How to Tell My Loved Ones I’m Addicted to Drugs

Many people struggle with addiction, especially during a nationwide drug crisis. If you are struggling with addiction, you might be scared or don’t know how to tell your friends and family that you have an addiction problem. Admitting you have a problem may be the first step, but it can also be the hardest.

Admitting addiction begins by being honest with yourself. Understanding your addiction, how it affects others, how to have a conversation with your loved ones, and how to get treatment can make this challenging time in your life easier.

When you are ready to get help, consider reaching out to an addiction specialist at the number on your screen. These specialists can take the guesswork out of where to go, what to do, and help find a treatment center that best suits your needs.

Table of Contents

How Do I Know I’m Addicted For Sure?

As a disease, addiction can happen to anyone, at any time and any age. Not all addicts are addicted to illegal street drugs; some become addicted to prescription medication even after taking it as instructed.

Drugs work by manipulating dopamine levels in the brain, causing a flood of euphoria. Your brain is an ever-adapting organ, responding and evolving with each new piece of information. When drugs teach your brain how to reconstruct its chemistry, it begins to hunt for more. Over time, your brain craves the drug so much that it prioritizes drug use above all else.

Addiction development can begin to manifest symptoms such as:

  • An urge to use the substance more frequently than before.
  • Craving the substance so severely that nothing else feels important at all.
  • Taking more of the substance to feel how you did when you first took it.

You Know You Have an Addiction When

The list above is crucial components for identifying a developing addiction or dependency.
Furthermore, these symptoms can worsen and start threatening your livelihood:

  • You are prioritizing your stash over basic essential needs, such as groceries or toiletries.
  • You are depleting your savings or budget to repurchase the substance.
  • You are experiencing a change in behaviors, such as lying, cheating, or stealing.

These worsening symptoms are strong indications that you are struggling with an addiction, also referred to as a Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Addiction can take over your brain’s risk-reward calculator, emotional processing, and decision-making skills as a disease. This disease takes control over your steering wheel and drives you wherever it wants you to go, regardless of who you hurt in the process.

Lastly, if you have previously tried to quit using drugs without success, consider getting help. Addiction treatment programs are customizable and can adapt to your needs to help you recover.

How Does My Addiction Affect The People I Care About?

Telling your friends and family that you’re an addict is not the only way they are affected by your addiction. Conversely, it’s likely that your family or friends already know. Your closest social circle members have probably already noticed the changes in your life, behavior, and appearance.

Addiction is a disease that changes your brain chemistry, altering your decisions, emotional responses, and behaviors. Because of this, your brain begins using manipulative tactics to use those closest to you as resources for money, transportation, or anything else that can get you what you want.

Those who struggle with addiction are genuinely not “in their right mind.” An addict could steal their widowed grandfather’s social security check and not think twice about it. Lying, cheating, stealing, and using intimate knowledge against loved ones to excuse or hide your addiction are all possibilities when struggling with addiction.

Furthermore, those closest to you are worried about you. Your loved ones have likely noticed extreme changes in behavior and have witnessed your downward spiral. Watching a loved one suffer can be painful, especially when they do not know how to help.

Absenteeism

Frequently, when addiction enters your life, it tends to take people and things you love out of it.

An addicted parent is likely to begin skipping out on family functions and responsibilities with their spouse and children to do drugs. Additionally, absenteeism can grow to reach your employment, removing your source of income.

Furthermore, absenteeism from the lives of those you love can impact you for the rest of your life. For instance, many recovered addicts admit that an elder relative died during their addiction, without ever having said goodbye or was present in their last remaining years.

Additionally, addicted parents can miss their children’s innocent moments, such as a drawing they made or showing you a cool trick they learned when addiction swallows your priorities. Those irreplaceable moments surrender and push aside. Children grow up, and those innocent moments will be gone forever.

How to Tell Your Loved Ones – Having The Conversation

When telling your family that you’re an addict, you may want to refer to tips for coming out of the addiction closet. Admitting you have a problem is not easy, but there are ways to prepare for the best possible outcome.

Through any conversation, there are three filters that you can use to reach the most effective communication:

  • Reflect truth.
  • Promote positivity.
  • Encourage growth.

These may seem small; however, delicate conversations can quickly get defensive or out of hand. Emotions are likely to run high, compelling all involved to allow pride to drown the message’s weight. If you feel overwhelmed, you must know you can always ask for help.

By reaching out to an addiction specialist, you can receive education on addiction, treatment options and request a specialist to help you talk to your loved ones about your addiction.

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John Doe

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Communication Tools for Difficult Conversations

These effective communication tips can set a template for how you want the conversation to go.
So, what do you hope for the conversation?

  • The truth is: you are admitting addiction.
  • The positivity is: there are treatment options available to you.
  • The growth is: together, you can create a stable support system throughout addiction treatment.

At the core of your conversation, these three truths will support you. Additionally, if you are nervous or uncomfortable talking to them yourself, addiction specialists can extend their services to be verbally present during the conversation.

Telling your loved ones that you’re using and addicted to drugs is a challenging discussion. Telling your family and friends that you’re an addict can be a vulnerable and emotional time for all involved. Therefore, it is essential to honor your feelings and allow your loved ones to honor theirs. However, if your loved ones react poorly or become aggressive, you are under no obligation to tolerate belittlement.

Taking the Next Step and Getting Help

Like any other disease, addiction requires medical attention to heal. Addiction treatment centers are available with customizable treatment, therapy, and support group options. Furthermore, your loved ones can play a vital role in your recovery by participating in family therapy sessions and attending open support group meetings with you.

Recovered addicts often reported feelings of guilt and shame when admitting an addiction to their family and friends. However, pride is not the opposite of shame. Humility and vulnerability can allow others to express empathy and kindness in your darkest moments more easily.

Therefore, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and non-defensive while in the safe space of your loved ones can soften those whose feelings were hurt the worst. Remember, your family and friends love you. They may have been damaged throughout your addiction and are allowed to feel their emotions.

Family therapy is a great way to allow your family members to cope with your addiction’s emotions and unite families under compassion, education, and understanding. Your rehab team goes beyond your treatment center’s professionals but your support system as well.
Both you and your loved ones are likely to have questions concerning what kind of treatment will be most effective for you. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start.

Addiction treatment, therapies, and other rehab services are not a one-size-fits-all program. Conversely, everything you have available to you can be tailored depending on the substance used, the length of use, and if you have a pre-existing condition.

Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders among addicts. Specialists must know whether anxiety or depression was prevalent before or because of drug use. Mental health disorders that develop because of drug use can indicate other ways misusing drugs has affected you. At the same time, pre-existing mental health disorders can indicate the reason behind your initial drug use.

Consider calling an addiction specialist at the number on your screen to get in-depth and specific information regarding what treatment can do for you and your family.

Considering Your Treatment Options

Both you and your loved ones are likely to have questions concerning what kind of treatment will be most effective for you. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start.

Addiction treatment, therapies, and other rehab services are not a one-size-fits-all program. Conversely, everything you have available to you can be tailored depending on the substance used, the length of use, and if you have a pre-existing condition.

Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders among addicts. Specialists must know whether anxiety or depression was prevalent before or because of drug use. Mental health disorders that develop because of drug use can indicate other ways misusing drugs has affected you. At the same time, pre-existing mental health disorders can indicate the reason behind your initial drug use.

Consider calling an addiction specialist at the number on your screen to get in-depth and specific information regarding what treatment can do for you and your family.

Moving Forward and Changing Your Life

Addiction is a disease that can ruin lives. If left untreated, addiction to drugs or alcohol can be fatal and hurt those around you along the way. Choosing to tell your friends and family that you have an addiction problem is not an easy task, but admitting you have a problem is the best way to get the help you need.

Refer to the tips for coming out of the addiction closet if you need a template to guide you in your conversation with your loved ones. If you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, it is okay to ask an addiction specialist to help you. They can be verbally present when speaking with your family to help ease the situation.

Everyone is entitled to their emotions. However, you are not obligated to stay if your loved ones become aggressive or threatening. You are worth saving, and your loved ones also have resources available to help them cope.

This conversation may not be easy but take comfort that telling your family that you’re an addict is an honest way to put yourself back on the right track to recovery. You have support and resources every step of the way.

Addiction has already taken so much from you; addiction treatment can help give some of it back.

You can do this.

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Our writers are experienced in everything related to addiction, mental health, rehab and recovery.

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