Discussing Addiction and Treatment With Others- Should You be Honest with New Friends?
Life goes on even when you have an addiction. Although it would be nice for everyone to be fair and kind when you are suffering from something such as a drug addiction, many times this is not the case. Telling people about your addiction is a complex situation that you might not be sure how to deal with.
On one hand in recovery, you are taught to be honest and open about your addiction. On the other, in the real world being open and honest can cost you your friends, their trust, and even your job depending on the addiction. Many addicts fear this loss of trust and friendship when they disclose their addiction.
Can you Tell New Friends?
Although you can tell new friends if you choose to, they might not react well to the news. They might not trust you or understand your addiction. Approaching the subject of addiction is even a touchy prospect at times.
If you plan on engaging in a long term relationship with a new friend, particularly if that relationship is a romantic one, you should be upfront about your addiction. If they found out later they might consider it a betrayal.
If the new friend is just a casual new friend, you might not want to disclose your addiction until you know them better. Although it is important to be honest, it is also important to protect yourself. If the person you are considering telling is not a true friend they can make things difficult for you.
Who it is Safe to Tell
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a disease. Unfortunately, not everyone looks at it that way. Many people view addicts and people in recovery with suspicion and mistrust. They do not understand that the addiction is not poor character or lack of willpower; it is something that you cannot control without help.
Although you cannot keep it a secret for your whole life, especially from those whom you are close to, who you tell about your addiction is extremely important. It can be difficult deciding whom you can trust and who you cannot. Some obvious people to tell are:
- your spouse – this is the person most likely to have a need to know, particularly if you relapse.
- your doctor – doctors are bound by confidentiality and cannot disclose your condition to anyone.
- your insurance company – you only need to disclose addiction treatment here if you plan on using your insurance for treatment.
- your closest friends – although chances are your close friends already know, it might be best to disclose anyway, that way they can help.
- the people in your support group – people who have been where you are and can help are relatively safe to tell.
It is very difficult to determine who to trust when you are considering talking to someone about your addiction. It is up to you to decide whether to say anything or not. Think carefully before you mention your addiction to anyone.
For more information about telling people about your addiction, call us at 1-800-695-1695. We can help guide you through the pitfalls of treatment and recovery.