One of the hardest parts of the recovery process is finally admitting to yourself that you need help — and then seeking out said help. It’s tough for us as humans to admit defeat and it can be even tougher to admit that same defeat to others. That’s why telling your friends, family, or loved ones that you are going to rehab can be such a difficult conversation to have.
It’s important to remember, though, that admitting that you need to go to rehab is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Admitting and then going to rehab shows that you want to be better as a person and you don’t want drugs and alcohol ruling and ruining your life anymore.
If you need to go to rehab and want to have that conversation with friends or loved ones but don’t know how to do it, this blog is here to help walk you through the process. Let us make the chat go as smoothly as possible so you are one step closer to your goal: being healthy.
Have a Plan in Place
The best way to go about having this potentially difficult conversation is to plan out when and where you are going to have it. Not only does this allow you time to plan out what you are going to say and give you the proper time to prepare yourself mentally, but it also affords the people who you are going to break this news to the same luxuries. The last thing you want to do is have a conversation of this magnitude at a time when the people on the receiving end can’t dedicate the proper amount of time and attention to it.
You also want to make sure you pick a location that isn’t just comfortable for you but is also a place that is comfortable for others who will be in attendance. Avoid a public place, if possible, as this can result in the conversation turning awkward if there are strangers around who can hear what you are saying.
Write Down What You Want to Say
You don’t have to write out every single thing you are planning on saying word for word; after all, this isn’t a speech or a presentation for school. That being said, it would be beneficial to, at the very least, write down some specific talking points that you want to address.
This conversation will likely be uncomfortable and stressful, so it can’t hurt to get your thoughts together in an effort to make sure that you say everything you want to when the time comes. It’s likely that you are only going to get one shot at having this talk, so make sure you say everything you need to say in a calm and well-prepared manner. The more you seem sure of your decision, the more they will support you and feel like they are also a part of this new stage in your life.
Be Honest and Upfront
If you have been battling substance abuse and addiction, it’s likely that you haven’t been very honest and truthful at some point during your relationships with these people. You have likely been dishonest with yourself and those around you in both trying to hide your addiction and telling yourself that you don’t have a problem. There comes a point when the lying needs to stop, and there’s no better time than when it comes to telling people you care about that you are getting help and going to rehab.
A great way to show that you have changed your ways and are ready to be honest and upfront is to share some of the ways in which you were dishonest while you were using. While it might not be necessary to get into specific details, letting them know that you are aware of what happened and taking ownership will go a long way in showing them that you have changed and that you are taking your addiction and your choice to get help seriously.
It’s also important to remember, especially with friends and family that you are particularly close with and are around a lot, that they likely already know that you have not been truthful with them — and that’s OK. If anything, opening up and being honest now will allow you to start to rebuild that trust with them.
Be Accepting and Understanding
Your struggle with addiction didn’t just have an adverse effect on your life, but it also negatively impacted those closest to you. This includes family, friends, and fellow loved ones.
While your friends and family might be happy that you are getting the help that you need by going to rehab, they might not be ready to fully forgive you for your behavior and actions when you were using. It’s important to be accepting of this and understand that everyone processes things in their own way and at their own speed. Just because they aren’t willing to forgive you today doesn’t mean that will always be the case. You have to allow them to forgive you on their time, not yours.
A great way to do this is to verbally acknowledge that you understand and accept how they feel and to let them know that you are open to having a deeper conversation with them whenever they are ready. You can also let them know that, by going to rehab, you are not only trying to improve your life for yourself but also because you want to reconnect and start over with them, as well.
Don’t Try to Predict How They Will React
Whatever you do, do not try to predict how they are going to react, especially when you are thinking about what you want to say. Nothing good can come from this. Even if you guess right, the stress and anxiety involved in trying to play that game should not be something you put yourself and your body through in its current state.
If you predict that they will react one way and they react in another way, it could cause resentment on your part or make the entire experience even more awkward than it might already be. It’s important to remember that you ultimately made the decision to get help for yourself, and that is all that matters. Whatever happens from that point on should not impact your decision one way or another.
What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Breaking the News in Person, or What If I Can’t?
While sharing the news that you are going to rehab is best done in person and face to face, not everyone has that option. They might not live close to their family or loved ones or, as a result of their addiction, their family and loved ones might not want to see or speak to them anymore. If this is the case, there are other ways in which you can share your news.
In the event that a phone call is not an option either, you can use one of the following alternative communication methods:
- Write a letter
- Send an email
- Send a sincere text message
If you choose to use one of these methods, it’s important to personalize your message to each individual. This can allow you the opportunity to bring up specific incidents that may have happened and apologize to the person that it directly impacted. It also eliminates their ability to react in real-time, which can take some of the stress and anxiety off of you if you are worried about what their reaction would be.
Again, telling people in person is the best strategy, but there are ways around this if it’s not an option for you.
Looking for More Advice Related to Going to Rehab?
Deciding that it’s time to go to rehab to get the help you need is a big first step, but it is still just the first step in a much longer process to regain your health. This entire process can be very stressful and overwhelming at times, especially if you don’t have anyone to help you.
Even if you are doing it alone, it’s important to remember that there are people out there who want to support you. At Kingsway Recovery, we want to get patients the help they need to beat addiction. We offer a variety of treatment programs and therapies for a wide variety of different addictions and mental health conditions. We will work with you to create a treatment plan specifically meant for you and your needs.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and could benefit from going to rehab, contact us today. It is our goal for everyone who comes to us to go on to live a happy, healthy, and sober life.
Nicholas DeSimone PHD, LPC, LCADC, ICGCII, ACS founded Kingsway Recovery, LLC in Mullica Hill, New Jersey in June of 2017 after 5 1/2 years of recovery and a wide history of working in a variety of treatment modalities. Throughout his time in recovery he married his loving wife, completed his Masters, PHd and became a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He also is a Certified Trauma and Gambeling Specialist. Today, Kingway has grown to have 8 clinicians and over 30 staff members with a variety of treatment tracks all dedicated to helping people in recovery and giving them the opportunity to heal.