The topic of bringing up the fact that someone is in recovery is a difficult one to process. Many people tiptoe around the subject and do everything that they can to avoid the conversation. For people recovering from an addiction, it can be downright terrifying to tell someone that they are in recovery for addiction. There is a lot of fear around what someone may think about them having learned the information, or how their viewpoints of them will then change.
The concern isn’t unwarranted either, as there is a lot of stigma about addiction and what it means for the individual. People are much more than whatever addiction afflicts them, and explaining that can be difficult. However, how someone approaches the topic and how much information they divulge is always ultimately at the control of the individual who suffers from it.
Timing is All Up to You
It doesn’t matter who is asking questions. Ultimately, when someone decides to share their journey through addiction and recovery is all up to the recovering person. Nobody else can ever make someone speak about something that they aren’t comfortable with. If you aren’t ready to talk about it, then don’t. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a support system in place already, nor does it mean that you aren’t ready to admit it to yourself.
In some cases, there is a good reason that you may not want to share this information. Perhaps you want to maintain aspects of normalcy while other parts of your life are undergoing massive amounts of change. If someone suspects another of being in recovery, there is often little to be gained from trying to force that information out. The details will come out in time, if necessary. People recovering from addiction will share whenever the time is right. It all depends on the different kinds of relationships built, and how pertinent it is for any particular party to know.
Each Relationship is Different
Telling someone that one is in recovery doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing process. Different relationships may require different amounts of information. Admitting that one is in recovery can be as simple as “I’m really trying not to drink anymore” and have that be the extent of the information. Not every person needs to know each intricate detail of the recovery process and how it has affected someone else’s life. When deciding what the right time and how much information is appropriate, keep in mind what each relationship is like and how much information that one is willing to give, as well as how much the other party really needs to know.
When addressing the fact that one is in recovery with one’s own family, they most likely already have an inkling as to what is going on. When someone is ready to begin telling someone else, the family can be an excellent place to start. Going through addiction recovery should be considered a success, not some kind of shame or moral shortcoming. The unconditional love of a family member may be the best way to recontextualize the recovery process. While each family is different and can offer different kinds of support, they are highly influential in the recovery process. Using that support as a stepping stone in addressing recovery can lead to the most effective, holistic approach to the process from a professional and familial front.
Friends can be a tricky concept. Some friends are more party-mates, while others may be groups or pairs of people that have watched each other grow up since childhood. Each friend doesn’t need to know every detail. Likewise, you don’t have to tell them in a public forum. Personal, long-time friends should be supportive of the decision and realize the impact that it has. Friends will always find a way to support each other in these times. In contrast, friends that act as party-mates may best be avoided in the beginning.
When telling someone about participating in lasting recovery, the idea is to manage expectations depending on the people. While admitting it may feel shameful, it is really a success in addressing the issues head-on and moving forward. Talking about it can be its own therapy, and there can be a lot of love and support that comes with seeing that someone else is in one’s corner, no matter what.
However, the decision isn’t on a timer, nor is it a binary tell “all or none.” It is, however, one of the most straightforward demonstrations of agency that one has over their recovery process. For some, telling people may be a sense of empowerment. In contrast, others may want to only divulge what is necessary for each different relationship to balance their lives in a way that fits them.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and are thinking about taking that first step in recovery, Alta Centers is available to help you begin. Detox is often the first part, and their modern take and community-focused priorities make it so that nobody has to feel alone in the journey. While telling friends and family about recovery may be difficult, surrounding yourself with like-minded and understanding people can be the first step to a life of sobriety. For more information, contact Alta Centers today at 1-888-202-2583.
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