Should I Tell My Daughter I Am Going To Rehab?
anonymous Asks ...
I am checking in to a rehab next week and I am terrified but I am also relieved that is going to be over soon. I am an opiate addict and I have tried everything to stop and I cant. My 9 year old daughter lives with her mom and I normally take her on two day activities a week and I am supposed to be in rehab and sober living for 3 months or maybe even longer. Should I tell her the truth about where I am going? I have always kept my addiction a secret from her and she has no idea. If she learns that her daddy is a drug addict will this be bad for her? If I don’t tell her the truth then I cant see her for 3 months since she can visit on the weekends but she will obviously figure things out if she comes to the rehab to see me. I am torn about what to do. My exwife says it is up to me but she doesn’t think it is a good idea for our daughter to know since she is almost a teenager and she needs to respect me as a father and role model.
Rebecca Ashton Says ...
Thank you for your question and well done for taking positive action with your addiction.
As I do not know your daughter, I cannot comment on how she would take the news and what her level of understanding might be. I hear what your ex wife is saying about the need for your daughter to respect you as both a father and a role model, but on the other hand, I wonder how your daughter would feel if she found out about this from someone else?
It is possible that this experience could be used as a learning opportunity for your daughter; a chance to educate her about the risks and pitfalls of addiction. It is possible that it could even bring you closer, but as I say, only you can decide. I think it also depends on whether your daughter is a 'young' nine year old or a more mature nine year old.
I think that it could be helpful to speak to the people supporting you in rehab about this. It would be an opportunity to discuss this in a more in depth way and they may have suggestions and strategies for how you can go about this. You may even find additional support and suggestions from other people on the programme.
I wish you the best of luck for the future.