One of the hardest things for any addict to do is admit that he or she has a problem. No matter what the addiction – whether it is an alcohol, drug, gambling or sex addiction – recognising the problem in oneself is notoriously difficult.
It may be that it is just easier to deny the problem exists, or it may be shame and embarrassment that prevents an addict from accepting the reality of his or her situation. It is often the case that an ultimatum from a family member or a warning from a doctor pushes those with addiction into getting the help they need.
Telling Your Family
If you have finally decided to get help for your addiction, you may be worried about telling other people. It is highly unlikely that your family members are not already aware that you have a problem. Maybe your extended family do not know the full extent of what has been going on, but they will have noticed changes in your behaviour; that much is inevitable.
It is also very likely that they will be delighted that you are finally accepting the seriousness of your illness and that you are going about getting help. If you are married, your spouse could have been the one who gave you the ultimatum; if so, he or she will be thrilled that you have agreed to get help.
If you have children, how much they understand will all depend on their age, but again, they will be aware that something has not been quite right for a while. If your children are quite young, you and your spouse should sit down with them and explain that you have been unwell and that you will be going away for a while to get treatment. It is important to be honest with your kids because shielding them from the truth might mean they end up blaming themselves, or else imagine something much worse.
You may be surprised at how much your extended family members are aware of as well as how much support they are prepared to give to you and your immediate family. Do not let shame and embarrassment get in the way of accepting the help that could be a boon to your recovery efforts. Remember that you have an illness that you did not choose to have, in the same way that someone with cancer does not choose to be ill. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
You may find it harder to tell your friends than your family members, especially if these are friends who you regularly drink with. It will take courage and strength to stand up and tell these individuals that you have been struggling with addiction, but not doing it will be detrimental to your recovery. You may even find that some of your friends have been struggling themselves and are interested in where you will be getting treatment.
Some affected individuals put off getting help for addiction as they are afraid that it will affect their employment. It is likely that your employer and colleagues know that you are having problems. If they do not already know, they will do before too long, unless you get help. Addiction is a progressive illness and will get worse unless you get help now.
It is understandable that you may be wary when it comes to telling your employer that you are getting treatment for addiction. Some employers still have a certain misconception about addiction and believe it to be a moral issue rather than a health one.
If you work for a large company, there may be policies in place already. However, if you are unsure and are afraid to ask, you could ask your doctor to call up on behalf of an anonymous employee. He or she could ask what the company’s policy is on staff getting treatment for addiction and whether the company would be supportive of this.