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Frequently Asked Questions about Substance Abuse

Earlier today we posted an excerpt form Chasing The High: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person’s Experience With Substance Abuse by Kyle Keegan and Howard B. Moss, M.D. In the excerpt below the authors answer some tough questions about living with substance abuse in your past.

Should I tell everyone about my problems with drugs and alcohol?

This is a personal choice that each individual must make according to his or her own judgment. You certainly don’t have to tell everyone you run into that you are in recovery from substance abuse, and doing so may very well provoke unwanted stigma and even discrimination. On the other hand, it may be a good idea to disclose your status to close friends and family if they don’t already know. The more people you have around to support you in your recovery, the better; their knowledge of your situation will also help prevent well-intentioned but problematic gestures such as invitations to bars, to go out clubbing, and so on. Also, if you are intimate with someone, it’s my opinion that he or she has a right to know about your past.

Will my past troubles with substance abuse prevent me from having a job?

Discrimination against those recovering from substance abuse or addiction is against the law, but enforcement of such laws isn’t always consistent. If you need not disclose your history to a potential employer, then don’t; there’s no point in revealing the information. If, on the other hand, a job application asks whether you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, and you have, you may find yourself forced to explain why. If you feel you have been discriminated against, there are advocacy organizations you can contact, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org), or the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (www.bazelon.org).

What about starting a relationship with someone?

That’s entirely up to you. I know that my wife has been incredibly supportive of me in my recovery; it would have been immeasurably harder without her help. A history of substance abuse can complicate relationships, but there’s no reason yours should prevent you from dating and becoming involved with someone. Obviously I can’t make any promises about your own relationship status, except to stress how dangerous it can be to your recovery should you become involved with someone who still uses drugs.

Recent Comments

  1. wana

    It’s pretty hard when you start a relationship and you find out just a few weeks later he’s an addict.

  2. Søren Kjær Vestergaard


    I have been talkning with different people about which approach is the must clever. Much of the information that I get seem to understate that verbalizing a problem only makes it worse. I was a bit puzzeled by this in the beginning but not after reading “The Secret” which is the truth of the universal law of attraction. We attract the things we say and the universe can´t distingish between “yes” and “no”. Therefor will a sentense lige “No more alcohol” resonante in the Universe as “More alcohol”.

    Se more at http://www.debatcode.com

  3. Jonny

    I am 18 months in recovery and have entered into a relationship with an earht person (non addict) which is fantastic She is aware of my past which helps especially if we are going out for the evening with people who don’t know my situation, she keeps me in check !!

    I got clean in an amazing clinic in South Africa Carter Gordon Clinic, beautiful kind people in aa tranquil setting, check out the website I have enlcosed.

  4. cadeburton

    Yes, you said right every person they have their own opinion. They may not be changed once they have their thoughts.
    Alcoholism Treatment

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