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How To Open About Your Addiction Troubles to Someone: A Guide by Recovery Experts

    It’s hard to know whom to turn to when you are in trouble with addiction. 

    You might be afraid of what people will think or say, or maybe they would just not understand. 

    The trick is to find someone who will listen and accept your troubles without judgment. 

    In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to tell someone about your addiction troubles and get some help before it’s too late!

    Why Don’t We Ask for Help?

    In 1998 a study at an elementary school found that asking for help revolved around two perceptions: 

    1. If students perceived that asking for help would improve their self-performance, then they wouldn’t hesitate to ask.
    2. If students thought they were being judged and their abilities were being measured, then they hesitated to ask for help.

    This perception pattern continues into adulthood. Asking for help, when you believe that others are judging you, you already feel shame and guilt, is an extremely difficult task. 

    Not asking for help is not what some call rugged individualism, it’s ragged individualism—it’s fear. We fear what others will say about our struggles and our lives. But there are ways to overcome this fear!

    Finding the right people.

    The first step toward being honest with someone is finding the right person. 

    It’s essential to choose someone who will support you, understand, and not judge you. Some people may be judgmental or even turn their backs because of their own addiction troubles, but this is not the right kind of person for you to share your story with.

    In order for your conversation to go well, it’s important that you choose someone who has gone through something similar in life or someone that you trust immensely. 

    This will make them more understanding and give them a unique perspective on what being addicted feels like.

    If you have a person in your life that you can tell anything to, then turn to them.

    Write a Letter or Email

    If you’re struggling to open up, writing a letter or email might be the best option for you. Fear, shame, and guilt often make it incredibly difficult to reach out to others for help.

    This way, you can get your thoughts down on paper without worrying about how they will react or what they’ll think of you. 

    You can write exactly what’s on your mind in a less threatening way than in a face-to-face conversation. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling! Just get it off your chest and send it off for them to read on their own time.

    It may take some time before they respond—if they do at all—but this approach allows them some time to digest what was said without any pressure from you to give them an answer right away.

    Benefits of writing your request for help:

    • Writing is sometimes easier than speaking
    • Writing allows you to collect your thoughts into something that makes more sense
    • Writing can bring about new realizations about yourself and what you’re struggling with

    Ask a Medical Professional

    Asking for help is one of the most difficult things you can do. It’s okay to feel scared, but it’s important that you take action. Here are some ways that can help:

    • Ask a Medical Professional. If you’re having trouble getting started, talk to your doctor or therapist about what you’re struggling with. Doctors encounter patient struggles all the time and are there to help you, no matter what. More than likely, they’ve seen and heard it before. 
    • Ask a friend or family member who has experience with addiction and recovery. If someone close has been through addiction themselves, he or she may have some helpful advice for opening up about your own struggles—and may even have gone through something similar themselves!
    • Talk to an addiction counselor in a private setting for support during the process of opening up about addiction troubles… The more comfortable we get talking about addiction issues openly and honestly, the easier it will become for others who need support, so don’t be afraid! Turn to Absolute Awakenings if this is something you’re interested in.

    Online or Phone

    Online chat services are also available where people go online anonymously and share their stories publicly without fear of judgmental comments coming back at them.

    Internet resources for asking for help:

    • Helpline numbers
    • Chat rooms
    • Websites for treatment facilities

    Much like writing, sometimes it’s easier to admit that you’re struggling with a faceless computer. Many treatment facilities’ websites have chat programs. You may be one of those people who have an easier time asking for help from a stranger before admitting to loves ones that you need help.

    Less potential judgment. Reaching out online or over the phone, the person on the other end can advise you on the next steps on your journey. Then it’s up to you to take those next steps, either alone or with your loved ones by your side. 

    Keep Going Until You find someone that says ‘Yes’

    One of the biggest fears of asking for help is receiving a ‘no’ in response. Don’t get discouraged if they say ‘no’. More often than not it’s because they don’t know how to help you, they can’t help you. 

    Keep going, keep asking until you find someone that can say ‘yes’.

    Think about asking:

    • Friends
    • Family members
    • Coworkers
    • Church group members
    • Primary care physician
    • Counselor
    • Addiction treatment specialist
    • Support groups


    There’s no right or wrong way to ask for help. Each of us is our own person and must find our own way to open up when we feel the most vulnerable. 

    The most important thing is that you are asking for help and taking the right step forward in dealing with your addiction

    It’s never too late to ask for help, no matter whom you ask for help. Face your struggles head-on and find what steps you need on your journey to a healthier and happier life.