You’ve done the work. You’re in a better place than before. Now it’s time to move forward. And part of moving forward in recovery means talking to your friends, family, maybe even co-workers, neighbors or acquaintances, about where you’ve been and what you’ve done.
First, pat yourself on the back. What you’ve done is tremendous, an accomplishment that no one can deny. You’ve made a decision to improve your health and your life, and your commitment has made you a stronger person.
When you are ready to share your truth with others, you will know when the time is right. Maybe you already have. Who you talk to and about what is up to you.
If you’d like to share your story but don’t know how, you’re not alone. We all have different ways of communicating. And we all have different ways of listening or not listening to what others are trying to tell us.
Whatever challenges you have battled, many of your loved ones will recognize your journey and support and encourage you.
But the significant people in your life might not understand a lot about addiction or mental health challenges. They may genuinely want to help you in any way possible, but simply not know how.
One of the best ways to start the dialogue process is by thinking ahead about what you want to say and how much you want to share about what you’re going through and what you’ve experienced.
At this point it’s completely normal to have mixed feelings. Maybe you’re afraid of being judged. Perhaps you think things will be awkward or uncomfortable afterward. If so, don’t add to the pressure you’re feeling by rushing things. Be sure to pick a time and a place that feels comfortable to you and remember that you’re in charge–this is your life and you get to decide how to live it!
One of the best reasons to talk about what you’ve gone through and where you’re at now is to receive encouragement. Having a conversation with someone who has your best interests at heart and provides an empathetic ear can boost your mood and decrease stress levels.
If you’re not sure who you want to talk to, start by writing down a list of names as well as pros and cons attached to each one. Decide what you want to share with each person. Maybe you just want to share your most recent success. Maybe you want to talk about specific aftercare topics like rides to appointments. If you have a crisis plan, who do you want to share that with?
When you’ve decided the time is right, it might help to start sharing with the most supportive person in your life. Not only will this increase your comfort level, he or she may have valuable suggestions about how to approach the other people in your life.
The ability to offer emotional support is not something that everyone knows how to do well or comfortably. For whatever reason, some people in your life may not be able or willing to give you what you need or want in that moment.
It helps to remember that if you have a friend or relative who isn’t good at showing their emotions or comfortable sharing feelings, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.
With that said, you’ll doubt want to discuss different things with different people.
For example, you may want to tell friends about your new life choices in order to help them understand why there are times you can’t hang out with them.
On the other hand, you may need to talk with your employer if you require accommodations at work.
Remember that despite the legal guarantee of a fair and just workplace, the reality is that not everyone is as open or enlightened or educated about your rights, about mental health, and about addiction as we would want them to be.
Nonetheless, special accommodations which enable and allow one to do their job to the best of their ability is a part of everyone’s civil rights and you can go online to learn more about your legal rights in the work environment.
In the end, there’s no question that talking about your health, addiction, psychological state of mind or any other matter important to you can be scary.
When you’re ready, it might help to first practice what you want to talk about with loved ones with a therapist or other professional. In this way you can explore your worries or concerns and in turn receive valuable input about communication strategies and managing what could be a very emotional situation.
Here are a few things for you to consider when you’re ready to share your story with others:
- You don’t have to share everything and it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I’d rather not talk about (fill in the blank) right now”
- Be sure to share the positives you’ve experienced: the growth, the enlightenment, the strength and the courage that you’ve gained
- Let them know how to support you, whether it’s with a daily phone call or a bit of space, a lunch date or accompanying you to an appointment
Finally, sharing resources is an excellent way to start or end your conversation. Is there a book, movie or something online that helped you? If so, share these inspirations! It represents a concrete way to share your experience and it will give your significant other a glimpse into the incredible life-affirming journey that you’ve been on!
Lifelong recovery is possible: all you need to do is reach out. Starbent Recovery was founded on the belief that people suffering from addictive disorders, trauma, and other co-occurring issues can thrive in the right environment.
Our professional, dedicated staff have the understanding, experience, and compassion necessary to support each resident’s clinical treatment team goals. We offer individualized tier level programs, and guidance with residents’ personal recovery and independent living goals.
Our safe, peer residence offers luxury amenities and is located in the heart of upscale Tribeca close to multiple subway lines and surrounded by trendy dining and shopping.
To learn more about our premier women’s recovery residence, call us at (800) 673-0176.