Handling your own addiction can be difficult with its many trials and tribulation–resisting temptations, mood swings, experiencing withdrawals, and the health complications that come with them. One of the most difficult challenges is approaching and discussing your addiction with family.
Family members tend to feel betrayed after watching a loved one turn to drug addiction. They may feel wronged or neglected from the unhealthy behaviors brought out of addicts. And they are not wrong to feel this way, but they should be understanding of your own struggles.
Discussing these topics can be intimidating, but communication is key in any relationship. Be willing and honest with your family, but also understanding of each other’s feelings. Mutual understanding and love is key to moving forward into recovery as an addict and together as a family.
What They May Ask
A family member who is a victim to living with an addict is typically on the defensive, and naturally so. They have likely become scared of your words or actions, and their fear can be justified. Perhaps they might even hesitate to trust you, and you will have to earn that back.
Some of their feelings and questions might even hurt, as an addict is just as much of a victim. A common question may be, “Why did you choose drugs over me?” They might also question your actions while under the influence–some you may not even remember depending on the drug.
Be it a child who feels neglected or a spouse abandoned, many of these feelings are similar. All of these questions lead to questioning your love for them, which can make for a difficult discussion. You must be empathetic to their perspective, but also help them understand yours.
What You May Answer
When addressing the many issues your family brings up, you must be gentle yet confident in your answers. When you are asked about choosing drugs over family, you must make it clear–addiction is not a choice. Addiction is a disease in the brain that needs treatment like any other. Explain to your spouse, child, sibling, or parents about how much they mean to you. Be honest and be willing to admit your need for support.
Nevertheless, be willing to admit your responsibility for your actions, but also that you wish to make things right. Whether or not you remember, chances are you did or said something hurtful. The best you can do is recognize it, admit your mistakes, and vow to do better.
Most importantly, you should tell your family how much you love and care for them. Tell your spouse how much they mean to you, how important your kids are to you, how much you care about your siblings, or how much you appreciate your parents. Reinforcing and reminding them of how much you love them can help gain trust back, as well as ensuring recovery together.
How You Can Heal Together
With addiction, sadly the addict is not the only victim but also loved ones around them. Thankfully, there are programs that account for this such as family matters workshops. You can also investigate therapists and recovery groups that involve closer interaction with the family.
By seeking therapy and healing together, you can not only make amends but further bonds with family. In doing so, you can help yourself recover and enjoy life as a family once more.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Alternative Long Term Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.