Wendy Williams Opened Up About Her Life in a Recovery Home. Here’s How You Can Be Honest Too.
“I have been living in a recovery home,” the talk show host admitted to millions of viewers on her show this week.
Wendy Williams is owning her truth.
On Tuesday, Williams, 54 — a controversial talk show host is known for her no-holds-barred approach to addressing delicate subjects in front of the camera — revealed in a heartfelt, tearful statement that “for some time now, and even today and beyond, I have been living in a sober house.”
“You know me for being a very open and truthful person, and I’ve got more to the story for you,” Williams said, surrounded by members of her live studio audience.
“You know I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in my past, and I never went to a place to get treatment,” she added. “I go to several meetings all around town in the tri-state area, and I see my brothers and sisters caught up in their addiction, and look for help.”
After work, Williams explained that her “24-hour sober coach” drives her back to the recovery home where she’s been living, where there’s a strict policy of “doors locked by 10 P.M., lights out by 10 P.M.”
Recovery homes — also known as sober living — are drug- and alcohol-free facilities that people newly in recovery temporarily use for housing before transitioning back to regular life. They provide crucial structure during those early days of recovery when patients may be vulnerable to a substance use relapse.
Williams’ decision to publicly addressing her battle with substance abuse — and recent steps to get her life back on track — required enormous courage, but she’s not the only star to speak up about sobriety.
Indeed, stars like Demi Lovato and Macklemore are just a few of the others who have been open about their attempts at recovery.
In 2018, Lovato confessed that she, too, had slipped into the clutches of a relapse in the emotional single “Sober.”
Grammy-winning rapper Macklemore (“Drug Dealer”) has long been open about his history of substance abuse, once telling MTV in an interview that “I probably wouldn’t have been here,” if not for the extensive treatment that brought him back from the brink.
How To Talk About It
If you too are struggling to figure out how to address your own recovery, experts have a few helpful tips.
1. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Being honest about your recovery is “owning that, yes, this is part of who I am, and I’m willing to talk about it because, if you love me, you have to love all of me,” said Kate Ramsey, a Clinical Supervisor for Retreat at Lancaster County.
“I think what people struggle with in talking about these things is… people know my secret. ‘Will they look at me differently?’” But “your worth doesn’t lessen,” because you’re overcoming these struggles, Ramsey added.
2. Tell your story authentically. “We can’t choose having an addiction, but we can choose how we share information about it, who we let into our lives to be a support for us, and who we choose to stay outside,” Ramsey said. Express key parts of your story but remember, you don’t have to share everything.
3. You can’t control the other person’s reaction. “Once you’ve opened up… everybody’s got questions,” and you can’t manage how the person on the receiving end will take the news, Ramsey noted. But you can control how you present the details, and feel secure that the right people in your lives will show empathy and compassion.
4. Ask how you can help. If you’re on the receiving end of someone’s admission, offer to help, suggested etiquette expert Elaine Swann, founder of the Swann School of Protocol. Simply asking “What can I do to support you?” can show your bona fide concern.
5. Don’t pry. Avoid asking overbearing questions, Swann cautioned. “There is a difference between genuine questions that lead to some sort of help or assistance or support, and questions where you’re just seeking out the gory details,” she said.
If you’re uncomfortable divulging certain details, too, you don’t have. “You say to them, ‘That’s not something that I want to share at this time,’” she concluded. “You have to be brutally honest without being brutal.”