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Do you tell people?

Old 01-15-2017, 01:44 PM
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Do you tell people?

I haven't had a drink for 75 days and feel great. Physically, I have lost a load of weight and my appearance has changed quite a bit too (no more ruddy cheeks or baggy eyes, much less tummy etc). Better than that, lots of people have told me I seem different - 'more bouncy' was my favourite description, but basically more energy, less grumpy etc. I have pretended it's all about exercise and diet (which is true, started those too) but I would really like to be honest and say what the real reason is, at least with friends and family (my wife is the only person who knows). I'm a bit scared to 'out myself' in this way, but feel it would be helpful to my recovery to front up to it and stop hiding things from others - alcohol made me do that for years and Im trying to leave that behind.

I'm really asking if people would share their experiences (good and bad), particularly they've been sober for about the same time as I have. I'd really appreciate advice from those who have been in this position before.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:58 PM
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congrats on the 75 days - I am at 83 days myself.

I am in AA - so I use that and this Forum for talking about my sobriety.

I also have anxiety and depression issues so many people think that I am recovering from that.

I only talk about my sobriety with people that would understand and not judge me.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:58 PM
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I told family members and a couple of close friends that I had stopped drinking. That was it.
I didn't want to make a big deal, in case I started drinking again.
I am so glad you are staying sober and feeling much better.
Everyone has different ideas about whether they should out themselves re drinking, and I know others will weigh in with their thoughts soon.
Peace.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:05 PM
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In the beginning, I told a lot of people, too many people. Like you, I thought "outing" myself would somehow make me more accountable. Human nature being what it is, it often resulted in people observing me through an alcoholic lens. Instead of feeling accountable, I felt paranoid, and sometimes a bit resentful, even though I created the circumstances. My advice would be to be very selective about who you mention it to, if you mention it to anyone at all.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:07 PM
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What is it you want to tell people? That you are an alcoholic and that you no longer drink?

Just stick to "I quit drinking," and leave it at that. And if they press you for why you quit, say for your health.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:10 PM
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Just say you quit drinking. That should suffice.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:22 PM
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I guard my own heart, because no one else will guard it for me. As much as I tell myself that the opinions of others don't matter, when someone who otherwise might have been a friend suddenly starts acting different, I am going to be hurt..

We may understand alcoholism, we may understand that we have changed. But we have to be aware, too, that in the eyes of many people, addicts never change and can never be trusted. They have likely been burned by someone who promised to change and never did and hurt them over and over again. So you can't expect people to be like "Oh that's great", a lot are going to put up a wall because to them, as soon as you say you had a substance abuse problem, they are just waiting for you to relapse and screw them.

Have realistic expectations of others. Two people I will feel obligated to disclose details of my past to: my pastor and my future husband.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:22 PM
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i would not out myself . people don't understand it, they judge us, and it can have negative impacts on your life. And i'm pretty sick so i can say this, i don't want to out myself in case i can't stay sober.

good luck
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:23 PM
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I want very badly to tell lots of people about the private darkness and chaos I went through. There is something natural about wanting to tell your story to other humans, especially those who can relate. SR is a great outlet for that, and I'm sure AA does similar wonders for those who work it.

However, in more open public settings, I am not saying a word about it until the time is right, and that time may actually never come. As much as I hate to admit it, there is still a stigma with alcoholism, just like there is with mental illness and whole host of other conditions. The moment a person brands oneself as a certain thing, those who have little to no understanding of it are likely to make judgments. That may seem cynical, but I have seen it far too many times, so I'm keeping my mouth shut for now. I choose not to drink, end of story.

I have privately told only a few other friends and acquaintances who I know are sober/recovering alcoholics (they were outed not by choice...DUIs, jail, rehabs, etc.). It stays in that circle for now.

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Old 01-15-2017, 03:33 PM
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I wanted to be accountable too - so I told everyone.

What I didn't realise then and what I see very clearly now was I was looking to offload at least some of the responsibility for my recovery onto my loved ones ...or, less harshly and more simply, looking for sympathy.

Classic alcoholic moves.

I very quickly realised that wasn't the way to go. Getter better, for me, meant standing on my own two feet. Feeling sorry for myself served no purpose.

Supports important, but its not about other people doing what I should be doing for myself.

It's my job to do the heavy lifting, and it' my job to keep myself accountable..

The other thing, and what I regret most, is the fact I worried people - worried them at the time when they had the least to be worried about.

D
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by KAD View Post
In the beginning, I told a lot of people, too many people. Like you, I thought "outing" myself would somehow make me more accountable. Human nature being what it is, it often resulted in people observing me through an alcoholic lens. Instead of feeling accountable, I felt paranoid, and sometimes a bit resentful, even though I created the circumstances. My advice would be to be very selective about who you mention it to, if you mention it to anyone at all.
^^^This. The same thing happened for me with anxiety and depression, so I learned my lesson. For every cathartic and revealing conversation I had, there were two or three more that went something along the lines of, "Are sure you're OK? Really? Are you sure your family isn't in danger?" Etc. etc. I got tired of being treated differently.

ABW1
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:03 PM
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I only bring it up in a conversation if I feel it can help someone.
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:14 PM
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I generally don't go there outside support groups, at least not beyond "I don't drink" or "I quit drinking". Most people won't understand, some will immediately take a moralistic view as if I had just told them I'm a reformed baby killer, and none of it would have helped me early on, since it was all on me anyways.
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Talkinandwalkin View Post
I only bring it up in a conversation if I feel it can help someone.
Agreed. This is the only time I would consider telling someone, and even then I would try to keep it as non-specific as possible.

I've always liked the fact that we don't have to tell anyone if we don't want to - most people won't understand and I have no interest in trying to explain it to them.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:28 PM
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There are only a couple people who are aware of how deep my problem ran, and I think they know because I live with them (my parents) but we haven't talked about it.

They EXPECTED that I stop drinking. They want to see the fruits of that. And I think they have, and I think that's good enough, there's nothing to discuss. I am present, I help them out when they need me, I go to work when I'm supposed to and I do well in school. That's what they want.

The sobriety end of things is my business.

I had a situation where I acted unprofessionally and inappropriately over a significant period of time because of my drinking, and hurt people with my alcohol-induced behavior... I can't patch over what I did by telling them that I was also an addict, because it's already bad enough that they put their trust in me and I broke it - adding the fact that I had an issue with substance abuse is going to hurt them deeper because they will feel foolish for ever having trusted me!

So it not only doesn't patch things up, it doesn't make us look better, and it can really end up smearing salt in to a wound, even if it's mostly healed. I see no positives.

Two exceptions: The person is an alcoholic who needs help and you think you can help them, or the person is a recovering alcoholic with a lot of sobriety time.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:43 AM
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Some good advice here. I have only shared with a couple of "normies" that I trust and/or asked me for advice. Normies can not understand in general. My approach to my recovery is the KISS method, keep it simple stupid. Involving people unnecessarily just complicates things and that strays from my plan. My recovery is the most important part of my every day.
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:37 AM
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Thank you for sharing - these replies are very helpful and the various shades of caution urged are a message I have listened to carefully. I suspect, as one or two allude, that I may be displacing a bit too, so I'll carry on as I am.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-16-2017, 09:41 AM
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I personally don't as it seems to have really no positive outcome, and non alcoholics simply just don't understand the struggle. I keep everything with my therapist and others in my situation for the most part.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Forward12 View Post
I personally don't as it seems to have really no positive outcome, and non alcoholics simply just don't understand the struggle. I keep everything with my therapist and others in my situation for the most part.
^^^This. When I sobered up about a year ago, the Pink Cloud had me telling people about it. I was warned not to, but did anyway. It blew up in my face big time.

I keep it to myself unless I have a good reason to talk about it. Lesson learned.
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Old 01-17-2017, 07:54 PM
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At first I told very few people. Now over a year later, I don't mind telling people. I don't out myself but I've had multiple occasions where I've done favors for people and they've said "oh what's your favorite beer, I owe you a case" and I'll reply "I don't drink anymore" and usually people just leave it at that. Good topic by the way
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