Advice wanted regarding upgrading Secret to TS (SF-86 question 24.3)

I currently have a Secret clearance. When I was 17, I voluntarily checked into a 6-week inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program, which I successfully completed. I have not had any recurrence of that issue since (I am now 50). The issue as it relates to my clearance is that when I filled out my SF-86 for the Secret, which was the first time I had ever applied for a clearance, I asked my FSO at the time whether I should disclose that on question 24.3. (I was kind of incredulous that I would be asked to disclose something that had happened so long ago before I had even become a legal adult.)

She advised me to omit that information. Now I am being asked to upgrade my clearance to a TS and of course realize that omitting that information was the wrong way to go–I got bad advice. How do I address this on the new SF-86? And, more importantly, am I completely screwed here? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

Be truthful and report it.

If they ask you why you didn’t report it on your first SF-86, just explain the situation exactly as you did here.

Getting bad advice is NOT a valid excuse. The forms asks questions with date ranges or EVER questions.

Chzburger, has it right. If there have been no other alcohol issues since that time, it should be no problem. You had a problem and went for treatment and it worked. Well done!

Valid excuses aren’t the issue. Nobody cares about validity and humans are always imperfect creatures, with valid value.

Thank you! Would I be best off putting my explanation right on the SF-86 itself or waiting for the investigator to bring it up? My inclination is to just be completely up front on the SF-86 so at least the context is there.

I would mention it on the form itself.

It’s always better to be transparent and forthcoming as opposed to telling the truth only when prompted. They understand that nobody is perfect and transparency about missteps, especially early in the process, goes a long way in establishing trust.