Health and Fitness

How to Talk About Your Recovery with Family and Friends?

Talking with your family, kids, friends, and coworkers about your previous addiction and current recovery can be a difficult and frightening task. While the process of shedding light on this confession can provide comfort, still a natural fear of judgment remains.

Your family members may be surprised, but most likely, they will provide you with emotional support and encourage your rehabilitation. It can also show your children that you accept responsibility for what has happened and seek to make peace with what has occurred. On the other side, disclosing your situation to friends and coworkers can be more complex to some point since they may be less understanding.

However, revealing your prior illicit drug use issues can enhance and encourage your connections with family, kids, friends, and colleagues. Talking to real people about your recovery will eventually boost your self-esteem, reduce your anxiety, build trust, and reduce your fears of sharing your experiences in the future life.

Talking with Family and Friends About Recovery

The critical first step of long-term sobriety is strengthening the family system and building a support network. One way to accomplish this is by talking honestly with your loved ones about your recovery. Consider the following when you’re ready to talk about your long time addiction and recovery:

Find the Right Time

Talking about your recovery is never simple; you will usually need the help of an addiction counselor or seek mental health treatment to ensure a smooth conversation. After doing so, you may want to schedule the best time with certain family members or friends so that you can converse without interruption.

However, talking with family and friends about your recovery can happen spontaneously. You’ll know when the time is right: Perhaps the subject comes up at lunch with your mother, or a few friends ask you to arrange a party.

Find the Right Words

It is the right course of action to have something prepared to say when you’re ready to talk. Consider jotting down some ideas and have that piece of a script prepared whether you’ve set a specific time or are responding to questions spontaneously. Discuss what is vital to bring up and what is not with a trustworthy therapist. It’s also a good idea to take some notes.

Address the “Elephant in the Room”

When discussing your recovery with your family, partner, and friends, keep in mind that your substance abuse affected them somehow. It is a reality that several of your relationships have undoubtedly been disrupted due to dysfunction or neglect brought on by your drug or alcohol abuse addiction. As part of your recovery and to actively address it, you must acknowledge any pain or injury you may have caused during your illicit drug abuse.

Being candid about the pain you may have caused can be frightening, but it is sometimes the only way to heal a relationship. If there are still unresolved issues with family and friends, it would be considerably more challenging to ask for assistance or support.

Outline the Treatment Plan

“Knowing is half the battle.” Based on what you’ve learned in your treatment plan, inform your family and friends about the treatment you’ll be getting and propose different ways they can help. Appreciate whatever level of help they’re ready to give, and make sure there are clear boundaries in place so that help doesn’t turn into a rescue mission. You’re learning to stand on your own, and declining help is sometimes the best thing you can do to demonstrate your good intentions.

Be Ready for Advice You May Not Want to Hear

Everyone perceives a person in a recovery program differently. Some of your closest family members or friends may not believe you had a problem, while others may assume they know what is best for your recovery. Most of the time, your family and friends are looking at things from their own thoughts and beliefs, which have nothing to do with you.

Be as courteous as possible with your family and friends. They may be in denial, ask questions, or give resources that may not ultimately work for you to achieve your recovery goals.

It’s OK to Distance Yourself

There may be a few friends or members of your family whom you should not surround yourself with throughout recovery. For example, you may have a family member or a friend who is extremely negative or unsupportive of your decision to get sober. In this case, you should not fear a little distance. This does not mean cutting all relationships; simply take a break for a short term while you focus on getting better. This is not the moment to spend your energy telling a loved one that addiction is a disease.

Set Boundaries

It is also important that you respect your journey. There may be certain aspects of your struggle with addiction that you would want to keep to yourself.

Practice setting boundaries around what you are and are not willing to discuss so that when these topics arise in future talks, you will be prepared with answers. Typically, a simple “I’d rather leave it in the past” will be enough to let your family members or friends know that you appreciate their question but aren’t comfortable discussing the specifics.

Talking with Children About Recovery

Talking with Children About Recovery

If you are a parent in recovery, you may question how your substance use disorder has affected your children. Understandably, discussing drug addiction and the recovery process with your children might lead to feelings of guilt and shame, but don’t let these emotions and thoughts stop you. Today is a new day, regardless of what has happened in the past.

Talking to your children about your addiction and recovery in an age-appropriate manner can benefit all parties involved. Here are a few helpful tips for talking to your children about your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Consider the Age Factor

When talking with your children about addiction and recovery, their age is the first thing to consider. It is ideal to keep the talk age-appropriate and at a level where you believe they can cognitively understand the problem. It’s important to remember that addiction is medically recognized as a disease while talking about your addiction and recovery.

It’s also important to talk to your children about recovery and what it takes. Let them know you’re still working on your recovery, so you don’t have to go through that again and express your sincere regret for causing them pain.

Honest and Open Communication

When discussing addiction and recovery with your children, be as upfront and honest as possible. Your children will most likely have many questions and concerns about how you became addicted. These are excellent teachable opportunities that you should plan for ahead of time. You can teach them with a good example about how young people and college students become addicted and how to prevent being addicted.

Maintaining an open and honest communication strategy during their pre-teen and teen years can also encourage them to come to you with any issues about themselves or their close friend.

Make Only The Promises You Can Keep

Keep in mind that recovery is a lifelong process that carries the risk of relapse. Sharing a recovery story with your child can help them know what happened in your past and how it may have affected them. Express your regret for the harm your active addiction has brought to their lives, but don’t make any promises regarding the future. You can say you’re taking a substance abuse treatment and trying hard to change, but saying you’ll never use again isn’t a realistic promise, and breaking that promise can embark the negative consequences.

End on Hope

The most important thing to remember in these difficult conversations is to always end on a positive note. Chances are there for this information to be difficult news for your child to absorb. So, it’s important to assure them that you’re getting the care you need to get better. Give them a reason to believe you. Reassure, console, and love them so that they know that all hope is not lost.

Benefits of Being Honest About Addiction and Recovery

Openly speaking the truth about your addiction and recovery with your loved ones might be more than just getting through an awkward conversation. You could be:

  • Contributing to the fight against the unjust stigma of addiction in the society
  • Finding another source of motivation and support as you continue your recovery journey
  • Repairing the relationship by revealing your vulnerabilities
  • Increasing your distance from past behaviors that fueled your drug misuse
  • Setting the example for people who are in the same situation as you or who may come after you

Stay Connected With Your Sober Support Group

Addiction is a disease, and you should be proud of yourself for taking the necessary steps toward recovery and speaking openly about your past struggles. When you decide to discuss your recovery from drug and alcohol consumption addiction, you should always keep in touch with your sober support system. Nobody understands your anxieties and fears better than another alcoholic or addict. Engaging in treatment programs, maintaining fellowship, and participating in social support groups and family therapy sessions can help you acquire the courage and support you need to talk about your difficult time with honesty.

Feel the Change with The Recovery Team

The Recovery Team has good news for you as we are available 24/7 to help you with your long-term recovery process. Our mental health professionals offer holistic care for disease control through inpatient and outpatient treatment options. We provide drug and alcohol rehab, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs, and a variety of other services tailored to the unique needs of patients with great kindness.

Are you dealing with drug or alcohol use disorder? Want professional help to learn more about addiction treatment and recovery options? Give us a call at (800) 817-1247, and we’ll help you access the right resources to mend your drug and drinking problem.

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