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How do I tell my parents that I struggle with an addiction?

18 Answers
Last Updated: 05/04/2020 at 9:04pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.

Top Rated Answers
December 2nd, 2014 6:50am
Tell your parents that you need to tell them something really important but don't throw it on them let them know that its a struggle and something that you may be looking for support in. If you throw it on them they might get the wrong idea and maybe take it the wrong way. When you let them know calmly they will fully understand and listen to what your saying.
December 4th, 2014 7:48am
For me, personally, I didn't tell them until I was 2 years into recovery. They were not safe for me to tell, and so I waited until *I* felt healthy enough to handle any response they had. My recovery is about me, and it's important that I keep only the safest people in my recovery support system.
October 24th, 2016 4:49pm
Hi there. First of all I'd like to commend you for tackling the issue of addiction. No-one sets out to be an addict, and it's largely misunderstood and vilified. Talking it out with your parents is a great place to start, since they know you better than anyone. My advice would be to prepare them by letting them know you have something important you want to discuss with them, and schedule a time when the three of you can be alone over a cup of tea/coffee. This way, they'll be mentally prepared to hear important news from you. I would also advise to tell them the story from the beginning, with as much detail as you'd like to include. Make sure they're aware that addictions mask underlying issues, and are very misunderstood. I would also advise letting them know about what was going on for you when the addiction started. Ease them gently into the narrative - even write it down on a piece of paper if you feel nervous or are afraid you might leave something out. That's what I would do in your shoes anyway. And fair play to you - addiction is an awful illness. By tackling it head on you're making the steps to get better. I wish you the very best of luck, not only with your parents, but with your journey to recovery.
February 21st, 2017 6:59am
It can be daunting sometimes to tell your parents such a serious thing. From personal experience, I know that the best way to do this is to come from a humble standpoint. Admit to yourself first that you have a hurdle to overcome. When you're ready, tell your parents first why you're having this conversation, whatever it may be for you. For me, it was because I needed them most and relied on their support. Tell them honestly what you're experiencing, and why you need them. They will understand, and hopefully be your greatest weapon on conquering your hurdle.
October 19th, 2015 12:08pm
I Know this is a bit late but if you haven't told them yet, or if this is another person reading this who's having the same problem , you might consider writing a letter, their initial reaction is what's most scary about it, so a letter would give them time to know how to handle the situation right, make sure you're not in the house when they're reading it for the first time, I Hope everything goes well for you.
October 20th, 2015 7:16am
First off, I understand how hard it is battling an addiction. Be honest with them about what is going on. Your parents love you, and only want the best for you. It's going to mean a lot to them that you're honest and straightforward about what you're struggling with. They want to help you, so sit both of them down and talk. :)
January 7th, 2019 2:48am
I've been through this myself and it seems so impossible to do but I found that just being honest about my addiction was the best way to approach it. I would set a time to talk to your parents and just go for it. you'll be surprised at how much of a relief it is to let it out. Parents can be hard at times but they love us and can help us more than we think. Whem dealing eith addiction, having a strong support system is very very important in recovery. Good luck and best wishes to you. talking to your parents takes courage. you are strong in doing so.
November 30th, 2014 9:46pm
A good way to start is to admit to your parents that you do have something important to talk about with them, that you are struggling with something, whether it be drugs, alcohol, whatever. It may not be the easiest thing to admit to your parents, but once you do, you will feel much better about getting the help for the addiction. Your parents are there to help you, not to criticize your lifestyle.
December 1st, 2014 3:21am
Just be open and honest with them. They will be worried more than likely, but they will also want to ensure you get the help you deserve. It may seem hard, but its better to tell them sooner than later!
January 3rd, 2015 1:01pm
Honesty is key, you need to be straight up and tell them what it is that you're addicted to, and why it is that you feel as though you're using this drug.
December 2nd, 2014 4:40am
Be sure you're ready for that step. Try to prepare yourself for many questions: how did this start, what's your addiction, etc. It is not an easy step so if you feel like it would be easier to seek outside help then you may want to try that approach before going to your parents.
December 16th, 2014 6:58am
Get them at a time when they are comfortable, probably not advised to do this when they are tense. So, get them at ease and ask them to please sit down because you want to tell them something. Assure them you want help, or are interested in getting help, because this can be of comfort to them. Ask them if they could try and see things from your point of view, but be careful in how you word this. Good luck. It'll be okay.
December 18th, 2014 2:55pm
Have a serious sit down talk with them. Get them together in one room and tell them how bad you feel about it.
June 30th, 2015 2:28am
Having been down the road of alcohol in my young days I understand you may find it very hard to tell your family of your addiction. Perhaps if you have a close friend you trust they could go with you. Ask them to say this to or simmilar. Your may know Bill has has had some strugles recently. In trying to cope he has turned to drugs. I hope you dont mined me telling you as he felt uneasy about comming to you with this. If I could help you to assist him in seeking help in overcoming his addiction I would be happy to help.
October 9th, 2015 4:41am
I did not tell my parents for years. Now I am terminal from heart failure and don't know how I can tell them. Do it while you can. You won't regret it.
December 26th, 2014 5:37am
Be honest, explain that you want and need help, say that you want them to be a part of your recovery
September 29th, 2015 7:45pm
come out and say it you need help and hopefully they will understand that you need professional help :)
May 4th, 2020 9:04pm
Struggling with an addiction can be hard and uncontrollable at times. Start by explaining to your parents that an addiction is tough to handle on your own and that it a big step for you that you are reaching out to them for help. Say, "Mom and dad, I am struggling with an addiction," Being honest and straight to the point will show that you are serious. Explain to them what your addiction is. Continue to ask them if there is anything that they can do for you to help you overcome the struggle of addiction. Give them time to process what you are telling them.