talking to family about addiction
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Updated: November 25, 2021

How to Talk About Your Recovery With Your Family

For many people in recovery, the idea of "anonymous" recovery feels beneficial. After all, there is still some stigma attached to addiction. Not everyone deserves to know about your recovery, and that's okay. Some people can be insensitive or stubborn about their wrong beliefs. Even members of your family!

While the FDA now recognizes addiction as a disorder of the brain, there's still a lot of myths out there. Sometimes these stereotypes can be hurtful. It’s understandable you may be nervous talking about your recovery with people in your family.

Remember that Family Can Be A Stressor

Family can be an excellent support network or a trigger that fills you with intense feelings. Usually, a family falls somewhere in between, even if you're estranged. Many people have a few family members that they trust or talk to. Other members of the family may not be people you trust or want to confide in. If you're going to talk about recovery, it's important to make sure you're with somebody you trust.

You choose what you share with whom. And if you are at a family event and you're feeling triggered, it's okay to make an exit plan. Staying clean and sober is the most important task for a person in recovery day-to-day. Your sobriety is precious, and you deserve to keep it. So use the tools you've learned in recovery; pick up the phone and call your sponsor, text a recovery friend, or look up the closest 12-step meeting and grab rideshare to get to it.

Talking About Your Addiction

Take the time to set up a meeting with your loved one where you can have privacy.

It's fine to limit what you share with your loved ones. They don't need to know about the desperate things you did during addiction. However, now is not the time to speak about amends you make; that comes later in recovery when you are ready for the ninth step.

Here are some things you may be willing to share with them:

  • Your drug of choice and how long you've been using it.
  • What kind of trouble it has caused you or others. (Such as DUI charges, lost jobs, etc.)
  • How long you've been sober and if you've ever relapsed.
  • If you have completed a treatment program or are in sober housing.
  • Is there anything that your family member can do to help you?
  • What kinds of challenges are you facing?
  • Do you attend 12-step meetings? How do you feel about your sponsor>

Your family members may simply be curious or they may misconceptions about addiction. If they say something mean or hurtful, it's okay to end the conversation. They may be coming from a place of hurt or past experiences with addicted people. It's not your job to argue with them about the science of addiction. Sure, you can get their email to forward them some information. But you don't have to prove that your addiction is a serious disease that deserves treatment.

Consider Sober Housing

Many people who have attended either outpatient or inpatient treatment transition to sober housing once they complete the program.  It's a place to start to spread your wings and grow! There's both structure and independence, and you'll have the added benefit of living with people who are working towards similar goals.

Learn more about our programs and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077. We're happy to talk about your options.


If you or a loved one is looking for a safe and sober home in North County San Diego, call 760-216-2077. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

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