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How to Tell Your Parents You’re an Addict

How To Tell Your Parents You're An Addict

Admitting you have a problem with drugs or alcohol to yourself is a big first step, but the next step may be the daunting task of telling your parents.

No one should have to go through recovery alone. While residential addiction treatment surrounds you with people who are there to support you during early recovery, long-term success usually requires outside support as well. Friends and family can be a helpful resource for many recovering addicts, but first, you need to tell your parents you’re an addict.

How to Talk About Your Addiction with Your Parents

The idea of telling your parents you are a drug addict or alcoholic can be frightening. You may feel like you have disappointed them and fear that they will react poorly but telling them is better than trying to keep it hidden any longer. Once you get this off your chest you will likely feel relieved, and together you can focus on moving forward. Because this talk can be uncomfortable, our drug treatment centers are sharing some tips on how to tell your parents you’re an addict.


For a conversation like this, timing is important. You want to give your parents plenty of time to digest what you tell them and ample time to talk it out together. Avoid telling them when they are about to go somewhere, or they are preoccupied with other things. A good time may be after dinner when they have nothing planned for the night.

Be Sober

This is a big conversation, so it is important to come ready and come sober. While alcohol may offer liquid courage and drugs could numb the pain, being drunk or high will take away from the authenticity of the conversation. It may also cause you to say something you do not mean or cloud your judgment.

Be Honest

In the past, you may have jumped through hoops to cover up your addiction and hide your problems. Now that you are coming clean about your addiction with your parents, there is no sense continuing to lie. You might as well be completely honest with them and let it all out now. Not only will you feel a lot better, but also your parents will have a much better understanding of what you have been going through when you tell them everything


It is likely that while you were using or drinking you hurt your family in some way, shape, or form. You may have lied to their face, stolen money from them, taken advantage of their enabling behavior, or broken promises. While having this conversation, now is a good time to also apologize for your mistakes. Your family will likely appreciate it and recognize that this apology means you are serious about making a change.


There is no easy way to tell someone you are a drug addict, but if you are struggling to do it face-to-face, you could try writing a letter instead. A letter allows you to be open and get everything off your chest without being interrupted or stopping out of fear of your parents’ reaction.

They May Already Know

Trying to determine how to tell your parents you’re an addict can be daunting, but they may already know or at least suspect you have a problem. A substance use problem comes with noticeable physical, mental, and behavioral changes that your parents may have already picked up on. In fact, they may have even tried to confront you in the past about drugs or alcohol, but you were not ready to listen.

Find Someone in Your Corner

Everyone’s parents are different, and some may react better than others. If telling your parents did not go as well as you hoped, give them time to take in the information and turn to someone else you trust. Especially if you have a loved one who is also in recovery or has someone close to them who struggles with addiction, they will likely be more accepting. You should find someone you can count on as you take the next step with a detox program and treatment.

At Banyan Treatment Centers, we understand that addiction and recovery are difficult. Whether or not your parents are ready to support you, we are here. With locations across the United States, we help people across the country find lasting sobriety.

To begin your journey to recovery and relief, call us today at 888-280-4763.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
How to Tell Your Parents You’re an Addict
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