Talking to friends of loved ones about your past struggles with addiction or recovery process can be difficult. While the weight of this secret is lifted from your shoulders, you’re still left wondering about how you will be judged.. Will this revelation affect the relationship? Will they lose respect for you? It’s nice to think that while they may be shocked at first, but they’ll offer words of encouragement. This is usually the case, but it’s wise to pick and choose with whom you’ll share this information Revealing your situation to friends or co-workers may be trickier. Your bond with them probably isn’t as strong as the bond you share with family members. They may be less understanding. You may fear how they will react, what they will say and whether discussing your past will affect your job. It can be a scary thought. But revealing your past battles with substance abuse could strengthen your relationships and build trust among you, your friends and your co-workers. Talking to people about your recovery may increase your self-esteem and help you feel more comfortable sharing your experiences in the future. It can be important to talk about your addiction with the people who were most affected by your dependency. Addictions frequently have a serious effect on our personal and professional lives, and recovery involves repairing relationships that have been damaged or broken by the illness. In fact, part of the recovery process is talking about your mistakes and misdeeds to family and friends. Talking to the people affected does not imply that you need to share every detail of your addiction and recovery with each person. However, admitting that you have an addiction and that you are seeking treatment is often a necessary step towards rebuilding trust and mending relationships. Eventually, you may reach the stage where you are comfortable discussing specific times and incidents that may have affected each person. Many of your close friends any family are likely to have a great number of questions for you once you begin to talk about your addiction. It can be helpful to take some time to figure out what aspects of your addiction you are comfortable discussing, and what aspects you would prefer not to speak about. Planning what to say in those situations will help you avoid coming across as defensive or cagey – you have the right not to share, but you want to avoid offending people when there are things you don’t want to discuss.
Wait a Few Months Before Revealing This Information
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many people new to recovery experience relapse. So it may be best to establish a routine to strengthen your sobriety — such as engaging in aftercare services — and let some time pass before sharing your new lifestyle to friends or co-workers. If you reveal your past and then relapse, you could lose the trust of these individuals. The recovery process is a delicate matter and is fraught with risk of relapse.
Your past is your past. If you’re in the recovery process and you no longer drink or use drugs, be proud of it. Do not express shame or guilt. Make it clear that you have overcome substance use problems and that you now have a new outlook on life.
Don’t Reveal Too Many Details
It can be helpful to let people know that you once struggled with substance abuse and that you’re now in a better place. But you don’t have to talk about the details of your past. You don’t have to discuss other outcomes of your addiction — such as family problems, physical consequences or co-occurring disorders — if talking about these subjects makes you feel uncomfortable. The recovery process is complex and not every detail needs to be shared.
Educate Them on the Realities of the Recovery Process Addiction
Many people do not understand that addiction is a disease that leads to compulsive behaviors. They may think that drug or alcohol use is merely a choice. By talking to friends and co-workers about recovery, you may help reduce the stigma associated with addiction. And more people may understand the struggles you experience each day.
Not Everyone Needs to Know
You do not need to tell co-workers you barely know that you’re recovering from addiction. Stick to the people with whom you are most comfortable. They may be more likely to understand your situation and less likely to judge you. As you slowly begin to open up more about your recovery, you will feel more comfortable discussing your situation with others. While it is a big step to talk about your recovery with friends and co-workers, some people may not sympathize with you. They may judge you and give you uncomfortable looks. And, in some cases, friendships will end. Do not let this discourage you. Talking about your past substance abuse problems and your recovery can allow you to speak more openly about your life. It can also help normalize addiction recovery. Discussing your recovery may be uncomfortable at first, but it has numerous benefits.