Treatment for any illness often isn't as straightforward as it initially seems, and mental health issues—especially substance use issues—may follow a winding path. For instance, Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps has spoken candidly on the show and social media about entering treatment in January and managing her sobriety since then. But this week, it was revealed that she made the decision to go back to rehab.
De Lesseps hasn't made too many details of her sobriety public, but she posted on Instagram about celebrating her first six months of sobriety just a few weeks ago.
Although de Lesseps hasn't spoken publicly about her choice to return to rehab, People reported that she authorized costar Bethenny Frankel to speak on her behalf.
“This weekend, Luann was surrounded by her girlfriends and decided—with their support—that in light of recent circumstances, it is the healthiest choice for her not to attend Tuesday’s reunion taping so that she can continue in her healing process,” Frankel told People. “Luann is now surrounded by a core group of people who truly have her best interests at heart and who are working to make sure she gets the help she needs.”
Frankel added, “Recent additional family stress was a catalyst to her taking a break." (News broke last week about a lawsuit against de Lesseps put forth by her ex-husband and two children.)
Bravo later confirmed that de Lesseps would be skipping the taping of the 10th season's reunion episode while in rehab. “Bravo supports Luann’s decision to focus on her health,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement. “She is part of the Bravo family and we continue to stand by her as she copes with this challenging situation. At this time, we hope everyone will respect her privacy.”
As SELF wrote previously, recovery is a process, which may require adjustments along the way.
Experiencing a small slip or a full-on relapse or simply feeling like sobriety is more challenging than usual doesn't mean that treatment has failed. But it does indicate that your treatment plan may need a bit of a tune-up. And, encountering increasingly stressful life events may make you more vulnerable to using substances in the way you did before seeking treatment.
So, it's certainly not unusual or unhealthy for someone in de Lesseps's position to check in with their support system, addiction counselor, or doctor. But it is refreshing that she's actually taking the step to do so with the public eye on her. "It’s a brave and honest decision by her," Frankel said, "and everyone is rallying around her and wants the best for her."