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

Old 01-25-2010, 06:00 PM
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Question For those in early recovery...curious about if/when/how you told your friends?

Hi all. I'm on day 30 today. My H and I have friends who love love love to drink. It's part of every social event, and a big part. I was/am known as the person who always gets totally hammered, etc. - though in reality, they all are, I'm just the one who blacks out the most (I think).

Anyway, I have seen various sub sets of these people several times in the past month. I know they know something is up with me, as I am making these strange excuses for not drinking. It's just not the person they know. At first, I was not going to tell them because I thought it was too much pressure and I didn't want to fail. After further honest consideration, I think really I didn't want to tell them because it would make "it" official. And it would really ruin any future drinking option I might have had...you know, the old, "What if I'm really not an alcoholic?" thing. And maybe at some point, not today you understand...but in a few months, I can drink again after having thoroughly learned my lesson and paid my penance. I know that's the addiction talking - but that line of thinking is mighty seductive.

Another reason I didn't want to fess up was because it feels very embarrassing. And yes, I know that being obliterated in their presence every weekend was embarrassing too, but you know what I mean. I actually have to admit it now. Have to say the words sober.

So, for those of you who told your friends, how did it feel? Relieving? Or Embarrassing or did you wish you didn't? Why?

How did you tell them?

How did they react? Were they shocked? Were they trying to talk you out of it? Were they relieved? Did they say, "What took you so long?" Did they suddenly act weird around you?

Thank you...
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:09 PM
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hi humble!

I have told my family and also my very close friends. Yes, I was nervous beyond belief at first but, once done, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted from me. The outpouring of love and support has also been such a huge blessing and a reinforcement in my early sobriety.

Please note, however, that I've only told those that are the very closest to and whom I know want the absolute very best for me. My fear was not that I would isolate myself but that everyone would be extremely dissapointed in me, consider me 'branded', etc. For me, that couldn't have been further from the truth! I've received nothing but hugs and encouragement.

Another thing I've noticed. It's obviously not easy placing ourselves 'out there' as it is very humbling to do so. That said, I've noticed that I'm now receiving a lot of "Well, now that you've told me your stuff, let me tell you what I'm struggling with..." kind of responses.

It's been really cool because it's kind of like being vulnerable with someone gives them permission to be vulnerable with you.

That's been my experience, FWIW.

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Old 01-25-2010, 06:24 PM
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Yes...the being "branded" is something that I fear.

Also, I'm a huge perfectionist, and here I am having to admit that I am a colassal failure when it comes to drinking. This stupid liquid started to seriously unravel my sense of self and self-respect. I was always very successful at work - over achiever in everything. Honestly have been trying to "prove my worth" for years because I never felt good enough. Ever.

I have to remind myself that even flowers and plants are treated with kindness, simply because they live. Not because what they DO for others, or how much money they make - simply because they are. I am trying to internalize this, but it's really hard for me.
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:48 PM
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Hi HumbleStudent.

You asked many questions, and I will attempt to answer some of them.
The 1st person I admitted to being an 'alcoholic' to was a friend I've known for 27yrs since we were at school together.( I used that term for the very first time when I said it- and simply hearing my own voice saying those words brought in itself a mixture of embarassment and relief.)
And as someone above me posted in response to yours, my friend then opened up to me about the concerns she has for her own health.
Her problem isnt drink related, but she is a diabetic and had been finding it hard to not eat chocolate. So each of us admitted that night in a heart to heart of our own ''poisons''.

My young adult daughter was already concerned about my heavy drinking, and had made comments on it, and then I got clever at hiding it, ie when we went shopping together I wouldnt buy wine, so she thought I was doing fine, but I would go and buy it after I had dropped her off.
Then shortly after I confesssed to my friend I told my daughter too.........she's been very understanding, loving and supportive.
She encouraged me to make an appointment with my GP, which is on Wed.

I havent however told my dad.
If I can spare him the worry then I'd rather get free of it with support in other ways.
I hope that helps answer just a few of your questions.
Thanks for your post.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:10 PM
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It just kind of happened. When if felt right, I would tell someone...or not.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:36 PM
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So far, I have had very positive reaction. I have only told my close friends, mainly because I am in contact with them the most.

Actually, my closest friend is the one with whom I drank the most, and he is very supportive. Usually when I would go to his house, I would pick up a bottle of vodka on the way. I avoided his house most of last week and he knew it was because I was getting clean. He was very supportive. On Friday when I told him I was coming over, he said "If you want vodka, you have to pick it up." I responded "No, I'm not drinking, I'm really serious about this." To which he replied "Good. I am glad". It was such a relief, particularly because I was scared that he would ask me to stop off and get a bottle for him - that would have been detrimental to me. I am even happier that he is feeding off me, and is now trying to get sober himself!

What will be hardest for me is February 6. I have a party to go to and a large portion of my friends will be there. The party is open bar, so I pretty much have to tell people I don't drink anymore, if they ask. I thought about the excuses I was going to use, as it would be easier. After reading some of the other posts on this site, I realized that all I have to say is "I quit drinking. Its just not a part of me anymore." It is a response that is hard to argue with, and should end the conversation. If it doesn't, there will be other people to talk to, or I can leave and find something else to do.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:43 PM
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Honestly, I found that my drinking friends really didn't care about the 'why' part of it... I just said I didn't drink anymore, as part of trying to live healthier. Most of them shrugged their shoulders and kept on drinking.. I'm not friends with most of those folks anymore, we don't have anything in common come to find out. Actually most of them didn't need me to say anything as I stopped going to bars and such, so I never saw a lot of them again. Anyone who tried to tell me I should 'just have one' wasn't a friend at all.. they should respect my decision to live healthy, and they taught me who the toxic people in my life were. My real friends really didn't notice, as drinking was never the focus of our social time anyways.
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:32 AM
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All my friends knew I was a drunk before I quit, so I tell them "I quit drinking". I've received positive responces and no responce at all. One person asked me, "Did you find God or something?".
It isn't hard for me to tell close friends. If they want nothing to do with me, fine. And I have some VERY heavy drinkers for friends. They're the ones who understand the least while, conversly, needing help themselves the most.

Aquantances can be tougher. Sometimes I say I'm on medication and can't drink, (which is true). Or, if I feel comfortable with them enough, I'll just say, "I used to drink too much so I stopped."

I understand your situation and it's a hard one. I wish I had better answers for you.
Go with your heart. Say what you feel comfortable with. Or just say "Thanks, but no thanks." to that drink.

Best of luck,

Ghost
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:12 AM
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They saw it when they came and visited me.
Wasn't very hard to miss.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:02 AM
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My wife was sooo happy when I told her. I'll let everyone figure it out for themselves. Her family is a bit judgemental....then they'll get [email protected] My family never knew about my drinking anyway....I was great at hiding it and when to self medicate. My poor wife was the only one who had to deal with it and explain to the kids why daddy was sleeping on the couch again.

The reason its working for me is 'I' decided I was done with it....and SR. Thanks guys.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by AaronK View Post
My wife was sooo happy when I told her. I'll let everyone figure it out for themselves. Her family is a bit judgemental....then they'll get [email protected] My family never knew about my drinking anyway....I was great at hiding it and when to self medicate. My poor wife was the only one who had to deal with it and explain to the kids why daddy was sleeping on the couch again.

The reason its working for me is 'I' decided I was done with it....and SR. Thanks guys.
Hi Aaron,

What a great post! I'm right there with you on why it's working. I tried to stop for my family in the past but it doesn't work. I had to decide to quit because I wanted to be done with it - sick and tired of existing in the abyss.

Well done and thanks so much for your post!

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:24 AM
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First off....Congrats on Day 30!!! For me I posted on my facebook that I was quitting but no one really knew the extent of my drinking except my husband. Since I was pretty much a closet drinker they would probably freak if they knew how much I drank. If I posted that I started a day off with a glass of wine and continued all day long.....I don't think they would understand or they may judge. I don't need negativity at this stage of recovery so I have it under wraps. I know plenty of closet drinkers but to actually admit is kinda hard. To come as a military spouse to the community may reflect negatively on hubby (even though alcohol is out of control with many service members and spouses). I think some would just go OMG...and to think you were around my kids. Meanwhile, I was never drunk around any children but they wouldn't believe that I could just turn off drinking when I wasn't home. Probably they wouldn't believe me saying I just quit cold turkey either. That is why I am here amongst friends because we understand each other.

Yayy for a sober day!
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:05 AM
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I drank at home alone 99% of the time so no one but my family knew or was told except for two long time friends. THey've been very supportive of my efforts and very encouraging. It helps.


sick and tired of existing in the abyss.
that pretty much sums it up for me too.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:27 AM
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Congratulations on 30-days! I only told my wife and a few close friends - primarily the people I spend the most time with and hurt the most with my drinking. Only one of hat group didn't take me seriously at first and I told him if he wanted our friendship to continue, he had to accept me without the whole booze and corner bar thing. He got the point and has become as supportive as the rest.

You sound a lot like me. I was always the guy that could be counted to drink until the verge of blacking out so its just assumed I always want a drink. I've been just saying "not tonight" and leaving at that. It's hard because I'm sure you've realized how pervasive alcohol may have become in your life. And People are talking about me not drinking. But I don't care. This battle is very personal and if they're my friends, they'll accept it or they don't need to be in my life. This is one case where you have to say "me first."
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:40 AM
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I told my adult daughter that I quit drinking.....told one of my sister ~in~laws....and had a conversation with my husband this weekend where I told him "I wanted to quit "FOR GOOD"

but as I read your post....and all the responses....I think I have still friggen missed the dang boat on this one AGAIN!

I have yet to tell ANYONE that I am an alcoholic.

I can say it to myself, no prob.

Really the one who is going to roll his eyes at me over the actual "word" will probably be my spouse.......


Major Congrats on your 30 days Humble ..........
and for bringing this pertinent needed move to my attention.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:56 AM
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I tried AA several times and never told a soul I joined AA or was an alcoholic. I just quit going into bars - for a while. Looking back this just gave me license to relapse, and I did. On my 4th attempt in AA I told everyone important to me. That was insurance against a relapse in my opinion.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:50 PM
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I have only told one friend and he was "maybe you need to slow down a little, but you can start drinking again after a couple of weeks or months. No reason to quit for good." He really didnīt want to understand how serious it is for me. I was very disapointed with him. But I also know that I have been good at keeping it a secret, how most alcohol I consumed. We mostly talk at MSN, but this friday night I will se him IRL and I sure hope we can have a new and better conversion about it.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by din View Post
I have yet to tell ANYONE that I am an alcoholic.
Hi Din, another good reason for you to actuall do face to face. Everyone at a meeting says they are an alcoholic.....and for good reason.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:54 PM
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Hi Jan,

It sound like the friends you have made are because it has enabled you to drink. To keep on at someone who is driving because they haven't been drinking......what does that say?

I am sure you are going to meet lots of new friends and they will be drinking mineral water with you.
Well done
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:58 PM
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I've already said here recently: I told everyone because a) everyone knew I drank anyway - I was the drunk *other* drunks worried about; and b) because I didn't want any bolt holes I could run to if I changed my mind.

It also felt good, for me, to tell people - like a weight off my shoulders and a tangible line in the sand to mark off an era and start a new one.

Most people were supportive - relieved even.

A few of my drinking buddies reacted like yours did Jan - I was being dramatic, I was fine...just cut back - but that was a natural response from people whose lives revolved around drinking...

My family also denied I have a problem...I suspect it's easier for them to deal with that way and that's fine - at least they respect my teetotality now.

I wouldn't make such a song and dance now..but I'm a different person now. I rarely, if ever, say anything beyond no thanks I don't drink.

I still think I did what was right for me, back then in 07.

Do what you feel is right for you HS
D
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