How To Tell Family & Friends That You Need To Go Rehab

It’s normal to feel stressed when telling your loved ones you need addiction treatment. To make the conversation easier, choose the right place and time, be honest and patient, prepare answers to common questions, and ask for help from a therapist, support group, or trusted friend if you need it. You could also explain your decision in a letter instead.

It’s not easy to admit you have substance use disorder (drug addiction). Although this disease affects millions of Americans, it still attracts a great deal of stigma. 

As a result, when you make the life-saving choice to seek treatment, you might hesitate to tell your loved ones.

By telling your loved ones you need rehab, you take your first step toward creating a strong support network. 

Anyone recovering from addiction (or any other disease) must have this type of network for encouragement and motivation. In addition, even if some of your family members or friends don’t support you, they need to know about your decision to build a drug-free life.

To make the discussion as easy and effective as possible, it’s important to plan ahead. In particular, you should:

Choose The Right Place & Time

Admitting you have an addiction can cause a significant amount of anxiety. That’s why you should hold the discussion in a calm, quiet environment. Also, set aside enough time to fully explain your situation and answer any questions your loved ones might have. 

Be Open & Honest

When battling addiction, you may have hidden the truth from your loved ones. As you start your recovery journey, you can also start striving for honesty. 

Tell your loved ones how your addiction has impacted your mental health and why you decided that now is the time to seek treatment. Your openness will help demonstrate your commitment to a healthy, honest life. 

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Ask For Support

You should also ask for support throughout the recovery process. Explain how your loved ones can assist you as you navigate your treatment plan. 

For instance, they could visit you in rehab or write you letters. Some substance abuse treatment programs also offer family therapy, in which a mental health professional can help you and those you love rebuild strong relationships. 

Ask For Help Choosing A Treatment Center

You may also want to ask for help choosing an addiction treatment center if you have not already done so. If you get overwhelmed by the number of options, your loved ones can calm you down, making it easier to choose a facility that meets your personal needs. 

Be Patient & Understanding

It’s normal to hope your loved ones will respond to your news with pure support and compassion. 

However, some people might react with other emotions, such as shock, fear, or anger. Make space for these feelings, keeping in mind that they stem from your loved ones’ own anxieties. In other words, they don’t reflect you or your worth. 

Stay Calm & Set Boundaries

Try to remain calm as you clarify why you need rehab. At the same time, set clear boundaries. Some people might try to convince you to avoid professional help. 

They might fear that rehab will damage your reputation. Also, if any of your loved ones have addictions of their own, they might dislike the idea of you going to rehab because it forces them to think about their own problems.

No matter the reason, if a loved one tries to prevent you from seeking addiction treatment, stay strong. Explain that you have already made your decision and that if they can’t support it, you may not be able to continue the relationship.

Prepare Answers To Common Questions

Your loved ones will likely have questions about your rehab plan. That’s why you should gather information about any treatment facilities or treatment services you are considering. 

Keeping these details on hand will help you answer your loved ones’ questions quickly and effectively. Some common questions they might ask include:

  • whether you plan to seek inpatient or outpatient treatment
  • how long you plan to stay in treatment
  • what types of treatments you plan to receive
  • how your loved ones can keep in touch with you during treatment

You might also get questions about your drug abuse and overall well-being. 

For instance, your loved ones may ask if you experience any other mental health problems that led you to misuse drugs in the first place. You can provide as many or as few details as you want, depending on how much you trust the person asking. 

Consider Writing A Letter Instead

Some people find the idea of a face-to-face conversation too stressful. In that case, try explaining your need for rehab in a letter or email. 

This option allows you to say everything you need without feeling put on the spot. It also gives your loved ones time to process the information before they respond. 

Ask For Help

If you still feel overwhelmed, ask a therapist or other behavioral health professional to help you plan your conversation or write your letter. You could also visit an addiction recovery support group and seek advice from people who have made similar admissions. 

In addition, you could tell one or two of your closest loved ones in advance. They can offer support and tips as you prepare to tell the rest of the people in your life.

To learn more about addiction treatment options, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer medical detox, behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based treatment options to help you or your loved one thrive.

  1. Department of Health and Human Services
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: November 8, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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