It can be hard for someone to understand your situation when they have never experienced what you’ve been going through. So, explaining addiction to someone is a wildly complicated task. When family members confront you about your alcohol addiction, it can be challenging to find the right words to explain yourself, and it is hard to prepare for this part of your journey.
This article is going to guide you in answering those tough questions asked by your loved ones. It is hard to avoid talking about your addiction because it is often the best way to repair relationships that have been hindered. Talking about your addiction is a good thing; it helps break the stigma around addiction, promotes open communication, and the development of trust.
If you have not been questioned about why you let alcohol control your life or how you let this happen, you will, and you must know how to respond.
Why Did You Choose Alcohol Over Me?
Every person on Earth could be well aware that addiction is a disease, and someone would still feel obligated to say that the addict chose to start drinking, which caused this result. This topic can be convoluted for many as it is something most people do not have a vast knowledge of. Still, it is also essential to encourage education on addiction in hopes of breaking the stigma. Addiction is a sensitive topic for both addicts and those affected by the addict.
When people you love start to question your relationship with them, it hurts. So, how do we answer these tricky questions? Your child wonders why you love vodka more than them. Or your husband doesn’t understand why you are so distant but so close to the wine. These concerns all arise out of the same emotions.
When your family is feeling hurt, resentful, angry, and confused regarding your addiction, you often will feel guilty, defensive, or frustrated. Recovering alcoholics know the facts about addiction and know the most about their addiction yet often come up short when trying to explain their actions.
How to Answer Questions on Alcohol Addiction
When you respond to questions on addiction, it is essential to remember that your addiction affects others, not just you. You must make your loved one’s emotions and concerns feel heard and valid.
Address that you understand that your disease is hurting them while also explaining that your addiction is not your choice. We have come up with three responses to the hard-hitting questions your family asks that will get your point across without being defensive or insensitive:
I do not choose to be an addict.
It is like any disease that needs support and treatment. Although it may seem that my drinking is more important to me than our relationship, it is not. It may seem like I’m choosing alcohol over you, but I would love your support during this time.
I would never choose to be addicted to alcohol.
I am an alcoholic because of how my brain has been wired. Yes, I chose to drink, but I did not know it would lead to the inability to stop drinking. This disease has impacted my entire life, and the only way I can control it is to abstain from alcohol.
Addiction is a chronic disease, like cancer or diabetes.
This disease has disturbed the functions of my brain and how it responds to stress, reward, and self-control. Like other chronic diseases, I need treatment and support because this requires long term management. I would never choose alcohol over you, mainly because I know how much it has impacted you.
Hopefully, one of these responses can help make an awkward conversation a little easier because the people in our lives that love and care about us deserve a proper response to their concerns. Having these discussions will create more knowledge and awareness around addiction, therefore, reducing the stigma of alcohol addiction.
Most importantly, responding to these questions will allow you and your family to be on the same page. When your family understands where you are coming from, it helps sustain your relationship throughout your addiction journey.
Author, Marilyn Spiller is a writer, speaker, sober coach and recovery advocate with a 20-year history of international hobnobbing and outrageous over-drinking. Five years sober, she writes a popular blog called Waking Up the Ghost, and acts as the Executive Director of Marketing for Sanford House at John Street, Sanford House at Cherry Street, and the Sanford House Outpatient Center