When Should You Tell Someone You’re in Recovery?

Being in recovery is like getting a second chance at life again. You’re able to finally enjoy the excitement that comes from waking up with a healthy body and mind that makes it possible to embrace the day. You might’ve even found some new hobbies and made amazing friends in your sober living home.

While living with people who fully understand what it takes to get sober is freeing, there eventually comes a point when you’ll need to expand your world to include people who might not have known about your struggles with drugs or alcohol. At this point, you’ll have a few decisions to make about how and when you should tell someone that you are in recovery. While there isn’t a single perfect solution for this common question, you can find ways to gauge a situation to know when it is time to open up about your recovery.

Consider Your Relationship to the Person

Its nerve-racking to share intimate details about your life with people that you might not know well, and it can be hard to tell even your closest family members about certain parts of your recovery. Fortunately, you retain control over who you tell about your recovery along with which details you disclose. One of the first ways to determine when to begin this discussion is by thinking about the nature of your relationship. Is this someone who you expect to be in your life for a long time such as a new romantic partner that shows true potential for a serious relationship? If so, then it might be better to tell them sooner rather than later. Alternatively, a co-worker may not need to know about your recovery until you know them better. In some cases, you might not even need to tell someone about your recovery. The choice is ultimately up to you, but most people appreciate learning about the challenges you face within a reasonable enough amount of time to reassure them that you weren’t trying to keep secrets from them.

Think About Your Reasons for Sharing

There are many benefits that come from opening up about your recovery, and choosing to be open about what you are going through may bring these positive opportunities to your life.

  • Get support during activities where alcohol might be present
  • Explain why you prefer to avoid certain types of activities or events
  • Avoid feeling awkward turning down offers to drink or use drugs
  • Stop hiding a big part of your life from someone you love
  • Invite someone to join you for a counseling session
  • Share your recovery story with someone who is struggling with an addiction

Thinking through the reasons why you want to tell someone that you are in recovery can help you decide if it is the right time. For example, you may feel like your new best friend might be worried that you don’t like them when you turn down their invitation to go to happy hour. Or, you might feel like a new romantic partner deserves to know about your lifestyle before you get more involved. Having a reason to tell about your recovery can make it clear that you don’t want to continue to wait too much longer.

Keep the Focus On the Positive Things You Are Doing Today

Some people hesitate to share about their recovery because they worry about what the other person will think. Fortunately, most people are receptive to learning more about what the people they care about are going through, and it is quite likely that the person you need to talk to has some type of experience with addiction. You can also choose to bring up your recovery in a positive light. Instead of focusing on all of the things that went wrong when you were using, it is better to talk about what you are doing right now. Sharing about how you attend therapy sessions each day or choose to hang out with sober friends makes it easier to tell someone that you have an addiction.

In fact, you might even discover that disclosing your struggles with addiction could draw you closer to people within your inner circle and provide you with even more support. Talking about addiction can be challenging, but there is no time like the present to start building a life that you are proud to share with others. If you need help building a sober lifestyle, then give us a call today at 732-392-7311.

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