How to Handle Families Affected by Parental Substance Use

Discussing Your Substance Use With Family

When you struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), it can be hard to talk to anyone about it, especially your family. Feelings of guilt and shame surround the topic, making it difficult to start that conversation. However, it is a necessary conversation to have.

Explain What Substance Use Disorder Is

The best way to start the conversation is to explain what SUD is. Then, explain how a dysfunction in the brain makes it difficult to halt substance use.

You can explain how the dysfunction works, as it is a miswiring of synapses in your brain. This miswiring means that your brain will want to use substances and bypass the thought process that would make you consider your safety or rational thought.

For some people, it can be difficult to see how addiction works. They might say, “Why can’t you just stop?” But, unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. While addiction cannot be cured, it is considered a chronic yet treatable condition.

Be Vulnerable

Being vulnerable can be one of the hardest things to do during this conversation, as it requires a lot of self-strength. With that, it can be incredibly rewarding and helps strengthen the bond with your family. Being vulnerable means being honest about how you feel and the actions that you have made in active addiction. If you can tell your family that you are scared or worried that you may not be able to get sober on your own, you may be able to get the help that you need. They might even become the support system you need.

What if Your Family Rejects You?

There is a very real possibility that your family may reject you. You can burn many bridges when you are in active addiction, and the people closest to you are usually the ones you hurt the most. So, what are you supposed to do?

If that’s the case, you should first see if you can mend those bridges. Your family can be your strongest support system. However, there is the possibility that you won’t have your family’s support.

Many different circumstances can deter you from going to your family. Since substance use disorder can be a genetic disease, you may have family that still struggle with their substance use disorders and may not be capable of helping you.

If that is the case, the best thing you can do is go to those you see as close to you as family. Family does not have to be biological. A family is a group of people that support you and want to see what is best for you.

In this case, your family should want to help you with your substance use disorder.

Talk About the Future

During these conversations, it can be easy to dwell on the past. The things that you may have done wrong or the people you may have hurt. While these are valid and need to be discussed, you should also discuss the future. Talk about recovery and what your recovery journey looks like.

After admitting to addiction, you might consider going somewhere for proper treatment. Talk to your family about this. Life doesn’t stop moving while you are in treatment. You will need people to help pay your bills while you are away or take care of your pets. Your family should be there to support you.

Additionally, you may need emotional support. Having your family is not just about the logistical issues. Emotional support is just as important. Recovery is a hard journey, especially in the early days. You may need to rely on your family for support to help you get through the restructuring that recovery entails. It doesn’t have to be much.

Family being there for you emotionally can look like many different things. It can mean having someone to talk to when you’ve had a triggering day. Another way they can help is by supporting the new activities and hobbies you pick up, which can be as simple as going on a walk with you. While these are all small acts your family can do, they will strengthen your sobriety. These also give good opportunities for you to mend some of the harm you may have caused in active addiction.

Find Healing in Colorado

At Healing Pines Recovery, you can start to live a sober life, and we can show you how. We also offer resources to loved ones on how they can help you through it. When you are in active addiction, it can feel isolating at times. In recovery, you may find the opposite. Your family can play a critical part in that, and at Healing Pines Recovery, they can show you how to take the first steps.

Talking about substance use can be stressful, but even more so when talking about it to your family. When talking to family about substance use, remember that they don’t have all the knowledge and first-hand experience you may have.

Being understanding of each other is a significant factor in having a healthy conversation about substance use. Remind yourself that the choices you have made to improve your life are so you can have a better future, so explain this to your family.

If you struggle with substance use and identify as male, our team at Healing Pines Recovery is here to help guide you through recovery. Call us today at (720) 575-2621.

Have questions about Healing Pines?

We are 24/7 available to help you! Call or visit us in Elizabeth, Colorado.

We’re within driving distance from Denver or Colorado Springs, and anywhere within Elbert County or Douglas County.