With all of the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery, talking to others about these sensitive topics can be very difficult. Who can you talk to who won’t judge you? Who can you talk to that you can trust with confidence? Who can you talk to that is educated about substance abuse and recovery, and who will be compassionate and understanding? How do you talk to others about addiction?
Should I Talk to Others About Addiction and Recovery?
When you consider whether or not to discuss your addiction and recovery with others, remember that they are medical issues. Discussing them with others or not is your choice; no one should force you to talk about them. Your medical information is private, and your privacy is protected by law.
Even if others have seen your behaviors prior to treatment and understood that they might have been caused by intoxication or even if they have talked to you about your drinking or drug use before, you are in no way obligated to discuss anything with them now. No matter how concerned they are for you or whatever their motives may be in wanting to talk to you about your addiction or your recovery, you do not need to speak to them.
Unless, of course, you want to. Then you are more than welcome to discuss your struggles and triumphs with anyone you like. You may even find that it is liberating to share and that by sharing your story, you inspire others to become educated or even seek help themselves.
How Do I Know Who to Talk to About My Addiction?
Knowing whom you can trust can be difficult. You can never predict who will keep your personal information confidential and who will share it with others without your permission. You can do your best and exercise your best judgment, but you do not have any control over what others say or do.
Know that there are definitely people out there who will judge you for your past and may treat you differently. However, know that your decision to share can help others, even if some may offer judgments about you. If you are open about your prior substance use and your recovery process, and you do not care who knows about it, then you can talk to anyone you like about it.
Knowing Who to Turn To for Support
When looking for support for your recovery, you will want to find a person or people that you trust. Find people who have common wishes for your well-being and with whom you know will be compassionate and supportive of both you and your recovery process. By understanding that not everyone will be as accepting or tolerant of your substance use, you can also afford to be selective of who you turn to for support.
How Do I Know How to Talk About Addiction?
The most important point in talking about addiction is talking about it from your own experience. You do not need to worry about how others talk about recovery or substance abuse, and this is your story to tell.
One thing you can remember is to be honest, and come from a place of authenticity. There is no need to come from a place of shame or guilt that does not help you, the person you are talking to, nor does it help others who have or will struggle with addiction. Talking about addiction without judgment will be the most effective way for others to understand what you have been through and what you are going through now and the best way to educate them to help others.
Educating and Empowering Others
Should you choose to talk about your experiences with addiction and recovery with others, you have the opportunity to educate and empower others. You can help reduce stigma by sharing and being open about the human side of addiction and what it means to be in recovery. You can help others understand that substance use disorder is a medical condition. Being compassionate and supportive of those with addiction can help offer them strength and courage to seek treatment and stay sober.
Who knows? Maybe the things you say to others will help change the way people perceive recovery. Perhaps you will help them understand the need for cultural changes in the way society not only views addiction but also helps to make changes in the way that alcohol is viewed and marketed to make it easier for others in recovery in the future. However you decide to talk about addiction and recovery, if you choose to talk about it at all, it is your choice.
How do I talk to others about addiction? Talking about addiction and recovery is your choice. Should you choose to talk about it, you can find people who are supportive, and you can talk about it from your own experience. Talking about addiction and recovery can reduce stigma, educate and empower others, and make changes in how people view addiction now and in the future. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a detox and residential treatment program for women with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a quiet refuge for healing between the soothing mountains and sunny beaches of Southern California. Our trauma-informed care helps you heal in an environment that is safe and empowering. Contact The Ho Tai Way today at (714) 581-3974 to learn more about our program for women.