Going through rehab successfully is a huge accomplishment on its own. When we are finally through, there are inevitably people that we'll need to tell about it. We may need to take a leave of absence from our job and use some personal time to get through rehab or detox. But after rehab, we may have friends and family who ask questions about where we've been. And that's okay. We decide who we choose to tell our stories to, and if we aren't comfortable telling them to someone, we don't have to.
But how do we actually go about telling those we care about or are close to about our recovery journey?
1. Be proud.
For starters, most people who are close to us care about us. They aren't going to judge us, and even if they did, we should be proud of where we've been and our accomplishments, which have brought us to become the special and individual person we are today.
2 Be honest.
Approaching our friends, family and loved ones can be daunting, but if we come from a place of honesty and openness, it can make telling them easier. We may even be surprised to learn that the people around us suffer from similar problems or emotional struggles. They may not need to identify with us, but they can empathize with us.
3. Be forgiving.
It may be possible that the person doesn't approve or understand the fact that we were an addict. And that's okay. Our journeys are our own, and what matters is that we've reached sobriety and that we continue to be good to ourselves, celebrating our accomplishments and feeling proud of the work we've put in.
4. Be comfortable.
Your loved one may ask questions that can be awkward for you to answer. Remember, you don’t have to talk about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, but you can just share the things that you find valuable for them to know. You may decide to tell them that although you would rather not go into specifics, you are more than happy to discuss your general road to recovery.
5. Be yourself.
The most important thing is to be yourself and remember that we are all human and we all have our flaws. You don’t have to hide who you are from the people closest to you. In fact, most people will appreciate your authenticity. We tend to feel most connected to others when we know that they are being themselves, and not just putting on an act in order to conform ourselves to some person that we think they want us to be.
Taking these steps into consideration can help us feel more comfortable approaching friends and family about our recovery. Letting people in on our process allows them to better know us and understand what we’re going through, and this way they can then choose to support us in our sobriety. It’s important that they know why we might not want to engage in certain activities that involve alcohol, for example. Remembering that our sobriety takes priority also means we don’t have to keep that a secret with the people we care about.