Speaking to your family about your recovery is a crucial part of the healing process. It can seem like a real challenge, especially if you’re embarrassed and remorseful for your behavior while you were using. Knowing that they’ve seen you at your worst can be a lot to bare. Yet shedding light on the situation can only help. Finding the right time to talk, and knowing what to say, is key.
Addiction is a systematic problem; how it affects families will differ, but any caring family member has the potential to be helpful to the addict. Talking openly with your loved ones about your recovery and how they can involve themselves is something you should start in treatment, while you still have time to build your network of support before returning to the independent living.
Make an appointment with specific family members, if you can.
If the discussion happens to be spur-of-the-moment—it happens—do what you can to assure that nobody will interrupt the moment. Take a walk, hit the coffee shop—whatever lessens the stress and distractions to encourage an honest, comfortable talk.
Find the right words.
You don’t need to follow a script, but have some thoughts prepared. What are you proposing your family do to help you, and how can you work together to ensure success? If they’re already onboard with you, are they helping? Why or why not?
Avoid argument or details.
Don’t get caught up trying to convince someone that your addiction is an illness; focus on integrating with those who are sympathetic to your cause, and who can help. For those who are not, you can recommend educational tools—simple online reading usually does the job—but don’t let it consume your time and effort.
Encourage family members to seek help.
You’re not the only one in addiction recovery; your whole family was and is affected by substance abuse. Try having them accompany you for some group meetings or family therapy sessions. Again, this is a good opportunity to educate any family members who are still resentful, not fully understanding what drove you to behave the way you did.
Finally, distance yourself when necessary.
Sometimes, a family is toxic—not necessarily a bad person, but not the right person for you to be around during recovery. Separation doesn’t have to be permanent; nor must it destroy your relationship with that person. Sometimes, in fact, it can really, really help.
Cottonwood Tucson offers one of the most intensive family programs in the treatment industry. Our integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders includes regular family therapy and a five day, full day program for family healing. Together, the family finds respect, understanding, and growth. Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520