Just as you were beginning to believe that you had put all of those memories in the past, one of your pals, if you can even call them that, decided to bring up the topic. You can’t help but worry about their motivations whenever they engage in behavior like that, whether it be in a casual discussion or something else. However, at this stage of your recovery from the addiction treatment, what you should do about it is more essential than how you should feel about it.
Differentiate Between True Friends and Not-so-true Friends
One thing for you to determine—even before you strategize which response to use to deal with the mention of your past—how good a friend is. Do you have a long-term relationship that’s important for you to maintain? Did you grow up with this individual, go to school, serve in the military, play sports, or engage in other activities that brought you in close contact for years? Do you work with this person? Or is this someone with whom you’re only casually acquainted, a person with whom you don’t really have much in common?
These factors are crucial differentiators since they will help you map out your response or action when the person talks about your past experiences. If the relationship is important to you, then it goes without saying that you will want to apply a different strategy than if it is one that you can afford to lose (or one that you should lose).
Work Out Strategy in Advance
Figuring out how best to deal with unpleasant or self-destructive situations is something you learned during rehab. Sometimes these lessons need revisiting, especially since learning something – and even practicing it in group therapy – is a lot different than actually having to use it in real life. If you have continuing counseling sessions with your therapist as part of your aftercare program, discuss coping mechanisms and strategies you can employ in this situation. Role-play what the person says and your potential responses to it. Which ones seem more effective? How are they different depending on the importance of the friendship?
Aside from or in addition to aftercare, private psychotherapy or one-on-one counseling may also be helpful in resolving this issue, as well as the myriad of other challenges that are sure to surface during the course of your recovery.
It is highly likely that attending and actively participating in 12-step support groups will be a component of your post-treatment schedule. Make effective use of the resources at your disposal to have a conversation about how to address this circumstance with your sponsor and/or other members of your support group, paying special attention to those members with whom you have a history or set of experiences that are comparable to your own. As sounding boards, they have the potential to be quite useful. What works for one individual might not work for you, but you can use it as inspiration to come up with your own strategy by treating it as a brainstorming session.