How do you tell your family you need rehab?

Perhaps you have hit bottom with your addiction. You cannot handle the addiction anymore by yourself. You gaze into the mirror, and you cannot recognize your own reflection. You’ve decided that it’s finally time to tell someone about it, to look for help.

The very first people you should have in mind to tell about your addiction is your family.

But how do you approach the issue with them? You might be afraid of judgment, condemnation, or perhaps you do not want to become a burden on them.

Sharing your addiction with your family is a daunting task, but it has to be done if you are ever going to move forward with recovery and putting your life back together again.

Here are the best ways in which you can open up to your family about your addiction problem, and begin to get help:

Be forthright and honest

When telling your family about your addiction, do not sugarcoat or downplay the severity of your problem. First be honest with yourself and determine for yourself the severity of your addiction, and tell your family exactly how long and how severely you have had an addiction. This is not an issue that you or your loved ones can afford to take lightly.

It’s likely they already know

Often addicts believe that they are effectively hiding their addiction from their family. But if you have been in any connection with your family over a long enough period of time, the chances are much more likely than not that they already know you have an addiction, or at least suspect that you have a problem. In fact, they have probably attempted to approach you more than on one occasion about your addiction. You can only hide an addiction for so long, and eventually it becomes apparent to everyone in your circle that you are struggling.

When you finally approach your family to tell them about your addiction, dignify their perception and intelligence — don’t deny any of the details if your family suspects them and you know that they are true.

Know what to say

It is important that you take the time beforehand to plan everything that you will say, though it might be more difficult to anticipate your family’s reaction. This is a very serious matter — you cannot simply improvise a conversation with this importance, and you do not want to say anything that you might later regret. Addiction is a sensitive issue, and you should prepare for your family’s reaction the best that you can.

This is going to be a very emotional conversation. That’s why you are going to need to have a “blueprint” of rational points that you have to convey.


Remain confidential

Being an addict comes with many stigmas in society, such as shame and embarrassment. Many people, including possibly your family, do not understand that addiction is a disease and will bring undue condemnation on you for it. Also, while people are under addiction, very often they are controlled by shame, anger and pain. Chances are you have hurt people who are closest to your during your struggle with addiction. This is why it is important that you make every effort to regain your trust and credibility with people close to you, by being as forthright and as-matter-of-fact as you can be regarding your addiction.

It will help if you can keep yourself anonymous when disclosing your addiction to a family member. Perhaps there might be grievances between you and some of your family members due to actions you made while you struggled with addiction, and that might make regaining their trust and respect difficult. However, if you are honest and sincere in your approach, if you can truly demonstrate that you have acknowledged your addiction and are seeking solutions for it, there is a good chance you can earn back the trust of your family, and they will respect your confidentiality.

Prepare for resistance

Very often substance abuse runs in the family, and so some of your family members might themselves have addictions. Family members who have addictions might put up resistance against your decision to address your addiction problem, because they are unwilling to confront their own addictions. They might persuade you to believe that your problem is not so severe, or that it is normal and even adds excitement to your life. Do not let addicted family members convince you or enable your addiction — tell them frankly your decision to receive treatment, and do not give in.

Or, there is always the chance that your decision to go to rehab will motivate your other family members to follow in your step. It might be difficult, but you could end up changing a resistor’s mind.

Ask them for support

Whether it is financial or emotional support, your first step will be to share with your family all the ways in which you plan to help yourself. Make it clear that you’ve acknowledged that you have an addiction problem, and that you are going to seek help from a professional facility. Your family might be upset or angry at things that you did while you were under your addiction, but your family will always love you and they want to see you recover from addiction and get your life back in order.

If you have proven your honesty, and your family sees that you are truly willing to put an end to your addiction, it is more than likely that they will assist you in any ways that they can. Your family members are the closest people to you and thus they are the people most severely affected by your addiction, other than yourself. They want to see you recover just as badly as you do.

Consider the children

If you have children within your family, you should approach them differently than your adult family members. Establish a network of other trustworthy adults in the children’s lives when you fall short due to your addiction. Listen to your children’s questions, and answer them in terms they can understand — as a disease that has developed and now needs a cure. Communicate with your children at a simple, easy level that they can understand.


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