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Step Seven: Inform others of your recovery plan

This isn’t anything as personal or complicated as AA’s Fourth and Fifth Step. The intent is simply to make sure that everyone who needs to know, does know. That you get to explain things in your own way. So you don’t find yourself in the position of having to keep your recovery a deep dark secret.

Make your own list of people and go over it with someone whose advice you trust. Recommended criteria for the list: people whose support you need, and who will probably find out anyway, so it’s best if you tell them up front.

What to tell them? In your own words, the following:

  • Something about the problem that brought you to treatment.
  • Your desire not to keep secrets from them.
  • At the same time, you’d appreciate it if they would keep your confidentiality with others. After all, who needs more gossip?
  • A little about your recovery plan – not the itty-bitty details.
  • Reassure them that you’re OK and you’re on your way to health.

Almost invariably you’ll get some questions. If there’s one you don’t know how to answer, discuss it with a counselor. If the questioner is close to you and a family session is available, you might invite them.

As to how much of the rest you share, and with whom you share it — that’s your call.

Suggestion: Don’t follow the ‘celebrity’ model of recovery, which seems to require big public confessions. That actually adds pressure. We’re trying to make recovery easier, not harder.