Going to a treatment center for drug or alcohol addiction represents a big step and a turning point in your life that can have far-reaching positive outcomes.
Should you tell your friends that you are going to a rehab center? For some of your friends, this may be the first time they hear that you’re facing alcohol or drug addiction.
Benefits Of Telling Friends About Your Addiction
As a practical reality, if you will be receiving residential treatment, you may want to consider telling your friends where you are going and why.
Otherwise, they may worry about you unnecessarily. If any of them suspected or knew that you were facing addiction, they may assume the worst.
Knowing that you are seeking addiction treatment may be a relief to your friends, who will likely want to support you in your decision. You may be able to keep in touch with them while receiving care.
How To Tell Friends You’re Going To A Rehab Center
Starting an addiction treatment program can be intimidating at first. Knowing that you have your friends’ support can provide a needed boost.
Here are some tips for letting your friends know that you’re going to a treatment center.
Decide How To Tell Them
For many people, drug or alcohol use can hurt relationships, including friendships. Some friends may not be ready to sit down and have a conversation with you about the challenges you’re facing.
Writing a letter is an option. Writing a letter gives you the ability to think carefully about what to say and gives your friend the chance to choose when to read it.
If you do decide to have a conversation, it may make more sense to do so one-on-one with friends, which can be more personal and less intense.
Being honest means not just being honest about going to a drug and alcohol rehab program, but about why.
Some friends may not realize that a substance use disorder is at the root of the mental health issues or change in behavior they have been witnessing in you.
Others may suspect that you have been experiencing alcohol or drug abuse. Regardless, being honest and open can help strengthen your relationship.
You may feel vulnerable talking about the challenges you’ve been facing, but being honest with your friends lets them know you value their friendship.
In conversations, be receptive to what your friends have to say about entering rehab. They may be experiencing conflicting emotions. Some may express relief and joy that you are beginning your recovery journey.
Some may be skeptical of the recovery process and doubtful of your intentions. Others may be angry or simply not believe that you intend to complete an alcohol and drug rehab program.
Healing relationships affected by addiction will take hard work and time. You can start the process now by letting your friends air their concerns without arguing with them.
Most people today are aware that addiction is a disease, not a choice. However, it may come as a surprise to some of your friends.
Letting your friends know that you are seeking medical care for a chronic health condition can help them understand your situation without judging you.
It’s up to you how much you want to discuss your treatment plans. Simply telling them that you’ll be receiving treatment may be enough.
For other friends, you may want to go into specifics or even let them know how to get in touch with you during treatment. Letters and emails are good ways to keep in touch.
You also might want to inform them of support groups for friends and other loved ones of people with addiction, such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon.
Other Relationships To Consider
Friendships aren’t the only relationships that experience the effects of addiction. Family members and coworkers often do too.
For parents, giving your kids some age-appropriate context and understanding of the tensions that they have no doubt been perceiving can help them understand the situation.
Let them know that you love them and that you’re getting medical care because you want to take care of yourself so that you can be there for them.
In terms of work, you don’t have to tell your boss or other coworkers why you won’t be at work. However, if these relationships are close, you may be able to confide in them.
Work with your company’s human resources department to make sure that you are complying with company policies.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to ensure a drug- and alcohol-free workplace but also provides protection from discrimination for people seeking treatment.
Also, you may be able to receive a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It would be unpaid but would require your employer to keep your job for you upon your return.
Access Addiction Recovery
If you or a loved one is looking for addiction treatment, you can find it today. Call us to learn about your treatment options and how to access them.
Published on August 24, 2023
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Grand Canyon University — Family Dynamics of Addiction and Recovery
- Social Work in Public Health — The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Resources for Families Coping with Mental and Substance Use Disorders
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — Sharing the Dream: Is the ADA Accommodating All? Chapter 4 Substance Abuse under the ADA