It’s often challenging to know how to tell your family that you have an addiction and need to enter treatment. Some family members will not understand and may not be willing to understand. Most of your loved ones, though, will want to support you in your effort.
The first thing to know is that this is your journey. If you don’t want to tell anyone about what you are facing, you don’t have to do so. As noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the strong stigma about people with substance use disorder often stems from a lack of knowledge. Even so, you shouldn’t feel obligated to tell anyone outside of your household what you’re facing.
Strategies for Explaining Addiction Treatment
If you decide you want to tell your family about your treatment plan, there are several points you’ll probably want to make.
- “It’s a chronic disease.”
Substance use disorder is a chronic disease that requires professional treatment. You’ll want to stress to your family that there’s no cure for addiction, though there are many strategies that can support your long-term sobriety. You can compare addiction to substances to other chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, asthma, or heart disease.
Explain that the road to recovery isn’t simple or easy and involves both environmental and mental health adjustments. You can also explain that your body is physically dependent on the substance and that you are ready to go through detox and rehabilitation.
- “It’s not possible to just stop.”
Physically and mentally, it’s simply not possible to just stop using substances when you have a dependency on them. The National Institute of Health shares that a person with an addiction loses control over their actions. They cannot stop themselves from seeking out substances, no matter the risks of doing so.
Because of this profound dependency, it’s critical for you to get professional help. This will include detox and residential treatment where you can focus on releasing your physical and emotional dependency in a safe environment.
- “Professional treatment means stepping away from life.”
One concern your family may have is how long you will be away from home. Most inpatient programs last for a minimum of about 30 days, with follow-up outpatient treatment often recommended. Your loved ones may have a hard time believing that it takes that long to recover from addiction.
If so, you can explain that inpatient treatment is necessary because it fully removes you from the environment that allowed and encouraged this addiction to develop. Explain that treatment begins with a medical detox to help your body safely wean itself from the substance/s. Then, long-term treatment consisting of individual, group, and family therapy is necessary to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of sobriety.
- “Recovery will take time beyond treatment.”
Your family may assume that once treatment ends, you’ll be “better.” You’ll want to explain that recovery is a lifetime commitment. Like cancer, there is always some risk of relapse. During drug and alcohol treatment in Lubbock, our team at The Ranch at Dove Tree will provide you with hands-on strategies and highly effective ways to reduce the risk of relapse. Yet it’s always going to be a risk. For that reason, you may need to transition to outpatient treatment for a while before returning fully to your routine.
You will also need to remain connected to recovery support resources indefinitely: 12-step groups, therapy, alumni groups, and more. If the pull toward relapse gets strong, you may need to return to treatment.
Let Us Guide You Towards Recovery
At The Ranch at Dove Tree, we provide our clients with the support and guidance they need to create recovery. A component of that is family therapy. When you need and want the support of your family members, it is essential to have some big conversations and to be frank, open, and honest with them. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. We will work with you during your treatment to build a strong understanding with supportive family members so you can work on healing. This is a component of our inpatient residential treatment center in Texas.
Sometimes, you cannot make people understand no matter what you say or do. For now, focus on yourself and your own long-term recovery. Let us help you. Contact The Ranch at Dove Tree to learn what your next steps are toward recovery from addiction.