In our society, there’s a lot of shame and discrimination associated with being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Hearing the word “addict” or “alcoholic” brings to mind stereotypes that suggest weakness and possibly poverty. But, should you keep rehab a secret? The truth is that anyone, from any background or social status, can become ensnared in addiction.
Especially for those with high-profile careers, the desire to maintain a socially acceptable image is strong. When one imagines what friends, family, co-workers, and fans/followers will think, it’s easy to predict their judgment and assume that one’s entire reputation could be destroyed.
While it’s true that some people will judge, it’s also true that being transparent about going to a substance abuse treatment center doesn’t need to spell the end of your career.
Should You Keep Rehab a Secret?
Keeping a secret is a huge psychological burden. There’s all the work that has to be done to hide the addiction, lying to the people around you, feeling like you’re living a lie.
While it can be momentarily painful to admit to others that you struggle with addiction, it can also be a huge relief to release the burden of lies and deception. This relief is both immediate and ongoing, as you can finally live in honesty and integrity daily.
Being addicted is not a moral failing. It’s a physical and psychological disease that can, and should be, treated. As with any other illness, the responsible thing to do is get treatment. Release yourself from any shame you may be feeling about your situation.
It’s Not About Them; It’s About You
Other people can have their opinion, but it’s your life that’s being hurt the most by your addiction. Make your own health and well-being your first priority, regardless of what others think.
Focus your efforts on reclaiming control of your life from addiction. Don’t overly concern yourself with skeptics and those who have written you off. It’s part of the human experience to face hardship. You may be surprised to find that some people admire you more when they see you working hard to beat addiction.
It’s your life. Take charge of it.
How to Tell Others About Your Addiction and Treatment
Should you keep rehab a secret? Once you realize that your addiction has gotten out of hand and it’s time to seek help, the big question is, “Whom should I tell?” Then, “What should I tell them?” Here’s a simple guide to making these important decisions:
1. Tell Yourself the Truth
You may choose to confide in some people, while keeping others in the dark about your situation. But the one person you must be absolutely honest with is yourself. Admitting to yourself that you have a problem and need some help solving it is the first step to taking back control of your life.
This commitment can only come from you. However, once you have pledged to beat your addiction, embracing help from others can make the process easier and increase your chances of a successful, long-term recovery.
2. Decide with Whom to Entrust Your Secret
Should you keep rehab a secret from your friends? Identify your circle of trust – those individuals you know will support you no matter what, who genuinely want to see you succeed. These are the first people to reach out to for support because they won’t judge you and they’re willing to help.
While it’s not recommended to hide your addiction out of shame, it’s also up to you with whom you want to share your story, and in how much detail. Let’s face it, some people are less than supportive. Those people can find out about your addiction issues later.
For now, focus on your core supporters – even if that’s only one person. If you don’t have anyone you really trust to support you, give us a call, we can help.
3. Share the Truth with the People in Your Circle of Trust
Once you’ve identified the people in your life whom you trust to support you on this journey, convene a meeting with them to share the facts about your addiction. Be honest with them about how the addiction has affected you, and acknowledge the ways in which it has affected them too. Ask for their support as you go through drug addiction treatment.
4. Decide How You Will Share the News with Others
For those outside of the inner circle you established in step 2, devise a plan of what to divulge to whom. How will you explain your absence from work while you are in treatment? What will you tell extended family members?
You can choose to be open about it, or take a more discreet approach and keep it on a need-to-know basis. When you do share the news, it may help to keep the focus on what you are doing to fix the problem rather than on feelings of guilt or shame. That being said, you can’t control other people’s reactions, so don’t take them personally.
Should you keep rehab a secret if you have a high-profile career? You can choose to keep it under wraps, or elect to be open about it and take the stance that you’re not afraid to admit when it’s time to seek help. Great leaders surround themselves with a team of experts and support personnel to accomplish their goals and by seeking treatment in a luxury rehab center, you are stepping up as a leader in your own life and setting an example for others to follow.
5. Say Goodbye to Unhealthy Relationships
Expect some people to come and go in your life during and after rehabilitation. Some will judge, some will accept, but that’s up to them, not you.
The last thing you need as you embark on the path to recovery is to put up with “friends” who judge you for having an addiction and seeking treatment. You may find that sharing the truth shows you who your real friends are.
If some people in your life react poorly to your news, you may consider that a sign to part ways. But still, should you keep rehab a secret from those that you care about? If the person is very important to you, you may decide to talk to them to help them overcome biases and judgments about addiction, but set clear boundaries and don’t tolerate people in your life who bring you down.
Expect some judgment, and have a plan for how you will deal with it – so that the opinions of others don’t get in your way as you move forward with getting healthy.
It takes courage to admit that you have a problem, both to yourself and to others. Dig deep within yourself to find that courage, and then find the right people to support you through the process.
Seek Out a Program Where You Are Treated with Dignity
Shame should never be part of the addiction treatment equation. At The Dunes East Hampton, our approach is centered around compassionate care where residents are treated with respect. We provide confidential drug and alcohol treatment for those seeking an exclusive, private, luxury rehab experience that understands the particular needs of wealthy and high-profile individuals struggling with substance abuse.
Our executive program is tailored to the unique needs of busy professionals and, unlike most rehabilitation programs, allows you to maintain a degree of contact with the outside world, if needed, to keep your career and public image on track while you go through residential treatment.
Discover New York’s Exclusive Treatment Center for Executives and High-Profile Professionals