Telling your family that you have been using drugs is a big decision. Whether you are coming clean because you face legal issues, you want to seek help, or because you are just tired of the lies, your honesty now is what counts. There are things you can do that will help you ease into this important next step.
Decide Who to Tell: You probably aren't comfortable telling everyone in the family, all the way down to your second cousins, nor would that necessarily be a good idea. For this first discussion, pick one or two family members who you feel close to and are comfortable speaking with.
Choose your time carefully: To keep the discussion as stress-free as possible, choose a time when the people you are going to tell won't have pressing obligations. In other words, avoid having this important conversation during your mother's lunch hour from work. Pick a time when everyone involved is going to be able to listen to you without keeping one eye on the clock. For some families, this may be during the morning coffee on the porch. For others, the evenings are best.
Write Some Notes: It will help you stay calm. Write out short hints to remind yourself of everything you want to say and in what order you wish to say it. It doesn't have to be pages long. A few hint words for each topic will work.
Practice: Give yourself one dress rehearsal before meeting with them. Imagine what reaction you will get and what questions will be asked and be prepared with answers.
Listen: Once you have said your piece, it is time to listen. Handle their reactions and concerns with an open mind. While they may have suspected your drug use, this admission removes all doubt, which can lead to hurt, anger, resentment and fear. Letting them voice their reaction about your drug use can begin the healing process.
Ask for Help: If the goal in telling the family is to get help, then ask for it. Whether help means asking them to watch your dog while you are in rehab, helping you to find an addiction specialist or simply being supportive, family members need to know what will assist you the most, and only you can tell them this information.