Adjusting to life in recovery comes with a lot of new changes. You are relearning your entire routine. You are in search of new ways to socialize and maybe even a new job or home.
Along that journey of practicality, you also discover more about yourself. Recovery is a lifelong journey in breaking your addiction, not just to a substance but also to the addictive parts of your personality.
A big part of recovery is sharing your story and being honest. While some people might argue that your recovery is your business, your addiction affected those around you, so your recovery will too.
Letting others into this vulnerable state with help strengthen you. The National Institutes of Health states that recovery is “experienced as a bountiful ‘new life,’ an ongoing process of growth, self-change and of reclaiming the self.”
This definition means that recovery isn’t just about remaining sober but also about finding a new way of life that comes with accountability. It is hard to be accountable without sharing your truth.
Who Should You Tell About Your Addiction?
Of course, it is entirely up to you to decide who you share your addiction and recovery process with. The more open you are, the better it is for your mental health. When you are hiding something, even omitting it, it can cause a rift in relationships, even with people you are just distant friends with.
Keeping your addiction secret makes it something to be ashamed of. However, you are in recovery and working to do better. Falling into a pattern of secrecy is not a behavior that will benefit your recovery.
It takes a lot of courage to open up about something so sensitive and personal, but by doing so, you’re showing strength and confidence.
You don’t need to shout your recovery from the rooftops and share your most difficult experiences with just anyone. Still, anyone affected by your addiction and those who play a significant role in your life may benefit from this knowledge.
Explaining your past behaviors, that you are busy at an AA or NA meeting, or that you are going through a lot can improve your relationships with others and yourself.
This will not always be comfortable. Some people in your life may be hurt by your actions when you were in active addiction. Ultimately, you decide who you share your story with and how much detail you offer.
You may want to share your experience with addiction and recovery with someone, but if you feel they are shutting you down, not listening, or making you feel unsafe, you can stop. It is your story to share when and how you choose.
How to Open Up About Your Recovery
When you know you want to open up about your addiction and recovery, it can be hard to know how to start that conversation. You don’t want to blurt it out.
Start by making sure you are in a quiet location. You don’t want to be screaming your intimate life details at a sporting event or in a loud restaurant. Find the right time and energy to share something so close to you, but don’t put it off. Make time for these conversations.
It is important to open up to those close to you. The longer you wait and hold onto this secret, the worse it could be for your recovery.
Let this person know you want to talk about something serious and that you hope they can keep an open mind and remain calm. From there, be honest and educate them. Remind them that addiction is a disease, and you are working toward recovery. This is not an easy path, but you hope you have their support. You can share that opening up to them is part of your journey and nurturing your relationship is a priority for you.
Let them know your treatment plan, the things you learned at a drug rehab, and how seriously you are taking your sobriety. You can share as much or as little as you wish, but some things you could benefit from sharing are your specific addiction, how long it has been going on, how long you’ve been in recovery, and how they can help.
What to Expect When You Talk About Your Recovery
Anytime you open up about something personal, especially addiction and recovery, there will be questions. You should be prepared for the other person’s response. Everyone will react differently but don’t expect things to go as smoothly as you hope.
This person may have probing questions, offer unsolicited advice, or even be judgmental. If you feel you need to shut down that conversation for your mental health, then do so.
If they ask a question you don’t feel comfortable answering, let them know you aren’t ready to open up to that level. If they are not supportive or even react with anger or disappointment, try not to regret opening up.
You have no control over someone else’s reaction. Give them time to come to terms. You’ve had time to admit you have a problem and begin recovery. Let them come to terms with this, do their research, and return to you. Their support may progress over time. It also may not, which is something else you need to accept.
Talking to others about your addiction and recovery can be intense and wildly beneficial. By taking accountability, you own your behavior and illustrate your desire to move forward. This part of recovery can be painful or emotionally draining but can also bring loving support from those closest to you.
Opening Up About Addiction & Recovery Can Be Scary
Opening up will give you a sense of confidence in your recovery. By inviting others into your journey, you are taking responsibility and furthering your progress. Although this will not be comfortable, getting it out in the open will most likely benefit your relationships and mental health. Not having secrets is one of the best ways to prevent relapse and move along in recovery.
Before everything else comes detox. Allowing addictive substances to leave the body is the first critical step towards recovery. Finding a good detox center can be frustrating. DetoxNearMe.com has hundreds of reputable detox centers ready for your review. You’ll be able to find a detox center for your specific needs in no time at all.
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