Addiction is a dark time in people's lives. It consumes every aspect of your life and destroys a lot of it. If you do not get a hold of the situation in time, you can have life-time repercussions such as felonies and prison time or even worse. Your life could end abruptly from an overdose. For many people in recovery, they do not want anyone knowing about their past. They would rather leave that part of their life a secret. That is why many anonymous groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) are very popular. The stigma that society has towards addiction and recovery is generally negative. Society has always looked at people with addictions as weak or lacking the willpower and strength to just stop using drugs or alcohol. It is obviously not that easy and in reality, recovery is a very hard thing to accomplish. Recovery is something that I feel should be valued and shared.
I was recently asked by a friend of mine for advice on his past opiate use. He has been dating a girl for quite some time now. They have become very close and are now in a serious monogamous relationship. They spend hours each night talking about all sorts of topics. They talk about their pasts and what the future has in store for the both of them. They have even talked about how many kids they want to have together. What hasn't come up in conversation is his past opiate abuse.
The fact that he is in recovery has never been brought up in conversation. He said that the opportunity never presented itself and he began to get down on himself. He is worried that it is too late to say anything. He feels as though he should have said something a long time ago and now feels like she may feel betrayed because he kept this big secret from her for so long. I believe it has a lot more to do with how he feels about his own recovery and the fear that she may judge him and possibly end their relationship.
My personal life is an open book. It is a choice that I made as soon as I got out of rehab. When I began my blog online, I vowed that I would share everything, no matter how terrible it may make me look. As long as it could potentially help someone else and keep them from making the same mistakes as I did, I saw my recovery as a way to share with others facing the same problems.
My situation is much different than most. I personally feel that it is extremely important for people in recovery to tell their partner early on about their past and that they are in recovery. First off, their response could tell you right from the beginning whether or not you want to be with the person. The change you made to make yourself successful in recovery is a huge part of who you are as a person today. Never hide that from anyone and be proud of the person you have become.
Unfortunately, not everything we did in the past is something to be proud of, but every experience helps to shape who you are today. Be open about your past and be proud of your recovery. I can understand not wanting to share your story publicly with the world, but your significant other should be someone who not only knows what you have gone through, but accepts who you have become.