Should I Tell My Parents About My Addiction?

If you are a teen or an adolescent who uses drugs and alcohol, coming to your parents about your drug or alcohol problem can be intimidating – but it is an important step in recovery. Hiding the problem and continued denialism can only add to your dependency on substances. If you have come to realize the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on your body and mind, but feel the need for support to end the use, you should definitely tell your parents the truth.

How Do I Admit a Problem With Drugs and Alcohol?

To break with the influence of a substance, you first need to admit it as a problem to yourself. Many people bury their heads in the sand, denying the severity of this problem even to themselves. Self-deception is a part of denialism. Soon afterward, you will likely find yourself hiding it from or lying to your closest friends and family, too. Admitting the problem of addiction is the only way to beat it and get your life back.

Drugs and alcohol may bring some kind of pleasure to you at first. However, over time, you will surely notice signs of dependence, and that is when casual use becomes an addiction. These substances bring about chemical changes in the brain, so using them will surely impact your mind, mood, and behavior. You will feel more anxious and irritable. These will inevitably cause tension and conflicts in your relationships. By the time you feel the negative influence of drugs and alcohol, it is usually too late to quit on your own.

Why Should I Tell My Parents?

Your relationship with your parents is one of the most important relationships you have in the world. Your presence is incredibly important to them, as well. The fear of telling your parents is real because you do not want to disappoint them.  Hiding the problem from them cannot make it less disappointing, though. On the contrary, as your addiction worsens, it will surely show in your behaviors. Perhaps they have already noticed signs, despite your lies.

Deep down you know that talking to your parents about your addiction is the right thing to do. This conversation can be very frightening and uncomfortable, but they would also have no other choice but to support you. Another equally important reason is that you are going to need all the support from them. No one should go through treatment alone. Your parents are closer to you than anyone on earth, and therefore would want to be involved.

Nevertheless, you still need to think about the timing of having this conversation. You want to present this problem with all seriousness, letting them know that you have realized your own fault in giving in to these urges. Explain how it happened, and how you feel. Express a determination to seek treatment. Also, give your parents ample time to take in the message.

How Should I Expect My Parents to React?

Expect there to be anger, disappointment, and a range of intense emotions from your parents. They may react this way because they care too much about you. Sometimes, parents can be guilt-ridden by realizing that they have not noticed the signs or symptoms of your addiction. As a family, you should acknowledge all these emotions. It takes a process to feel these real emotions. At the end of the day, though, your parents are the ones who can unconditionally support you – and you will need all the support you can get from them.

Telling them also means you are growing out of denialism. Hopefully, your parents can realize that it takes great honesty, trust, and courage to have this conversation. This can be a relief to you, too, because you will no longer need to hide or lie anymore. If you really struggle with telling them face to face, maybe consider writing a letter with the same honesty and transparency.

What if the Talk Does Not Go Well?

Everyone’s parents are different. Not all parents know how to be supportive from the beginning. If telling your parents did not go as you had hoped, at least you have done the right and responsible thing. Allow them more time to process the “shock.” If you have a family member who can be more accepting and supportive, reach out to that person.

You can also seek help from a professional interventionist who can serve as a communication bridge between yourself and your parents about the issue of addiction. Express your wish to get treatment and the interventionist can help coach your parents to support you. He or she can also connect you with age-specific treatment options.

If you are a parent who detects early signs of your child using drugs or alcohol, do you know the best way to approach this issue with your child? Are you aware that denialism among young people who have substance addiction can be hard to break? You need to learn effective and non-confrontational techniques in getting to your child in a way that expresses concern and love without producing counter-productive results. At South Florida Intervention, we have professional interventionists to assist and coach you on how to do just that. Our experienced interventionists have helped many teens and young adults in maintaining sobriety. We know how to work with young people and their families. It is also our commitment to connect you with trusted health professionals who have plenty of experience. In addition to recovery coaching and parent coaching, we also offer detailed case management. Early intervention is key, and we can help. Call us today at (202) 390-2273.