Recovery is something you should take pride in. You’ve taken the steps to overcome addiction, tackled your struggle head-on, and you’re winning. The only problem is you don’t know how to share your journey with your friends who aren’t in recovery.
“Will they understand? How much do I tell them? Will they see me differently?”
These are all valid and completely understandable concerns. After all, maintaining face in front of your friends is a normal practice, especially with friends who have been like brothers throughout most of you life.
Understanding the Anxiety
Sociologist Erving Goffman studied and coined the idea of face. He defined face as the “positive social value” that is claimed by a person during interactions with others. In other words, face is the image of yourself that you attempt to uphold when interacting with other people, depending on who they are to you. For example, you uphold an image of solidarity with your friends by telling jokes, using slang, or even poking harmless fun at them. You present a different face when talking to your boss by keeping eye contact and using formalities, such as calling him “Sir.”
You may have heard of the phrases “losing face” and “giving face.” Losing face refers to when someone does something that interrupts the connection between himself and another person, such as when a joke falls flat. The other person can then “give face” back by laughing along anyway.
This idea of face is where the anxiety of talking about your recovery with friends stems from. Essentially, many people may feel like talking about their recovery will cause them to lose face.