able to help. Use our 5-question member eligibility tool to find out if you’re eligible to enroll in our no-cost services today!