If you’re in recovery, you may be glad that you don’t have to lead a double life anymore. Being sober means you don’t have to hide alcohol around the house, worry that people will smell alcohol on your breath or wonder if you’ll get pulled over for a DUI. In the scope of things, living life without being addicted to alcohol can be liberating.
However, what isn’t so easy is coming out of the addiction closet and telling your loved ones that you are in recovery. While you are proud of your progress and new life, there’s unfortunately still a stigma surrounding alcoholics, even those in recovery.
Do You Have to Tell Others?
To be clear, you are not obligated to tell others that you’re in recovery. You don’t owe anyone that information unless you really want to share. Once in a while, you might get asked to go out and have a few drinks, but it’s easy to politely say “No, thanks” and then move on from the subject. You can also simply just say that you’ve stopped drinking because it was causing you problems. Chances are people will understand and admire your courage to commit to a healthier life.
It’s likely that your friends and family have already known about your drinking problem, so coming out to them may not even be a big deal. In fact, they’ll probably be very happy for you. You can use your own judgment if you want to share with co-workers, bosses or acquaintances. If you’re comfortable sharing that information with them, go for it. If you’re not, know that it’s perfectly okay to keep that part of your life to yourself.
Making It Effortless
There’s absolutely no shame in coming out as a recovering alcoholic. For some people, it’s as simple as denying a drink by saying, “No, thanks. I’m in recovery.” They might be asked about their experience in recovery, or they may just get an “Ok, great!” There are others who make a joke of it and say something like, “Oh, now you don’t want me to drink that. I tend to turn into a monstrous fool when alcohol starts flowing, so no thanks!” It’s all just a matter of doing or saying what you feel most comfortable with.
With millions of people battling alcoholism in the U.S. alone, your story may serve as inspiration to those who are still in hiding. There’s a high chance that you are coming in constant contact with people who are battling their own alcoholism in the form of daily happy hours or binge drinking on the weekends. Maybe, just maybe, if they learn that you are in recovery, they’ll be interested in making some changes for themselves.