-The following was submitted by an alumni
If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re young, struggling with drugs and alcohol, and terrified to tell your parents. Drug addiction can be scary for anyone, but when you are young and trying your best to hide it, it can seem almost impossible to get through. I understand, because I’ve been there. I struggled with drugs and alcohol until I was 21, and I wasn’t able to get sober for a long time, because I was too afraid to ask for help.
Every day I struggled to find the right words, the right time, the right way to tell my parents I had a drug addiction. The time never seemed to come; neither did the words. I was terrified of how they would react or what they would think. What if they kicked me out of the house? They would be so disappointed in me. I was supposed to do great things with my life, and instead I became a drug addict. Does this sound familiar? If it does, you should know that you do not have feel alone. Help is available to you, and there are ways to tell your parents about your drug addiction.
I do not pretend to have all of the answers. I can only tell you my experience and hope that it will help. My drug and alcohol use began in high school. It was the typical story you hear of a high school student drinking beer at a party after a football game. The first time I drank alcohol, not much really happened. Yes, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have that instant feeling of relief that many people say they experience. It was just something to do, because everyone else was. Nevertheless, I continued to drink alcohol after that day, at heavier intervals, and started to realize how amazing it made me feel. I looked forward to Friday night football games, because I knew drinking was going to follow it.
Soon, alcohol wasn’t enough, and I began dabbling with pot and cocaine, and started abusing pain pills after a sports injury. By the time I was ready to graduate, I had spiraled into full blown drug addiction…and I didn’t even know it at the time. I had convinced myself that I was young and having fun, and this is what people my age did. Wow, was I in denial!! A normal 17 year old’s breakfast does not consist of Percocet and warm beer. Although my habits were far from healthy, I was still able to pull off good grades and play sports, so hiding and justifying my drug addiction seemed easy to me.
It wasn’t until I went to college that my addiction took me to dark places. My grades began to slip and I was no longer playing sports. All of my time, attention, and money went to supporting my habit. I no longer had control over my thoughts or actions; I was no longer in charge of my own life. Every day I would wake up and tell myself that today would be different, but it never was. I kept wishing that someone would just be able to realize I was hurting, but that day never came. Loneliness and fear took over…and then hopelessness set in. I needed help and I was terrified to ask for it.
Telling My Parents About My Drug Addiction
Drug addiction has a funny way of having you believe whatever it wants you to. Logic and reason no longer existed for me. I was convinced my parents would disown me; that they would leave me homeless and broken. My addiction also had me believe that no one knew about my struggles; that I was a master genius at hiding it from everyone. Little did I know, my parents would be all but shocked when I told them the truth.
The conversation came after I totaled my car and was looking at legal consequences. Sometimes I regret allowing it to get to that point, but mostly I know that’s where I needed to end up to fully surrender. I began with asking my parents to take some time after dinner to talk to me, with no one else present. I needed their full attention, and honestly, I didn’t need the audience of my younger siblings. The anxiety I felt that night was so overpowering, I genuinely believed this would be the last time I would be welcome in their home. I thought I was going to choke on the words, but then something unexplainable happened.
The words seemed to just come out; like someone else was saying them. It was if I was having an out-of-body experience. Today, I whole-heartedly believe my Higher Power spoke for me that day. Additionally, there is something beautiful and freeing about finally telling the truth. I no longer felt that heavy weight on my shoulders that I had carried around for years.
“Mom and Dad, I need you to hear me. And, before you say anything, I need you to really listen. Please try to find it in your hearts to forgive me, because I’m scared and feel alone. Please try to find some compassion and patience.”
I then proceeded to tell them everything; from beginning to the very end. Not surprisingly, my mom cried…my dad just put his head in his hands. Nevertheless, I had found the answer I had been searching for. They told me they loved me and that they knew something wasn’t right. They were glad I finally came to them and wondered why I it took me so long. A part of me had to laugh at my insanity…the other part just sobbed. Even though I still had a mountain of wreckage to clean up and a drug dependency to address, I felt free.
Getting Help For Your Drug Addiction
There is no one way to ask for help. Many times, addicts and alcoholics have to seek out the help for themselves. Sometimes, they need to reach out to loved ones first. While that is my experience, there are other ways of going about it. If you are juggling with the right way to tell your family, you can also consult with an addiction specialist or therapist. Often times, having an unbiased opinion can help mediate the situation and provide suggestions on what to say, or how to say it. They can certainly offer insight on how to approach the conversation without it leading to a confrontation.
The one thing I would say to those that are young and struggling to tell their parents is this: Everything good in life is right on the other side of fear. For years, I allowed my fear to cripple me. It kept me sick and broken for longer than I needed to be, only to find out that my loved ones knew something was wrong all along. We may believe we are incredibly talented at hiding it and deceiving people, but in reality, the only person we are deceiving is ourselves. That is how our disease grows in strength. If you are struggling with drug addiction, you should know that help is available and recovery is possible, even when you are young. Going to treatment and following up with a program of recovery most certainly saved my life. It can happen for you too. You just have to take the first step. Don’t allow fear to dictate your future. Let today be the day that you take back your life.
Contact Clearbrook Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, we can help. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing quality treatment for chemical dependency. Located in the beautiful mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, you will have the opportunity to recover in a peaceful environment. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and begin your intake process.