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For those in early recovery...curious about if/when/how you told your friends?

Old 01-26-2010, 04:17 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I'm surprised to see you had so many 'drinking friends'.. I agree more with flutter.. a lot of them weren't really friends at all. Some of them tried to convince me to drink even though they saw it was hurting me.. Misery loves company as they say. I remember going to a substance abuse counselor and after getting home, my phone rings and a so-called friend told me "never mind that gay ****, lets go out and get some beers.'" People like this actually exist. They, for whatever reasons, want to drag other people down. I broke contact with ALL people who behaved like that towards me.. Sure, it left me with about 3 friends, but it as definitely the right decision
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:03 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Telling people has been one of my biggest struggles in recovery so far- I have trust issues anyway, and in the past, people have used things I told them about myself against me, so one of my big fears still is that once I will openly say that I am an alcoholic, some people are going to use this against me.

I have told friends that I trust gradually - to some I told pretty early on, for others it took me a while, and to some I haven't told (yet). So I am still in the process and I am still working on these issues. Some didn't know about the extent of my drinking, and some sensed that there was a problem, but the reactions were very positive so far. Every single person I told has said that I made a good choice by quitting drinking. I cannot tell you when th exact moments were I decided to tell people, I guess I just felt the time was right.

I always felt relieved, and to some extent it even feels invigorating because it makes me feel like I am finally dealing with my problem.

On the other hand, there are acquaintances that I can't avoid run ins with at university and that have me seen at partys in my fulll blown alcoholic mode, and I have trouble dealing with these situations. Just today I found myself in a quite unpleasant situation that someone made a comment on some of my former drunken exploits he witnessed.
I was too taken aback to reply quite as elegantly as I wished I had, but after that I figured that since some people assume I am drunk anyways, next time I'll say: "I have an alcohol problem and situations like this are also one of the reasons I quit drinking. I'm sorry that you have only met the alcoholic in me so far, but if you are an open minded and would like to, you can now meet the sober person."
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:08 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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I've told everyone that has asked or if it ever comes up in conversation, e.g., "Hey do you want to go get WASTED with us?" and I've yet to get a negative response. Most people are like, "ok cool," and don't care either way, and others are very supportive. I don't tell them the whole story, just that I don't drink anymore because I don't want to. So far, so good.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:12 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Humblestudent ~ Your words really hit home with the perfectionism & success --> failure cycle. Thank you for sharing. It's a very powerful realization.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:28 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Thank you all! Littlestranger - I too have trust issues, and have had things used against me in the past that I've shared. I think when it invariably comes up that I'll just go with Fakey McFakerson's line...because it's true.

I will report back on this to close the loop.

Thank you all so much again.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:30 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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The desire to quit smoking crack was so strong, I had no problems telling my closest friends and family members. Right down to my own two children (boys, 13 and 18 now). I've told everyone I know personally, except for my boss. She guesses since we once talked about weight loss, and she asked how I lost my weight, I said I could not comment as it wasn't exactly a great way of losing it, that it had to something to do with drugs. But, for legal reasons, I'd rather not tell her. I don't want to lose my job.
Only one person, do I regret telling. And that is my second husband. That judgemental jerk-wad has taken and ran away with that information. Forcing me to see our child on his terms alone. Knowing I cannot afford to take him to court, and legal aid won't help me because I am not facing a jail sentence. Thanks. As angry as I am, though, our son is angrier and getting resentful more towards his father than me. And I hate to see that. Resentments can be one thing that leads down the path of destruction and addiction runs long and hard in our family.
And, for the most part, I am glad I told my loved ones. They stepped up, even though they didn't have to, and I did get to be an extremely crafty, manipulative, lying, Itch with a B, for a while, but they hung on and did what they could, and that was to be there for me when I kept trying, again and again, to get clean.
You really DO learn whom your true friends are, when the tables are stacked.
I was never embarassed or afraid to tell them. I have always been ashamed of what I did in active addiction, but the best thing I did was telling people and telling them I wanted to quit. The using buddies and dealers disappeared and the good people stayed with me.
And if I can tell people I am a crackhead trying to get clean, dropping stems into people's laps and asking them to please get rid of them, then many others can tell their friends and family about their own journey too. :ghug3
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:45 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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My close friends knew that I had developed a problem, and they were very happy for me when I quit. I'm also at an age (40's) when many of my friends have also quit drinking or significantly cut down, so it doesn't seem to surprise people at all when I say no thanks to a drink. I don't usually volunteer the information that I've quit, and I can't really think of many times when it's even come up. My spouse has also helped me out by telling a few of our "couple friends", saving me the trouble of having to have that conversation. My experience has been that people are very understanding and want to make me as un-self-conscious about it as possible.

That said, I do have some regrets about telling some family members in more detail than was necessary. In retrospect, I should have just said that I quit because I could see things becoming bad, and just left it at that. It gets tiresome to continually be asked, "How are you doing? Are you feeling any temptations lately?", that sort of thing. It's as if telling someone this "secret" about you gives them permission to ask you about it whenever they please. They may mean well, but like I said, it gets old.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:24 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Not told anyone close - But sure htey know.

2 days.
Although I am sure many people have noticed something about my dependence, only my mother in law - at our home for the month of December - said " I really only want water for dinner...". She did say no more. We get along pretty well.
I have not dared to talk openly with my wife, not my kids ( both in social work ). I have told two recovering friends. The one on Saturday just told me... I'll go with you whenever you want. I feel he is a friend.
The other one was more than a year ago. He directed me too much towards religion for my (present) taste...
But thanks to both .
I am worry for February. Going to Switzerland to visit my family. We celebrate a lot. Especially with the product of their vineyards...
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:32 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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First off, Humble, nice going. I'm at almost 9 months, and it gets easier so stay the course. You're going to have occasional access to alcohol, but with each passing day, sobriety becomes more a way of life. It will become more and more a personal definition of yourself. It'll be easier to say no to booze when offered because, quite simply, you're not someone who drinks. I'm probably not describing that very well but from my experience throughout a long hot summer, the holidays, and a trip to Las Vegas last week, I found it increasingly easier to say, "No thanks or I don't drink." (One more big personal hurdle before the one-year mark for me: March 17 -- for this half-Irish-blooded American. But I have no doubt my sobriety will remain intact!) My God, it was great falling asleep and waking up in Vegas sober and not hung-over.
As for dealing with others, I wish I could tell you that I've found great support from other people, friends or family, but I can't. From my wife to my hard-drinking brother to our hard-partying friends to even my tee-totaling mother, not a single person has said "good for you" when I explain that I'm abstaining from alcohol for health reasons. No, I've never come out and said "I'm an alcoholic" to any of them (let the scolding begin), but even so, I remain fairly surprised at the lack of support. Thank god for SR.
I'm not trying to deter you but being honest here. In my case, no one -- including my wife or parents -- understood how alcohol slowly was taking control of my life. Only I could grasp that, just like only you truly can grasp your relationship with booze. Many of the friends of whom you speak don't drink to get drunk and don't have the problems with alcohol that we do, so they don't understand. Good for them. Others, perhaps the majority, are on the road to facing their own problems with this stuff. I was at a party Saturday night and watched a half-dozen beautiful people with exactly those issues. It was sad. I've even had a couple folks say some pretty nasty things about me not drinking (check my timeline as I've discussed this on SR before), but it ultimately comes down to me saying to hell with them. This is me sober. Deal with it. Frankly, the biggest social change you'll notice being sober is that some "friends" have truly irritating or obnoxious personalities. You probably tolerated them while you were under the influence, but that may be harder now that you see them clearly! That's your gain, not a loss.
Sorry for long, rambling reply that ultimately was all about me, but I think there are a few nuggets in here that may help your continuing road to recovery. U R doing great!
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:11 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by swanfrogg View Post
I am worry for February. Going to Switzerland to visit my family. We celebrate a lot. Especially with the product of their vineyards...

Hi Swanfrogg,

Welcome and congratulations on 2 days.


Do you have a plan for the holiday in Switzerland to avoid the wines?
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:36 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Welcome swanfrogg

Feel free to start your own thread if you like - you might get some ideas about how to handle that holiday?

D
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:05 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Freeport - thank you so much for sharing your experience. You hit the nail on the head...I've already seen some drinking behavior in others that doesn't sit all that well with me sober. It's interesting.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:54 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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ANY addict clean IS truly a miracle, but sometimes I just really have to admire alcoholic's and their efforts to remain clean and sober. It's not like I can walk into a store and they legally sell crack cocaine (I get to be extra sneaky in getting my DOC! whoopee). ANYWHERE (that I know of), yet alcohol is perfectly legal everywhere (that I know of). And I understand the temptation has got to be out of this world in early recovery.
The more people you tell, that you feel you can trust, I really believe the better off you are. No matter what your DOC is. Many loved ones will trip over themselves to help. Some may seem distant until you "prove" yourself, to them, that you are indeed trying to stay clean and sober.
I know MANY MANY people, who are in great recovery, with their support systems. Family, friends, meetings, therapy, treatments... Don't know too many (can't think of one, actually) who is "going alone" and making it... Those kind of people may be out there, but I really believe the chances of success are lot better when you've got people.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:19 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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At first I didn't think I'd tell anyone for many of the reasons mentioned by the OP, but the more people I've told and the more I've gone to meetings, the easier it's been and the more right it feels. I'm not blurting it out to everyone I know and casual acquaintances don't really notice what you're drinking anyway, but I'm telling the people close to me as it comes up and feels right. Telling people is a commitment and each time I do it, I reaffirm that I've made the right choice.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:01 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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My experience:

1. The people I drank with were not to be my lasting friends. It seems they did not want to see me sober, either because I wasn't the same or it reflected uncomfortably back on them. This included the father of my child, my best friend/roommate from college, and another close friend I spent a lot of time with, up until very recently (she blew me off on my birthday b/c she was drinking). I also relapsed with every one of them, at different times. For the last two years I tried to negotiate these relationships and keep them somehow... but now I've had an epiphany. We are not on parallel paths and they are toxic to me. I feel lonely, but it's better than listening to the fall out of unrecovering drunks. As for other "friends," I quit going to bars about two years before I quit drinking (couldn't trust myself in public), but I remember it was very hard to not know "what was going on" at various establishments where I felt I had a wide circle of friends. I have not kept in contact with one soul who was a "bar friend." And to think after all those soul baring confessions, heart to hearts, and after parties! :P

2. Up until a few months ago I was very open about decision to quit. However, after I got some uncomfortable reactions from people, I toned this down. I had a burning desire to be an open book and completely honest about what I was going through. I completely disregarded the fact that there is still a lot of stigma attached to being in recovery. I found this can be a factor with extended family, as well. Which leads me to ...

3. I take that burning desire to an AA meeting. I am not actively working a step right now, nor do I have a sponsor, but if I want to talk about not drinking this is where I go.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:59 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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2. Up until a few months ago I was very open about decision to quit. However, after I got some uncomfortable reactions from people, I toned this down. I had a burning desire to be an open book and completely honest about what I was going through. I completely disregarded the fact that there is still a lot of stigma attached to being in recovery. I found this can be a factor with extended family, as well. Which leads me to ...
Wow, well said! This is something I am feeling right at the moment, and it is valuable advice to be a little careful. A woman of the group I go to told me exactly the same thing, and that she even expeirnced that people were taking her less serious after she told them. The opinions of people outside of the circle of recovering addicts/alcoholics have about us may be not as understanding, and that's why chose to be open with close longtime friends, but am careful with other people.

And what parasol said about keeping it simple and not too detailed probably is a good idea:
That said, I do have some regrets about telling some family members in more detail than was necessary. In retrospect, I should have just said that I quit because I could see things becoming bad, and just left it at that.
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:22 AM
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Hi,


after I got sober I told my closest friends about that. Nobody was astonished ; and i had thought i had really good hidden the fact that I was drinking... Well, my friends were happy about that and helped me a lot. But these friends were all people who did NOT have a drinking -problem; i am sure that my drinking buddies would have behaved differently.


During the time I found it easier to be open about the fact that I do not drink anymore. I was tired of finding excuses on birthday -parties of collegues...I have to say that I didnīt get any bad reactions; If people ask me then I tell the truth. Sometimes I get reactions like >oh, you donīt look like that > >GGG> but thatīs it.

LOVE

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Old 01-31-2010, 12:04 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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I am in a situation a lot like yours. No one in my life knows I have a drinking problem because I've put so much energy into hiding it. With most of my friends, I am just not prepared to tell them.

I'm single, and most of my friends are single and go to bars. One week in (I'm at two weeks now), I went out to a bar/restaurant with two of my co-workers and some of their friends. Everyone was drinking, and my one friend - the heaviest drinker - gave me a hard time about it. "Why aren't you drinking?" "Come on, have a drink." I was having just as good of a time without it, but left early because his persistence made me uncomfortable.

Tonight, I had a board game night with five of my friends. The couple hosting it are typically not drinkers, so I thought it was safe. I got there and everyone - including them - were drinking. The guy repeatedly offered me alcohol. Finally I let him give me a glass of wine with dinner, and when no one was looking, poured it in the glass of the friend sitting next to me.

If they knew, they would support me. But as it stands, they're baffled. I'm actually thinking of saying that I'm on a medication incompatible with alcohol just to satisfy their curiosity.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:22 PM
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I have actually been on a medication that you can not drink with and that stirred up more questions than "why aren't you drinking"...crazy, nosey friends I suppose.
I am not telling anyone except for a very close friend that lives out of state and my bf, cuz he and I have decided to do this together. We don't drink much, but the little we were doing has caught up with us and we are not fans of the lifestyle anymore. I think this means we are going to lose a group of friends in the process.
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