Who Needs To Know: Discussing Your Addiction Recovery (Part 2)

Group dinnerIn our last post, we briefly talked about the people in your life who have to know about your addiction recovery. Today, we talk about something a little harder to determine: the negotiables.

These are the people in your life whose knowledge of your condition is up to you. Sometimes it’s helpful to share your story with them, and other times it creates more problems. Use your personal judgement and preference when it comes to sharing your story with the following:

Employer and Coworkers

If you required a special situation during your recovery time, or if you will need special allowances while you continue your recovery and restart your life sober, you’ll need to communicate with your employer or HR rep so that they can give you the help and resources you need. Beyond that, sharing your story with coworkers and employers is up to you. Consider whether it would be helpful to you, or not helpful, for those people that you’re around at work to understand your situation.

Friends and Casual Acquaintances

Some of us love to be forthcoming and honest with everyone we meet. Others are more private, and that’s okay. Your friends and casual acquaintances don’t need to know everything about you. On the other hand, if you would like to share your story, make sure that you have a positive outlook and you can communicate your story effectively, without making people uncomfortable or leading them to misunderstand. Conversations about addiction and recovery can get very personal very fast. Only share what you’re comfortable with.

Extended Family

Sharing the story of your addiction and recovery with your extended family can be a double-edged sword. While many of us experience judgment and conflict from extended family, we can also find an amazing reservoir of love, compassion, and help. One more thing that you’ll need to consider about sharing your story with your family is this: many addictions have a link with genetic causes. Your struggle might be as important for certain family members to know about as grandma’s glaucoma or uncle fred’s heart troubles, because your family members could find themselves sharing the challenges They might need to be vigilant about early warning signs.

Some Important Things to Consider

  • Your story has the power to strengthen others. It may be humbling to share, but remember that you can provide strength and help to others.
  • You don’t have to share the whole story. Sometimes you can just give small pieces that are pertinent to the topic at hand.
  • People often learn things without you sharing them. Rumors spread. You will have to deal with that at some point, and confront misconceptions about your situation, or unfair judgment from people who have no right to judge.

Next week we’ll discuss the question on everyone’s mind: how much should we share when we’re dating?