How to Explain Your Addiction to Loved Ones

header curve background image

How to Explain Your Addiction to Loved Ones

While there are many challenging events that will occur throughout the course of an individual’s life, telling your loved ones that you have an addiction can be particularly challenging. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that revealing your addiction can engender feelings of shame or embarrassment on your part while simultaneously inducing a sense of fear or resentment in your loved ones. Despite the fact that explaining your addiction to loved ones can be challenging, it is necessary if you want to begin and complete the recovery process in a healthy, transparent way. By reading the information found below, you can gain more knowledge about addiction as well as how to explain your addiction to loved ones.

Addiction - A Brief Overview

Explaining Addiction
How to Explain Your Addiction to Loved Ones

Although defined broadly, addiction is the inability to stop engaging in a behavior irrespective of the adverse consequences that result from the conduct. Addiction can be physical or psychological and is often both. This is especially the case with addictions to substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs. Although many people think of drugs and alcohol when the term “addiction” is used, there are a plethora of other addictions an individual could have including gambling, pornography, food, the internet, and various other things. As made plain by different statistics regarding addiction, it remains a profound and potentially problematic issue in this contemporary era. For example, the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 9.3% of people 12 and older required treatment as a result of alcohol or illicit drug problem. This is just one of many statistics showing that addiction is a serious issue.

How You Can Explain Your Addiction to Loved Ones

Once you admit that you have a substance abuse and opt to begin the recovery process, one of the first things you should do is explain your addiction to loved ones. Doing so is important for many reasons, one of which is that maintaining a disposition of secrecy can precipitate a relapse into the world of addiction.

Here are several strategies you should implement when trying to explain your addiction to loved ones:

  • If you feel uncomfortable or as if you don’t have the knowledge necessary to talk about your addiction with your loved ones, think about speaking with an addiction helpline counselor first. These individuals have education and experience in matters of addiction, and they will likely be able to give you advice regarding how to talk with your family and friends about your struggles.
  • Develop a plan of action before you speak with your loved ones. Whether your recovery strategy includes rehab, detox, or a combination of many different treatments, it’s important that your loved ones know that you have a plan for recovery.
  • Let your loved ones know what types of actions, attitudes, objects, and situations precipitate your addiction. This will help prevent them from becoming “enablers,” or individuals who in some way facilitate the perpetuation of your addiction.
  • Acknowledge and apologize for any behaviors you’ve engaged in that have detracted from the quality of life of your loved ones. Because addiction is a problem that affects everyone in the addict’s environment, there are possible actions and attitudes you’ve manifested which have adversely affected your friends and family emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually.
  • Be honest. Sugar-coating your addiction or downplaying how profound it will not help your friends and family understand your issue and subsequently play a role in helping you recover. If you’re currently still purchasing illegal drugs, say so. If your alcohol addiction is so profound that you feel you can’t go out with your loved ones to a bar on a Friday night, tell them. This type of honesty will be the key to enabling your loved ones to help you get on the path to permanent recovery.

Other Considerations

In addition to recognizing the power that was talking about your addiction with loved ones can have in facilitating your recovery, you should know that participating in inpatient treatment recovery services can be of great benefit to you. When you enroll in inpatient treatment services, you will be surrounded by a staff of trained professionals who possess the experience and education necessary to help you address your addiction and make it a thing of the past. And because inpatient treatment requires that you remain within the facility through the duration of the recovery process, you’ll have access to 24-hour professional services while also precluding yourself from reentering environments that can precipitate relapse.


If you are currently struggling with addiction, you should know that informing your friends and family members that you have a problem will be substantial. When you explain your addiction to loved ones, you empower them to provide you with the emotional support necessary to help you get and remain on the path to permanent recovery.

Add Your Comment