You have decided now is the time.
You are going to get the help you need for your substance use disorder.
That’s great news. It is also news you are going to need to share—in greater or lesser detail—with a significant number of people. That might seem scary. Especially if you have been effectively hiding your addiction from some people in your life. Although there is a reasonably good chance you have not been hiding it quite as effectively as you may think.
But you can’t simply slip off the grid for the duration of your treatment. So you are going to have overcome your reluctance. It might help to sketch out a plan.
Your Communication Plan: Who, What, When, Where
Rather than getting overwhelmed with worry about all of the people you might need to inform about your upcoming substance use disorder treatment, take a little time to make an actionable plan.
The first step is to make a list of folks you need to share the news with.
- Family: It may go without saying that your immediate family members—those with whom you live—are going to need to know when you will be away and for how long. In the best case scenario, everyone in your immediate family is on board with your decision and will work with you to handle the details. When it comes to extended family, the amount you share is up to you. If having family from near and far in the loop feels supportive and comforting, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, you certainly don’t have to inform every last cousin that you are heading into rehab.
- Your workplace or school: You have responsibilities at work and/or at school—and you have people with whom you will have to discuss your upcoming absence and the reason for it. At work, your supervisor (and perhaps those you supervise) and HR department will likely need to be informed. At school, your instructors and some administrative folks will likely need to know.
- Faith community: Whether or not you want to share your news with those in your faith community might depend on a number of factors. Will you feel supported or judged? And will your privacy be respected? Will your community step up and help your family in your absence? All of these questions are worth asking—and answering honestly.
- Your friends: If you think of your friends as your “chosen family,” then you can make the same sorts of decisions you are making about your actual family. You may want to share varying levels of detail with different friends. (We should note here that anyone who has been encouraging your continued drug or alcohol use is not, in fact, your friend.)
As we have indicated, what you share with each of these groups—that is, how much detail you go into—is up to you. Although in cases like work and school, you may have to provide a fair amount of detail to at least a small group of people who are required to keep the situation confidential.
As for when and where you should share your news, our advice is fairly simple. As soon as possible and in person whenever possible. Giving the important people in your life a heads-up as early as you can gives everyone more planning time. A personal conversation, meanwhile, gives you an opportunity to explain yourself clearly and ask for the support you need—both while you are away and when you return.
We Will Be Excited to Hear Your News–And to Help
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we are passionate about helping people reclaim their sobriety and their lives. We offer personalized treatment grounded in evidence-based practices, expertise, experience, and a commitment to compassion. You will never feel judged while seeking treatment at Bel Aire Recovery Center. Instead, you will be supported through medically supervised detoxification. And through individual and group therapy sessions during the rehabilitation portion of the treatment process.
Our treatment approach includes addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be entangled with your substance use disorder. Sobriety and good mental health go hand-in-hand. And the team at Bel Aire Recovery Center has the expertise required to address depression, trauma-based disorders, anxiety, and more.
We know it may be hard to tell the people in your life that you need to enter a residential treatment center. But we are confident that you will be overjoyed to tell them that you have regained your sobriety and begun your recovery journey.