The road to our admission to a substance abuse problem has been long, and after a long period of suffering, we have decided to begin our recovery journey. We look to our family and friends for their support, and for some of us, we are surprised when we meet resistance or discouragement regarding our desire to begin the treatment process. These are the people we thought would have our backs, and now it seems that we are going to have to convince them that we need help instead. How do I convince my family I need recovery?
Many times, if we suffer from substance abuse, we are surrounded by some level of dysfunction within our families. Many in recovery come from families rife with these issues. In fact, substance abuse has been speculated to be a genetic trait. We also often learn the behaviors that lead to substance abuse issues from our family. This means that if we have decided to seek help for substance use, they may be in denial of how much this has impacted us.
There is also the situation of the “black sheep” of the family. Another frequent occurrence is substance abuse in individuals who come from good families who may have never experienced these things before. In these cases, it is often the thought of “no way that substance abuse could affect MY family” that leads to denial. In some cultures, it can even be seen as weak or taboo to seek outside help for a substance abuse issue, so the natural course is to just deny it exists.
Unfortunately, if our family is in denial, we may not be able to get much-needed support from them. Remember that support does not equate to love. Our families always love us in the best way they can, but they may not emotionally and mentally be able to support us due to their own issues or upbringing. Sometimes, learning this fact is the support we need to enter recovery because we realize that their denial has been enabling our behavior. The lack of support from family members is often what is needed, and can give us the impetus to change our own lives.
Another reason families may be hesitant to support our recovery is perhaps they do not know how severely our substance use impacts our lives. We may have told them some of our stories, but not the gritty details. It is not that we need to confess our darkest secrets to them, but we can let them know if our substance use is impacting our attendance at work, failures in higher education, and affecting our ability to be productive members of society. Saying “I miss a lot of work” does not have the same impact of letting them know how severe our attendance problem is.
When we are honest with our families about our substance use and the impact it is having on our lives, we give them the opportunity to make a more informed decision about the value that treatment could have for us. We now have taken accountability for our actions, which is an important skill as we navigate the roadmap to recovery. Being honest about our substance use allows our families and friends to see the whole picture. Whether or not that convinces them of our need for treatment is still their choice.
Ask for Support
While we may be talking to them about our need for treatment, we may not always ask for their support. Perhaps they have some kind of personal issues with treatment, so they have a hard time giving us their stamp of approval. Another way of seeking their approval is if we ask for love and support. They may be willing to give that anyway, simply because they love us. However, we cannot force everyone into making the same conclusions and decisions about something they have to give, even with something as vital to our health as treatment. Asking for support gives us that much more strength and determination to succeed in our recovery.
With or Without You
Most families are very supportive of treatment, but some are not. Whether it is due to dysfunction, denial, or just not being able to grasp how important treatment can be to us, we should never allow that to stop us from making our own decision. Treatment for substance use is life-changing, and when it comes to healing, this is a decision that we need to make. The support of our family could make easier for us, but it should not change our decision. It is important to get the help we need, with or without our families.
So how do I convince my family I need recovery? That is not always possible. The most important thing is that we convince ourselves. We can ask for approval and support. We can be open, honest, and accountable to them, but at the end of the day, this is our life and our treatment. As much as you may love your family and want their blessing, treatment is your choice. This is your life and your recovery. Don’t let anyone prevent your opportunity for healing.
Make the call to begin your treatment today. With or without your family’s support, your life matters. Make the call today. Call AToN Center at (888) 535-1516.