Many people work toward a delicate balance between opening up and keeping their personal life private. This month, Alumni Director Molly Mammen responds to questions from alumni regarding opening up to others about their addiction or mental health treatment experiences. Read on to see her suggestions about transparency and accountability in early recovery.
- How do I hold myself accountable?
Accountability in early recovery is super important and often involves having a support system to help achieve this. Accountability has several forms, it could be something like making a point to call your sponsor every day, attending your outpatient groups or meetings regularly, and most importantly, showing up when you stated that you would.
I’ve heard from many alumni that they make a point of staying connected with their fellow FHE friends as a means of accountability. Many people have group text threads where they count on one another to check in. Others host regular Zoom meetings as another means of connection and accountability. If you happen to miss a text or a meeting, there’s a good chance that someone from your network will make a point to reach out. That’s how we keep each other on track!
- Will I be able to keep my job while I’m in treatment?
Depending how long you have been at your job and how often you work, many jobs are able to assist you with FMLA in order to grant you the time off you need to pursue treatment. Additionally, some people will use their vacation time in order to take the time off.
Deciding whether to disclose to your job that you are going to treatment is an entirely personal decision and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. For myself, considering I had been at my job back home for a long time and had a good reputation for my work ethic, I made the choice to disclose to them why I needed the time off. I was terrified of what their reaction would be, but for me it felt important to be up front about what I needed. Even though I didn’t end up returning home, my employers were incredibly supportive and told me that I would be welcome back and they wished the best for me.
- Are people going to judge me for going to treatment?
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that there could be a bit of judgement regarding the need to go to treatment, however over the years, many people have become much more open about their treatment experiences which has gone a long way in destigmatizing the need for treatment. More often than not, what I hear from alumni is that when they disclose their time in treatment, people are often supportive and appreciative that the individual took the time for themselves to get help. Even more amazing are the times where alumni disclose their treatment experience only to realize that others around them have also gone as well!
The world is changing and more and more people have become accepting of others struggles with mental health and substance abuse. If you feel comfortable sharing your experience, do it! The more and more people talk about it, the more and more the need for treatment will become normalized. Plus, you never know who you could help with your story!