You did it. You managed your addiction in rehab, and now you’re taking the first steps toward sober living back at home. You’re going to the gym, easing back into work, and feeling more like yourself every day. You’ve even met new friends who are clean and enjoy the same hobbies.
But here’s the problem: Your new friends want to visit your old stomping grounds. They’ve invited you to a restaurant you frequented in your drinking days. You want to take your new friends up on this invitation, but you know it will be awkward. How do you explain your past? How do you confront the bartender who knows your history? How do you explain why you won’t be ordering any drinks?
Telling someone you’re an addict is never easy, but it’s best to be open and honest. Read on for tips on how to do it.
Disclosing Addiction: How to Approach the Situation
DO be honest with your new friends. Tell them you’re in recovery and you won’t be drinking.
DON’T go into more detail than you want to. You are not obligated to relive your low points with your friends when you initially tell them about your addiction, though you may want to discuss them later when you have become closer.
DO stand up for yourself. Your new friends may urge you to have “just one” celebratory drink, not understanding what it can lead to.
DON’T fall to peer pressure. If you feel you’re being pushed to drink or use drugs, remove yourself from the situation.
DO suggest another place if you worry about triggering a relapse. Chances are your new friends will be happy to spend time with you anywhere. The location is not important.
DON’T stick around these new friends if they fail to take your recovery seriously. A true friend will not judge whether you have a beer or a Sprite after work. If you find these new friends are focusing too much on what you refuse to do, move on and find other new friends.
DO tell your new friends you appreciate their understanding.
DON’T clam up when they ask you more about your addiction. Sharing details can help them understand your struggles and better support you.
Should You Tell Someone You’re an Addict?
You may worry your new friends will ditch you when you find out the truth. But most people are more understanding than we give them credit for — you may even find others who have had similar struggles.
At Clarity Way, we believe it’s worth opening your life to new people even when it means sharing your history of addiction. This is something you will live with for the rest of your life. The more times you share, the more comfortable you will become.