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Old 08-15-2006, 05:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What Did You Tell Your Friends?


All right, I may be getting ahead of myself here since I decided to stop drinking all of ONE day ago. ;-) But I'm wondering from those of you who have been sober for any amount of time... what did you tell your friends / family if anything? I have stopped drinking before, but I never stick with it, or really intended for it to be permanent - just a set periof of time. I think part of that, is because I haven't told anyone, so it's easy to slip back in. No one knew I'd quit in the first place.

My family is very gossipy and judgemental. There are several alcoholics in the extended family and I hear others talk behind their backs. They also have no idea how much I drink. Nor would they ever pressure me to drink, so I see no point in telling them anything other than "Yeah, I don't really drink anymore" if someone offers me a beer. That's pretty easy.

My FRIENDS on the other hand..... Eventually one of them will buy me a drink, or buy me shots. Or say "We're doing shots!" and call me a big wuss if I don't want in. I don't think they're bad friends for this; they mean well. But I don't know what to tell them. "I'm not drinking tonight." only works for that night. Even then I'll get the "Awwwww come on, you can have one!" No I CAN'T, that's the whole problem! I'm not saying I can't resist this temptation, but I'd like to eliminate as much of it as possible. I don't want to make a big announcement then fail. Then again I don't plan on failing; I plan on succeeding. I'm tempted to send out a mass email to the people I hang out with most and let them know I've stopped drinking. Not for a month, not to get-in-shape, for good. I think 90% of my friends would respect that if they knew I was serious. The 10% that don't and give me a hard time... well I won't hang out with them anymore. I don't want sympathy, I don't want to make it a big deal, but I also don't want people offering me drinks constantly. How have some of you handled this? Is it better to wait until I have a certain chunk of sober time under my belt so they know I'm serious? Or what?
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have an "advantage" over you in this regard--I have 15 pounds to lose and you don't. I'm telling everyone that I'm stopping temporarily--at least until I can get back into my 32 jeans and have my blood pressure back under 120/80.

I'm on track for these things to happen in a few months. By then, they'll be used to it and I will say, "You know what? I was really surprised at how much better I slept and felt when I stopped drinking--and it is so much easier to maintian my weight. I've decided to drink once a year--if that."

You may not have as much weight to lose as me but you are very health concious if you want your body weight to be 12%. Your friends probably see this side of you and you can probably tap into it. They may not totally buy into it but the only thing that matters is what you think of yourself.

If your friends don't support you, or if they mock you, you need friends that are more interested in your welfare than they are looking for drinking buddies.

Good Luck
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What I did is I told my really close friends that I was quitting using and drinking. I told them that I was doing the twelve step thing. They undertood and that was that. The others I would just tell them not to buy me drinks and if they asked me why I would tell them what I was comfortable with. Some I said just taking a break, others I was on the wagon. I was not the first of my crew to get sober. One of the few, but not the first. Eventually, they all stopped asking and they respected my decision. Those that don't support you, you need to detach and move on. Good luck.
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I said nothing at all to my family and you'd be surprised at family gatherings, how nobody really notices how much or what you're drinking. One thing I know is that nobody is ever going to make me feel defensive about my choice. And, I don't owe anyone an explanation. If you think most of your friends will be supportive, then maybe you want to tell them, as it might make things easier for you. If you're not ready to tell them, then you can try to come up with a reasonable explanation. I tried that a couple of times early on - I said I was on antibiotics, something like that, and it felt bad. Recovery is about honesty and that's been a big issue for me. I was lying and making myself feel bad, so that someone else could feel okay about my choice. I never did it again and now I choose not to explain, if someone asks.
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi mattman im Sharon and Im an Alcoholic.

It was thru a family intervention that I ended up in rehab for 28 days. I havent had a drink of Alcohol since 8-11-90. My family did for me what i couldnt do for myself.

I read your post and wanted to say welcome to SR and thank you for sharing.

At the time when i went into rehab, i was forced into the system of recovery. It was that or die and that was what almost happened to me when i tried to end my life a few days before rehab.

When i stepped into rehab i was a mess. I had no direction in my life. All i wanted to do was die and end my miserable life. I had hit my bottom and had enough.

So it was at that point that i had the DESIRE to STOP drinking and the WILLIGNESS to do what ever it took to stay sober and get back to my family as soon as possible.

2 weeks had passed and i was to be released, but was told i wouldnt stay sober on my own. They wanted to send me to a halfway house out of Baton Rouge, La. I begged them to let me stay in rehab there and would complete a 28 day inpatiant program followed by a 6 week intensive outpatiant aftercare program.

I did do all that and today, 16 yrs later i am still working my recovery program one day at a time.

My family had no idea i had problems with drinking because i hid it so well. It was when my behavior changed and got into a bad accident coming home drunk in Feb. 90 and then trying to end my life in Aug. 90. The progression of my disease was extremely rapid.

Sure i felt and still feel different from my family because out of 4 kids i ends up as the Alcoholic. I feel like i have nothing in common with my family.

Same thing with friends....works friends have no idea...well in a small way some know i cant drink sucessfully and they like to gossip, so i keep my recovery to myself.

I do have a bumper sticker and a license plate in case another recoverying alcoholc sees it and then they wont feel like they are alone in their recovery here in my neighborhood.

When i got sober it was suggested to get rid of people places and things that remind me of alcohol. I took my recovery seriously and the suggestions seriously.

My sobriety and recovery is for me. No one tristed my arm to get sober. No one threatened me. I was not brain washed. and I didnt join a cult. : )

Recovery is a new way of living life without alcohol. Alcohol screwed up my life and I never want to go back there again.


The trick is......TODAY....I NEVER SAY NEVER or PERMANITE.....Because there r no guarantees in life.

So I take my recovery a day at a time. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow hasnt gotten here yet. All i have is today to try to stay sober by following the 12 steps provided to us in recovery.

YOUR PROGRAM IS YOURS AND FOR NO ONE ELSE. DO THIS FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU. NOT TO IMPRESS ANYONE ELSE. But to learn a new way of living without alcohol beginning today.

Thanks for letting me share.
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When I was a drunk, so were all my friends.

When I opted for sobriety..
Most of my friends drifted away on their own
I no longer went to bars where they were.

My interest had changed and so had my goals.
I was growing and they were not.

There have been many new AA friends to party with.
We do all the same stuff...only we remember it...

Take care...
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A very wise man by the name of Gooch would tell people...

It interferes with my meditation.
Most people hear medication and drop it from there.
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If I am ever offered a drink - I just say thank you - but I don't drink..There are more reasons that just Alcoholism that people don't drink...Health, many Athaletes don't drink...A lot of people just chose not to drink anymore - even if they don't have a problem like we do...I think I have only been in that situation once at an office party (Man - they REALLY drink there) after a suprised look - everyone went on drinking - they really only care about themselves.....I didn't tell anyone till I had been sober a while & I didn't hang out with old friends
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi
I think who you tell or not tell is up to you. I don't tell people - oh BTW I'm an alcoholic. I did however tell a few very close friends and my family.

I told the friends I did because it held me accountable and to get support. It was an great decision!!! Everytime I've had a rough night and having a pity party (oh poor me I can't drink) they'd call me and we'd go out for a walk or coffee at talk. They didn't judge at all and didn't drink around me.

I told my family because again my parents were there for support. Both called me almost everyday (now it's once every few days) and I used both of their houses as an escape. I had a few family gatherings and it was cool to have a few non drinkers in the family so I wasn't 'left' out. I sat beside my sister at dinners drinking juice.

I told them to be held accountable as well and not to make a big 'secret'. I've struggled with some personal stuff including the feeling of failure. With their indirect support it's become less of an issue for me. However having a 'secret' would imply for me that I'm ashamed of it (which I have been).

As for others... No one from work knows nor many of my friends. When I go out no one needs to know why I'm not drinking. If it's come up I say I'm taking a break for my health which lots of people do.

It's really up to you who you tell
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I told my close friends and my employees that I was giving up drinking, cause I was a drunk and could not control my intake of alcohol. Flat out told them that while i loved my beer buzz in the beginning of my drinking (after a few beers) that I could not stop at a few beers, it was off to the racxes so to speak. You know, the 2 o3 beers would put me in a state where I'd carry pon to 12 or 15 beers. I felt awkward divulging this info to some people, but in the long run it has given them a new found respect for me and my wishing to quit the problem drinking.

It felt good to unburden my soul and i believe I am a better man for it.
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Old 08-15-2006, 08:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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depends totally on the person and the situation for me.

Usually i say nothing and just dont drink, dont accept or order alcohol and figure that I dont need to explain myself to anyone and i've never been asked.

other times, in conversations, I may say that I quit drinking because it made me feel like s***, or that It makes me depressed, or that it makes me tired. (LOL! HUGE Understatements) (Try: it puts me into blackouts, I cannot control myself once I start etc..) and that I just feel so much better without it.

Another way I have put it is that I decided not to drink alcohol because there is alot of alcoholism in my family and I carry the same genes.

To my alcoholic friends, I don't hold back...
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm open and honest with my boss, since I feel he needs to know. I'm also open with my main co-worker, (we're sort of each other's counterpart). Those two are the ones who helped me with bail, (boss the first time, boss and co-worker the second time, and I gave them back the money plus some immediately).

My other co-workers have no need to know -- its none of their business.

Family... Well, they don't need to know either. The issue will probably come up sometime in the future, but then again, it might not. I don't see them too often (for reasons stated elsewhere). If asked I'll be honest with them, but I'm not volunteering anything, (yeah, my relationship with them can be pretty guarded at times, always has been -- sad, huh?).

Friends... Well, I don't have a social life, other than the meetings I attend almost daily. I've pretty much been a loner my whole life (I'm not saying its been out of choice), the point being that no one's ever calling me up to meet them at the pub.

As a matter of personal policy, if asked I'll respond with "No thanks, I'm not drinking today", which is both truthful and sufficient. If pressed I'll probably respond with something like, "No, I'm drying out" -- its no one's business if the "drying out" period is a day, a month, a year or a lifetime. If they won't respect that then its their problem.

I like the "...it interferes with my medication..." response! Pretty much no one will argue with that. The "medication" is ABSTINANCE!
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As far as my family goes, after my last DWI, my father told me I should never drink again as over the years especially my younger years he knew I drank a lot and for awhile I think he thought I was just a binge drinker until recently, but a few months back I told mom i was still drinking, but not to tell my dad and when I went to their house when my oldest son decided to come back home he asked me if I had been drinking(he was always suspicious) and this was after I quit and I told him that I had quit for good so I think he believes me this time . As far as my brother and sister go, well I think they thought it was ok as long as I didnt drink too much, but then i had a talk w/ my sis when i decided to quit for good and she was very supportive and proud of me for quitting after i explained that I needed to quit cause I could'nt stop and my youngest son who is 12 was happy that I was quitting too cause he didn't like me drinking, my husband thought my drinking wasn't as bad as it really was partially cause i was good at hiding how much i actually was drinking on a daily basis and thought if i just cut down, but then when I explained to him that my problem was worse than he realized he was happy that I was quitting, he doesn't drink now but years ago he had a drinking problem and quit and he has been sober for several years except for an occassional drink, but he can drink one drink now and stop after that and it is only about once every 6 months or a year. My neighbor who i used to drink with when we first moved in to this house, i told her and she said she was proud of me cause she knew i had a problem and that i was a daily drinker and drank a lot, but she never criticized me for it when i was drinking, plus i think she was also understanding about it cause her ex-husband is an alcoholic and i believe he quit drinking also which was a partial reason for their divorce - his drinking i mean.
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi Matt - My opinion is that some family members can be as toxic as the booze, so don't tell them. As far as friends, tell 'em you've started to develope an ulcer - Jeez, who'da thought??!! Then, down the line when you're proud of your success you may want to share with some close buds.

The decisions you're making and the actions you're taking right now are all about you; don't weight yourself down with worry about what others think.
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Good Thread. These are questions I want to know too. In the past I've just said I'm driving (most people totally understand that) or I say I'm taking a break (again, how long is my business). I really do want to lose about 25 pounds - and i know it's from the many beers and hangover foods and eating at 2 a.m. after the bar closes. My problem is those drinkers who say - well then do what we do - drink vodka and diet or whatever and diet. Just don't drink beer. I do not drink liquor as I KNOW that is a quick drunk and I'm scared of going that route (turning into a liquor drinker).
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, these are all great suggestions. I think my concern is I want them to know it's a permanent thing and not a "tonight only" so eventually they'll learn and not try to get me to drink.

The word "Alcoholic" has a HUGE negative social stigma, so I don't want to go "Hey everybody, I'm an alcoholic!" I don't want to make a big announcement either. People who simply don't drink, don't make big announcements. I'll deal with it 1-on-1 as it comes up. WHEN someone asks me why I'm not drinking or offers me a drink and they're NEW I'll simply say "I don't drink." You're right LOTS of people don't drink for many reasons besides alcoholism. If they know me (and therefore know how much I USED TO drink) I'll tell them "I don't drink anymore." If they ask why I'll just say "I couldn't control myself and kept getting too drunk so I decided it's better just to stop." How can you not respect that?? Sounds like a SMART decision to me! As we all know, drunk people don't listen and repeat themselves so if I get the "Come on just have one!!" ...at like volume ELEVEN even though I'm 2 feet away. I'll say "That's the whole problem, I can't have just one." And then throw in some humor... "And since I don't drink anymore you're going to have to help me out. You are my official designated-drinker. Now buck up and do that shot for me you WUSS!" I think that should do the trick. A drunk person would totally latch on to the "designated-drinker" concept. It'd be like a game for them.

Staying at home or away from the bars is NOT an option for me. If giving up drinking means not going out, then I'm never going to quit. For one I run a Southern California nightife website and HAVE to go out and take pictures to update the site. Staying home sober doesn't prove ANYTHING to me. I see it as a personal triumph to go hang out sober in a bar full of drunks. I actually LIKE it. I relish the fact that I'm sober and in control.... and can magically remember everyone's name. Most drunk people don't even notice you're not drunk anyway. There are other reasons to go to bars besides alcohol: Meet new people, socialize with friends, dance, listen to good music or a good band, play pool/darts. It's really not all about the alcohol. In fact as shallow and superficial as this sounds the thing that gave me the final push to do something about my drinking was the fact that I stopped meeting new girls at bars (and my dating life dried up) because I was too annihilated to carry on a conversation!
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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mattman's quote......

[Most drunk people don't even notice you're not drunk anyway. There are other reasons to go to bars besides alcohol: Meet new people, socialize with friends, dance, listen to good music or a good band, play pool/darts. It's really not all about the alcohol. ]



Hi Im Sharon and Im an alcoholic.

For me....going to a bar sober...i would definitely feel uncomfortable. Unless u r with another sober person. It would make me feel completely uncomfortable trying to carry on a conversation with someone who is under the influence.

They themselves are drinking and thus have a chemical in there system to make them behave irrationally. They r not being their true selves. Right?

And here I am sober....wide eyed....clear mind...in control ....and the other person is not in control. how could i feel comfortable talking to someone who is not all there.....does that make sense?

Sure a bar is a good place to dance, listen to music....yadda yadda yadda....but to meet a guy there who is drinking and im not....he wouldnt remember the evening the same way i would....him, maybe not at all.....

So bars are not a place id feel comfortable in anymore.....unless i was drinking.....and im not going there today. : )

Thanks matt for sharing your thoughts and how u feel.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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a good friend of mine , 40 yrs old gave up drinking completely when he was 20. He doesnt stay in all the time. Goes to pubs on friday lucnhtimes, office functions etc. He just says "I dont drink". He feels no need to talk of being an alco-whatever. people get used to the idea. If pressed on the subject which he rarely does he just says something like he used to like it too much but it makes him act like a ********. People dont say..go on.. have a beer ...act like a ********.. Each to their own, but he doesnt do the one day at a time thing either. For him its just over....
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So far, I haven't needed to explain myself. I just order something non-alcoholic. If asked, I said "I'm driving" or "big day tomorrow" and no one blinked an eye.

Big test will be holiday and birthday parties where a big group of family gets together and the wine starts to flow. Oh, and yeah, those wine-tasting fundraisers that I have to attend because I'm on the board etc. Haven't crossed those bridges yet.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I have just tried to stay away from places that serve alcohol, for example went to the golden corral recently cause didnt wanna go anywhere that had alcohol I know eventually I will have to and I guess my big test will be my brother's wedding which is at the end of this October, but I am determined to show everyone and myself that I can do it.
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