We absorb so much from our families: behaviours, beliefs, ideas, and approaches to people and life. Asking your family for help when struggling with addiction can be a difficult hurdle, and resources are available to support you through this.
Family relationships can be incredibly complex, and filled with pre-existing dynamics and issues that may lead to higher-pressure interactions at times.
There are hundreds of factors involved in what makes you you, and although your family history has a part to play in your life story, a history of addiction doesn’t need to continue with you.
If you have lived with or been raised by someone with an addiction, you have seen the damage addiction can cause to relationships, and the ongoing traumatic effects to those around the addicted person.
Many respond to this trauma by using it as a motivator, using it as a tool to help encourage them to avoid anything that could lead to or fuel their own struggle. This isn’t as simple as simply ‘deciding’ not to have the same issues though – there needs to be an active choice to break your family’s trend and begin to forge your own path away from the habits you have grown up with.
If you are in a situation where your family has substance abuse issues and you are trying to move away from the lifestyle and risks, it can add a more difficult element to your recovery. If you have an amicable relationship with your family, it may be worth reaching out and asking if this is a journey you can go on together, offering mutual support as you work to recover.
Family members can be enablers of addictive behaviours, often without considering how their actions or words can impact you.
By being open about your struggle and your desire to put your life back on track, you are unconsciously urging them to look at their own relationship with substances, which can be challenging for them. This isn’t a negative or something to avoid but can help you understand some potentially negative or inconsiderate reactions you may receive.
Your road to addiction recovery requires a lot of strength, and support from your family can help make the journey easier and more successful, although you can also source external support from friends, coaches, and counsellors as well.
Being transparent with your family might not always be the easiest option – as with all families and relationships, there can be unidentified elements of the relationship that are more of a burden than a support. The essential note at the centre of this is that you are trying to become the best version of yourself for you, and you have the strength to do that without them if you need to.
It can be helpful to have someone to help you navigate family dynamics – ACAU can help with having important conversations and working to build an open and honest dialogue with your family, working towards a more positive relationship.
If you need help, the first step is admitting it to yourself and asking for help – your family is a great place to start!
Regardless of the state of your relationship with your family, if you’re open and honest you may be pleasantly surprised at their response – it takes a lot of strength and vulnerability, but can be incredibly worthwhile!
With the negative stigma around addiction, it can be hard to broach organically – the awkwardness or jarring feeling of beginning the conversation is incomparable to the relief of knowing the ball is rolling.
With media coverage and public knowledge of addiction growing, conversations about addiction are becoming increasingly easier, as well as great help being widely available through a number of platforms and organisations, including ACAU.
By working with an experienced and quality team and support network, you will work through a thorough recovery process. This will not only be focussed on regaining control of your life and relationship with your addiction, but also address your past behaviours and their ramifications.
This includes working to apologise and repair relationships that have been impacted by your addiction. Be prepared to start your journey by undertaking raw and honest conversations that encourage transparency, forgiveness, and making amends.
This is an ongoing process, and can give you and your family the opportunity to mend and start a new relationship through open communication and deep care.