Preparing for Difficult Conversations: Five Things to Think About

Mental Health

Making transitions in life can be difficult, especially when it involves having conversations about aspects of our life we may have previously hidden. Sometimes, we struggle to function while our addiction and challenges remain out of sight. The stigma attached to mental health may mean suffering in silence for extended periods. Behaviors—good or bad—that others associate with us, are a result of our situation. For example, we may have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs in private or conjured up 101 excuses to refill the prescription pain pills more frequently than the prescription instructions. 

  1. Honesty

Being honest about addiction and the challenges we face is a critical first step in addressing those issues. This may mean facing painful realities, one of which is admitting a problem we’ve been struggling with for several years.

With the worry of unknown outcomes, it is not surprising that we may want to delay those conversations. However, from the point of acceptance within ourselves, moving forward without being honest with those closest to us can make us feel we are living a lie.

When those closest to us have no idea about the truth, opening up to the truth can be scary. After all, you have built your personal, professional, and intimate relationships around a different reality. Breaking that reality down means risking losing relationships while you’re at your most vulnerable point.  

  1. Not Talking

When we choose to not open up, we deprive ourselves of the support and understanding we might have had if we’d begun a conversation with our loved ones. Living in fear of the unknown feeds more fear, creating a vicious cycle. This wasted negative energy feeds on itself, creating further stress and further triggers. It might also be worth considering that those close to you are searching for answers already and would want to support you if they knew what was going on.  

  1. Living In Secret

We may think we have it sorted out. We may believe we are successfully hiding our challenges and issues. However, it is worth realizing that the quality of our relationships and intimate partnerships will reflect what is going on behind the curtain.

For example, you may have angry outbursts and find it difficult to control emotional impulses; thus, your partner may be struggling to understand where these outbursts are coming from. They may know something is wrong but not know what it is, adding to their confusion. Sitting down and opening up to the truth may be the understanding they have been searching for as it relates to your behavior.   

In an otherwise loving, healthy relationship, loved ones will want to help and support your attempts at recovery and wellness. They may be relieved at finally knowing the truth with the possibility of better understanding the relationship.

  1. Don’t Go Through it Alone

Reaching out for guidance from others who may have been in your situation before can be a lifeline. While no one can predict outcomes, you can expect support from those who have been there before you.  

There is never a perfect time to open up about something that you have been hiding or you find it difficult to talk about. However, the longer you leave it, the longer the weight of responsibility can sabotage or trigger a relapse. Professional support can give you ideas about how to get started or how to begin important conversations. 

  1. What to Expect

No one can predict outcomes; however, it is essential to have an open mind about what you can expect. It may be fair to assume your loved ones may be shocked, particularly if you have lived in denial that something was wrong. They may be fearful about the outcome of the relationship when you embark on changing your behaviors. Some family members may be angry, upset, or feel betrayed. It is crucial to allow them to feel these emotions. While this may be old news to you, they are hearing it for the first time.

Any of these reactions are normal, natural responses which you should prepare for in advance. Having a network of professional and peer support will give you the pillar on which to lean when things get tough.

Social stigma means emotional, mental health, or substance abuse challenges remain hidden. Talking about difficult subjects with people can be scary, awkward, or difficult; it is a lot easier to share happy feelings. It can be a challenge when we struggle with the right words to discuss our addiction or mental health. Unfortunately, this can mean we suffer in silence for years. There is never a perfect time to open up to others about something you have been hiding or find difficult to talk about. Still, the longer you leave it, the heavier the weight of responsibility can be. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program to meet long-term and sustainable recovery needs. We look forward to helping you explore the best supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035. It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.


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