Whether or not you share with people that you’re sober from drug and alcohol addiction is a personal choice. Some people believe that their recovery is a part of their identity and choose to wear their story on their sleeve. These people candidly joke, “I don’t drink. I am allergic to alcohol. I break out in hand cuffs.” Most of these people like to share about the redemption they received going to rehab. Other people simply say, “Oh, I just don’t like alcohol.” If you would like to go the route of sharing your journey-awesome. The more people share the more educated our society will become which in turn will lead more people to recovery. If you’re someone who wants to share with just a few people, that’s totally understandable too. Either way, just keep some of these things in mind before share:
- Work – The work place is a setting where you are constantly being evaluated for your performance. Currently, addiction and mental illness are considered taboo. Sharing about your struggle with addictions could raise the possibility of you being judged or passed over for a project. A wise choice is to keep your sobriety and any other illnesses private in the work place.
- Acquaintances and Friends – Friendships evolve slowly over time. This slow pace allows for you to gauge what intimate pieces of your story you want to share and with who. Figuring this out can be part of the fun of new making new friends. Something to consider when you share your sobriety is that when you open up with one piece of information it allows other doors with questions to open up also. You may get follow-up questions like,
“What do you think set-off your addiction?”
“Does anyone else in your family struggle with addiction?”
“Was it hard to recover from it?”
Some of you may be happy to answer these questions. Others may feel triggered by them. If you’re going to share about your sobriety be ready to answer follow-up questions and/or know how to steer the conversation in another direction if it gets uncomfortable.
- Dating – Dating is the most tricky of all. When people are dating they’re usually looking for a long-term connection. Depending on the other persons beliefs and experiences around addiction this information can go either way for them. One idea is to go on three dates and see if first of all you like the person. If you envision yourself wanting to develop a deeper connection you may want to bring up that you are sober and take time to answer the questions they may have. When you share about your sobriety you are essentially telling people, “I used to be someone else.” What someone does with that information is their own personal choice.