Alcoholism isn’t always super black and white. In fact, struggling with an addiction like alcohol rarely ever is. So how do you know when it’s time to tell those closest to you that you’re hurting? And even if you’ve determined that it’s time to confide in someone, how do you tell them something that you maybe don’t even totally understand yourself?
Here are six ways to tell your loved ones you’re an alcoholic:
Coming To Terms With Your Struggle
1. Recognizing Alcoholism
The first step toward telling your loved ones you suspect you’re battling an addiction is to come to terms with and recognize alcoholism in yourself.
Alcoholism, like many addictions, looks different for everyone. An addiction to alcohol can only be diagnosed by your medical provider, but there are helpful tools available that can lend clarity to your struggle.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of alcoholism:
- Obsessive thoughts about drinking
- Drinking with the intention of getting drunk
- Drinking when alone or at inappropriate times
Online assessments like the NCAAD Self-Test and the CAGE questionnaire are two other common resources that can be used to recognize alcoholism in yourself.
Determining Your Plan Of Action
2. Creating A Plan & What To Say
Once you’ve recognized the symptoms of addiction in yourself, it’s time to create a plan for what to say to your loved ones.
There’s no rule that says you have to tell everyone in your family or friend group that you’re seeking help. Instead, figure out the people you want to confide in and those you know will be supportive as you start the journey to recovery.
Once you’ve determined who you’re going to share with, start planning out what you’ll say.
Coming right out and saying, “I think I’m an alcoholic,” to the people you love the most might not be the easiest route. Instead, consider talking about how you’ve been struggling lately and what that’s looked like for you. Why do you believe you might be abusing alcohol? And remember, your news may come as a shock to some friends and family members, but chances are if they’re close to you, they’ve noticed that you haven’t been yourself.
3. Ask For A Family Meeting In A Familiar Setting
Your plan of action for telling your loved ones you’re an alcoholic culminates in asking for a family meeting in a familiar setting.
The conversation you’re about to have is already going to be uncomfortable and hard, so do your best to lessen the toughness factor by having your meeting in a location that’s comforting and familiar to you and the people you’ll be talking with.
Public or private, it really doesn’t matter. Maybe you feel the best sharing this kind of news in a quiet corner of your favorite coffee shop, while some prefer to talk in the kitchen of their own home. Whatever place you choose, make sure you specifically communicate the time and day so no one’s unnecessarily confused leading up to the meeting.
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Communicating Your Struggle
4. Be Straightforward & Honest
Now that your meeting is set and you have your closest people gathered, it’s time to do the actual work of telling them what you’ve been going through.
When communicating your struggle, it’s important to be straightforward and honest. Don’t use general, vague statements or try to sugarcoat anything to make yourself or your loved ones feel better about your addiction.
The more honest you can be about what you’re walking through, the easier it is for your family and friends to help in this battle.
5. Ask For Support
Most of us don’t like asking for help. It’s humbling and it’s hard, but your loved ones care about you, and they want you to be the best version of yourself, so it’s time to ask for their support.
It’s not your friends and family’s responsibility to “fix” or “cure” your addiction, that journey to sobriety can only be walked by you, but you can ask for them to be there with you on the road to recovery.
6. Use Language You’re Comfortable Using
The final way to tell your loved ones you’re an alcoholic is by using language you’re comfortable with.
There’s no need to get super technical or overly detailed with everything you’re going through. Even using the word “alcoholic” can be super trigging at this stage. If you don’t feel comfortable saying you’re an alcoholic, don’t. Instead, frame your struggle in the way that’s the most accurate, and the most comfortable for you. Those closest to you will understand.
You’re never alone when dealing with alcohol addiction, and the people who love you the most want to be there to walk through this time with you, you just need to tell them. The above are six ways to do just that. Riverside Recovery of Tampa is available to help with alcohol treatment options, simply contact our admissions team.