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Admitting you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is one of the hardest things to do. It means admitting that you have made mistakes and that you’re aware of it. It may mean losing friends, jobs, housing and starting life over. Furthermore, talking about your addiction now means you are expected to do something about it. Loved ones will be looking to you to get into treatment and to begin to live a completely sober life. With change comes responsibility, expectations, and vulnerability. Also, it can be hard to admit that we need help, regardless of the circumstances or struggles. Addiction can be an isolating disease which makes reaching out difficult and scary. The feeling of being alone and misunderstood can be overwhelming and often times does prevent individuals from asking for help.
The U.S has recently woken up to the seriousness of alcohol and drug addiction and started recognizing addiction as a disease. Until the stigma associated with an alcohol and drug addiction is erased, being open and vocal may prove to be emotionally trying for some. It’s not enough that we must deal with our own demons, we must also deal with a society that at times make us feel like demons.
It may seem as though there are many reasons to avoid coming clean to loved ones, friends, or family about an alcohol or drug addiction. However, there are so many MORE reasons to have the conversation.
Coming clean about your addiction means you can finally begin working on any physical and/or mental health needs you may have neglected. If you’re coming clean to loved ones, family or friends you can begin to talk about what’s been going on in your life, reduce your isolation and receive perhaps the much-needed support you’ve been searching for. Furthermore, your sober and safe support systems can assist you in finding and securing treatment where you can learn healthy ways to cope and manage emotions. Many report that coming clean about their addictions and getting treatment allowed them to repair broken relationships, advance their careers and improve their well-being. Overall, you can finally start to live the life that you so deserve to live.
When you are ready to talk to your family, friends, loved ones, or others the following tips may help you navigate the discussion:
Keep in mind there is a good chance your loved ones are aware that something is amiss. They may not know exactly what you are struggling with or the severity, but chances are your struggles have not gone unnoticed. They may be afraid to broach the subject, or they may not feel comfortable asking you about their concerns. In fact, those close to you may be waiting for you to come to them.
It’s worth stating that before coming clean to your loved ones about your addiction, you must first come clean to yourself. When you can accept you have an addiction and are willing to get help, you are now one step closer to a better life of your own. Your better life can include improved overall health, healthier habits and repaired relationships. You can exercise, eat healthy food and be part of society again. The people in your world can begin to rely on you to keep your commitments, and you can begin to feel more confident about yourself. Not only will you be a better person, but you will also feel better about yourself, and your self-esteem will start to improve.
Taking that first step can be daunting, but it’s so worth it.
Author: Beth Grady, LAC – Footprints to Recovery – Intake Clinician Arizona