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Thoughts on 'fessing up to family?

Old 01-21-2009, 10:30 PM
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Thoughts on 'fessing up to family?

Throughout my addictions to alcohol and other drugs, I have been careful not to let my family know any of it. They knew I drank, but never how much. My sister sort of caught on, but when my parents asked about it I was able to write the whole thing off. Thanks to some weird family dynamics (my sister is special needs) my parents accepted what I said; they have always put on blinders about me so they can focus on my sister. In addition, they have never been around drugs or people who use them so they had no way to know when I would come over high.

The other night I was at a low point and no one I would normally call to help me through it was available. And just so someone would understand, or at least be sympathetic, I was considering telling my mom everything: the booze, the drugs, whatever. My parents are politically and socially pretty liberal but they have always made it clear drugs are not acceptable and ultimately I decided not to say anything. I am worried about how my parents would react and until I am more firmly independent of them I think I should keep quiet, if I ever tell them at all. I think they would understand the alcohol problem. They would not understand the cocaine or meth though.

Any thoughts on coming clean to your family?
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:34 AM
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Good question.. My parents didn't find out that I was abusing alcohol until I ended up in jail. They don't drink or do any drugs. Its my problem so I don't try to involve them. I dont know if thats the right way to go about it but if you're getting better without letting them know, then there's no need to tell them. If you're struggling to get better then letting them know might help.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:26 AM
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I think this is pretty individual probably.

Amost everyone i know knows i am an alchoholic/addict. well....some people professionally don't know...but even my professional contacts that i've known for years are aware.

I suppose there is an up side and a down side to people knowing, but in the end it's a whole lot easier to get on with my sobriety if i'm not having to avoid and slide over the fact that i'm dealing with this disease.

I remember with my alchoholism/addiction and with another large issue in my life...when i finally told friends and family what the issue was...they were so realieved...the common response was "well that explains a lot".

but you can't take it back once you tell so I think some considertion as to what is the best action for everyone about this is definatly a good idea...what is best for them as well (not short term but long term best )
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:30 AM
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Everybody I knew well absolutely knew I had a drinking problem. I started getting questions like "You haven't been smashed lately have you?" or "Did you quit drinking?".

So I told basically anyone that asked.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:57 AM
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I agree with ananda. Its certainly a personal individual decision. Whatever you need to do to feel good about yourself and get the support you need, thats the only advice I have. When I told my dad about my drinking he said "Did you really think that I didn't know?" I was relieved in a way, and upset also because he never said anything, but that was his decision to make and this one is yours. I wish you the best.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gneiss View Post
Any thoughts on coming clean to your family?
My family had a pretty good clue that I was involved in drugs and most assuredly they knew I over drank. So there wasn't much to tell.

But I can see your apprehensiveness about telling parents about your drug and alcohol abuse when they may not know much about addiction. Who knows if your parents see drug addiction or abuse as a moral issue or what. I guess depending on there view of the whole issue of drug use could strain your relationship with them or bring empathy and understanding and that could strengthen your relationship with them.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:33 AM
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My family had an idea when I couldn't talk, walk, and/or wake up.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:45 AM
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I think that everyone I know knew I had a drink problem, they probably wouldn't have called me an alcoholic but I'm sure that is what they thought.

I don't have a problem now discussing it, I am strangely more embarressed about talking about sobriety.

I'm not sure, however, whether I should tell people I meet in the future about my problems?

It's probably better to be honest, but who wants to be known as an alkie from the outset?
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:14 AM
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For 20 years I was so careful to hide my drug use from EVERYONE. I produced my own, used alone, isolated to large extent, while being responsible to my work and obligations so no-one knew, of course so to be able to use without being restricted. I think that's a primary fear for not telling others about one's use, being "watched" or otherwise provoking suspicion about use. If others know, you're not so free to indulge freely.

The week I filed for divorce I then told my family about the addiction, the drug treatment program a year earlier, the trying unsuccessfully to get clean, difficult in a marriage with a partner who used (some of) the drugs I did, the mess I'd created.

They were relieved I told them. It helped them understand why I was so aloof, so distant, so private.

I'm glad they know, have known for 2 years. But until I was serious about quitting, I wouldn't have told them. It would have caused a lot of conflict. They would have "interfered" with my using. I'd have become even more distant, perhaps worse.

But yes, a very personal decision, as others say here. Good luck making your choice
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:45 PM
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Anybody that really knew me knew before I did! While I don't go into too much detail with friends and family they are all extremely happy that I have decided to stop killing myself.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:49 PM
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pray about it... let your HP guide you in this.
obviously being open about it is going to be most beneficial for you,
but timing is CRUCIAL....

i wish you the best.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennMatthew View Post
pray about it... let your HP guide you in this.
obviously being open about it is going to be most beneficial for you,
but timing is CRUCIAL....

i wish you the best.
Thanks. Never thought I'd get that particular advice on SC though. I actually can't quite tell if you're joking or not.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennMatthew View Post
pray about it... let your HP guide you in this.
obviously being open about it is going to be most beneficial for you,
but timing is CRUCIAL....
Glen,

This is the secular forum, as in people who are largely atheist or agnostic. Telling someone here to "pray about it" or "let your HP guide you" is the same as going into a Jewish or Muslim forum and telling them to "eat pork over it".
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:03 AM
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Wow, lots of really good things have been said here so far. I agree that it's an incredibly individual decision, and you know your folks and we don't , but here's my two cents:
If one of my kids came to me and told me they were addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, my heart would totally break for them but I would want them to know that I love them and support them. I would just want them to get better, and if I could provide any support for that at all, I'd certainly want to.

So that's me responding as a mom. Here's me responding as a drunk:
I'm 38 and my parents don't have a clue. They probably never will. My mom lives 12 hours away. My dad lives in the same city as me, and we get together once a week or once every two weeks, casually. They don't KNOW me and haven't really since I moved out when I was 17. My dad has repeatedly disappointed me in the past, and my mom is just... ugh... high maintenance drama queen. It wouldn't do ANY of us any good if they knew I had an alcohol problem. So for me personally, I doubt I will ever tell either one of them. Sure, I'll tell them I don't drink anymore - I just won't say why.

How long have you been clean and sober? I think I agree the most with fall when he said,
But until I was serious about quitting, I wouldn't have told them. It would have caused a lot of conflict. They would have "interfered" with my using. I'd have become even more distant, perhaps worse.
I'm sure you don't want this to become a PROBLEM in your relationship with your parents. So if you're telling them about RECOVERY - great. If you're telling them about a still-active addiction, you might want to hold off a bit.

Best wishes.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by dgillz View Post
Glen,

This is the secular forum, as in people who are largely atheist or agnostic. Telling someone here to "pray about it" or "let your HP guide you" is the same as going into a Jewish or Muslim forum and telling them to "eat pork over it".
Very funny. Hopefully he was just kidding and if not perhaps we should chip in and get him a dictionary.

Last edited by Fubarcdn; 01-23-2009 at 09:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:11 AM
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He probably didn't realize what forum he was in.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
Wow, lots of really good things have been said here so far. I agree that it's an incredibly individual decision, and you know your folks and we don't .
I have not been close to my parents since I was 13 (I am 27 now). It was more than the normal teenage angst thing: My sister (the only other child in the family) was in a car accident and suffered brain damage from which she has never fully recovered. After that, as mentioned above, they just sort of ignored me and focused on her. They provided a place to live and food to eat, but I basically raised myself from that point on. That's not to say my parents don't love me, but we are not close and we never will be. This keeps me from telling them about much of anything, from my grades in school to my drug/alcohol addictions to the fact that I am in a serious relationship (my parents think we're *just friends*. We are discussing long-term plans like moving in together and custody/visitation arrangements for his daughter once we move away for grad school).


Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
How long have you been clean and sober? I think I agree the most with fall when he said, I'm sure you don't want this to become a PROBLEM in your relationship with your parents. So if you're telling them about RECOVERY - great. If you're telling them about a still-active addiction, you might want to hold off a bit.
Best wishes.
Three weeks, as of yesterday. I think that still counts as an active addiction because I still am fighting cravings and withdrawal a little bit. I started trying to get sober in early October 2008 but did not have much luck until I finally got away from all the people I used with. You and fall raise a good point that I had not really considered yet: since I am not close to my parents, telling them would probably just mean drama, especially from my mom because she likes drama because she gets attention for it.

Originally Posted by fall View Post
I think that's a primary fear for not telling others about one's use, being "watched" or otherwise provoking suspicion about use. If others know, you're not so free to indulge freely.
It's not that I want to be free to indulge, though that's a good point. My boyfriend watches me pretty carefully (he's also had drug and alcohol abuse problems, so I don't get weirded out about it). Mostly though I feel like telling them would put me under a microscope with a big spotlight shining on me, and some neon signs that say ADDICT above my head. I would never again be free to visit my grandparents' house, because grandma is on oxycontin and oxycodone, which I would take when I couldn't get anything else, etc. I'm doing ok and I don't want the pressure of feeling like I'm giving a performance of what drug and alcohol recovery should look like.

All that to say I think I'm better off not telling them for now. See, I'm glad I didn't say anything the other night and just waited for it to pass. And posted here.

I am glad to report that for the first time since I started taking drugs, today I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow. I'm not so terrible-looking after all." Drugs make you ugly.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:22 AM
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That definitely is a reality of telling family about an addiction, you will be watched. Which could be helpful if you're serious about quitting, because you'll have their support as well as watchful eye. Though I warn you, if you're not serious, you will become resentful of their watchfulness, and like a good drug user, you'll sneak around and find ways to use, and then you'll have a bigger problem for how that will make you feel about them and about you. Drugs do make you ugly, that's true.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by fall View Post
That definitely is a reality of telling family about an addiction, you will be watched. Which could be helpful if you're serious about quitting, because you'll have their support as well as watchful eye. Though I warn you, if you're not serious, you will become resentful of their watchfulness, and like a good drug user, you'll sneak around and find ways to use, and then you'll have a bigger problem for how that will make you feel about them and about you. Drugs do make you ugly, that's true.
I'm serious about quitting. I'm at about 3 and a half weeks. Last night I deleted my dealers' phone numbers from my cell phone. I did not do it earlier because I guess I still wanted the option available. But after some silly drama with old drug buddies last night who had taken some hydrocodone and were drinking I realized in a way I never had before that that part of my life is over. I feel good, a lot of my problems have vanished, and I'm over it. I think I'm not out of the woods yet, as far as cravings are concerned but I made it through the worst of it and I know I will be ok.

I'd become resentful of my parents watching me either way. My boyfriend watches me and I appreciate it; I don't feel like he is accusing me of doing drugs, just watching out for me. He helps me stay out of trouble and he knows what to look for since he has his own substance issues. My parents would think any late night out, any morning I sleep in, and any time I actually get sick would mean I was using again. They don't know what to look for, and they would spend a lot of time asking me if I was doing drugs. I don't want the pressure.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:07 PM
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Excellent Gneiss! Sometimes seeing things in a different light requires some painful looking and realizations, but also, all for the better if the end result steers you in a positive direction. My folks are always worried about my return to using, but they haven't a clue what the signs would be if I were to return to it. I appreciate and love my folks but there are subjects we do not and really can not discuss. And that's OK. They're mom and dad, they worry about their kids (even though I'm 40!) I keep in touch with them and through that, they can see that I'm OK. If I have trouble with drugs I have friends I can trust to discuss the matter with. Keep your support lines open and and strong. It's tough to change old behaviors, to learn new ways. Surround yourself with strength and support of those you can trust. You'll do well!
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