I’ve Decided to Go To Rehab: Who Should I Tell?

Going to rehab can be a scary, overwhelming decision, and telling the wrong person could be a huge mistake. There is no need to broadcast it to the whole family, tell all the guys at work, or break grandma’s heart, but there is also no reason to keep it all a secret. Here are some basic people to share your decision with when deciding to go to rehab.

Spouse/Significant Other

The most important person is going to be your spouse or significant other. Through this process, you are going to need a strong support system and a spouse/significant other is going to be the main link in that chain. They serve as your best friend and partner. You will need their love and support the most. In order to build the chain, this link must be made strong first.


If you have a good relationship with your parents, their links will also be strong support in your chain. Parents will be proud that you are seeking help and want to help as much as they can throughout the process. If you have children it may be important to have your parents so they can help your spouse with the kids while you are gone. If you are close to only one parent it is fine to be more open with one than the other, but it is best for each parent to at least know so as not to drive a wedge between their marriage with secrets.

Young Children

This one is going to be tough. But it is extremely important to tell your children where you are going, even if they are young. If you have had a problem in the past and tried to keep it a secret from your children, more than likely they have at least noticed that something is wrong. They will notice rehab too. Do not go into great detail about your problem, where you are going, or why but simply explain that you do have a problem and have to go away for a while to get better. Explain with love that you want to be a better parent for them and you are sorry for leaving but will be back. Make sure you give them a feeling of hope and strength so they do not feel abandoned or afraid.

Adult Children

Again, it is important that your children know what is going on. If you have teenagers, or your children are adults, telling them the truth is just as important as telling your spouse. If there have been problems in the past, oftentimes teenagers have lost all hope that anything is going to change. Give them that hope by confiding in them and giving them your trust. Again, in a loving way, explain that you want to be a better parent and help them to have a stronger sense of responsibility while you are gone.

Close Family Members

There is no reason to announce the news at the family barbeque but, if you have extended family members that you trust, share your decision with them. They will want to be strong links in your chain. If you are not close to your parents, other family members will be extremely important to mend those broken links.

Close Friends

Tell your decision to close friends. Do not pour your heart out to the guy who runs next to you at the gym or the secretary at work but the friends who have been there for you. If you have one or two good friends who have been with you through every problem and have helped you fight through them then they will want to support you even further.


If you have been seeing a doctor or psychiatrist about your problem it will be important to tell them as well. They will want to be there for you when you get home to help continue your walk to recovery and give you further strength.

If you are in a situation where you do not have a spouse, are not close with your parents, or have a bad family history, do not be afraid that your chain will be weak. As long as you have one person, they can help you build the chain and mend every broken link left by absences.

Going to rehab is not something to be ashamed of. Do not try to go through it alone and build a chain that will be there to grasp for support on your road to recovery.

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