Going to rehab is nothing to be ashamed of, but it can still be difficult to tell your friends. Approach them honestly, and tell them about your struggles and what you hope to change through rehab. Ask them for their support as you begin this journey.

Talking About Rehab

The choice to enter a substance abuse treatment program is a deeply personal one. It requires you to admit you are struggling with something that needs professional help.

Addiction is a disease, and there is no shame in seeking help for a disease. Even so, many still find it embarrassing or even just strange to talk about it openly. Some people may, unfortunately, have others in their lives who might try to discourage or shame them for wanting that help.

At the same time, it might feel odd or even be unfeasible to leave for rehab without discussing it with the people in your life. Exactly where the line is, and the healthiest way to approach others depends on your personal situation.

Understand To Whom You Are Talking

When it comes to talking to loved ones about your decision to go to rehab, the approach will be different depending on the person. Ask yourself some of the following questions before discussing rehab with someone:

  • How mature is this person?
  • Do they personally struggle with drugs or alcohol?
  • Do they have negative views of rehab?
  • Do I think this person will help or hurt my recovery process?
  • Do I want this person to know about my choice to go to rehab?

Essentially, consider whether the person is likely to be respectful of your decision or if they might (intentionally or not) make you feel bad or strange for going to rehab. If you need to have a conversation about rehab with someone potentially toxic, mentally prepare yourself first. Remember that you are making a valid, respectable, and evidence-based choice to try and recover from a serious problem. Do not let anyone make you think otherwise.

Understand What You Want From the Conversation

Rehab is about doing what is best for your own physical and mental health. It is more than acceptable to view others, like a spouse or child, as a motivator to try and overcome addiction, but at the same time, this is going to be a personal journey that should be tailored to what will help you most.

Even well-meaning people may try to talk to you in a manner that seems irritating, inappropriate, and invasive. It is essential to try and control the conversation. Telling someone you don’t really want to talk about a certain topic or that something is private is okay.

At the same time, there may be important people in your life you want to keep informed. Be honest about your decision with those you feel comfortable talking with. Just make sure you consider what was discussed above. Do not let those close to you push you away from the choice to enter rehab. Stand firm in your decision.

Maintaining Healthy Connections

A vital element of recovering from drug abuse is repairing damaged relationships as well as fostering new healthy ones. The idea is that on your own or with the help of a counselor, you can begin to build a positive support network to help you resist drug abuse in the long term.

Keeping the right people informed about your choices can do just this. It can foster understanding and show someone you have hurt that you are going to try and face your addiction. While this does not always guarantee a relationship will heal, it can be a good starting point. Remember that it is not weak to admit you made mistakes and are going to try and change for the better.

Should You Name Your Facility?

Whether or not you want to tell someone the name of the facility mainly depends on whether you want them to visit and, importantly, whether such a visit is going to be conducive to recovery. For example, you may genuinely love a person who is also struggling with addiction; this does not necessarily mean that their visit is going to help you recover.

This mainly applies to inpatient care, where you will be residing for the duration of your treatment.

Although, partial hospitalization treatments (where you spend a significant amount of time getting treatment but not necessarily the whole day) likely also have visiting protocol.

A group of friends huddled together talking

Visiting is less a concern with outpatient care, where you go to a facility for a portion of the day and then otherwise go about your business as normal.

Some people going for substance abuse treatment may genuinely feel they will do better without visitors. For the most part, you are in charge of deciding who can and cannot see you.

Whether someone can help in your recovery or not, it is your prerogative as to whether they can visit, with some limitations.

Certain visiting hours may apply, and most facilities maintain the right to deny visitors they think have a risk of actively encouraging or facilitating drug abuse.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Every person is different. You may have no issue telling someone curious about your intentions to go to rehab. Meanwhile, someone else may want to have a very private rehab experience. This is okay too, so long as you bear in mind, a healthy support network can sometimes reduce negative feelings and improve your recovery.

Once in rehab, you will be taught skills specific to dealing with toxic influences in your life. Don’t let those same influences stop you from considering rehab in the first place.

Remember that you are allowed to control the conversation about your substance abuse treatment. It is your business, not theirs. You should also remember that even the best-intentioned people in your life are not substance abuse treatment professionals. The advice of friends may not always be the most medically sound and evidence-based.

Your journey to recovery may be months or years long. The first few weeks of that journey will be especially personal, as you will often have to face withdrawal and work with a therapist to find the true roots of your addiction.

If you have concerns about how to talk about your recovery with others, mention those to your therapist. They can help you prepare to deal with the important people in your life, and this can give you the best chances of success in these conversations.

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