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Old 12-19-2011, 10:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Should I tell my friends I'm in recovery


I've been sober for a little over 5 months now. This is my 2nd time in AA. The last time I lasted from Aug '06 until ~April "08.

I'm in school working on a graduate degree. I live in the midwest and I'll be here for another 6 months or so. I'm getting a little tired of keeping this secret from my friends. I keep giving excuses for why I'm not drinking or going out or dating etc. It's mainly because I'm going to meetings. I'm scared of telling them that I'm in AA. Do I have any rational reason to be so afraid? I don't want my personal life to be public. If people find out it could negatively impact my career.

There's only 3 people that are really close with me at school. These would be the only people I would tell. I also believe that I would feel like a burden's been lifted if I do tell them.

What are the pros and cons of this?
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You already know the answer deep down. You just want someone to give you the answer you want to hear.

Try this- Flip a coin. Heads you tell your friends, tails you don't. You'll know what you have to do by the time the coin lands.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi whiskeyjoe...I think you should consider the difference between your friendships and your career. Which one have your worked hardest for and which one will you carry with you for the rest of your life.

The first job I had completely sober since being a stay at home mom was very important to me. I make friends easily, I am out going and trustworthy. People can depend on me. BUT my job is my job and although I made some great friends and met some great people I consider them an enhancement to my journey. My Journey. I didn't feel as though I needed to explain anything to them.

At this point I would say that your career, your schooling and your sobriety are the 3 more important aspects of your life right now.
I understand you may be feeling guilty about not telling them the truth but it doesn't sound like it's the right time to open them up to this. Go with your gut. How do you feel about it?
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi whiskeyjoe - welcome

When I got sober I told everyone - I would have told the milkman...

that worked for me because I had no workmates and I needed to tell my friends - they were my drinking buddies and I needed to make a definitive statement.

But workplaces do need some thought - and only you know your workplace.

If you're sick and tired of giving excuses then really all you need to do is not give excuses anymore.

Just say you're not drinking anymore. You've decided to be a non drinker.

You may *feel* the need to explain but I really don't think it's required. You don't need to add anymore to that, I don't think - if you do tho, you could always say you haven't drunk for awhile...and you like it

D
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I appreciate all of the replies. I feel much better about the situation now that I got it out of me. I think I'll continue to keep it a secret.

I have no problem telling people that I don't drink when the question comes up. My real issue is the questions people have about my whereabouts. "What did you do this weekend." Usually I say I was just hanging out with some friends. That's good enough. My fear is that they'll keep digging and I'll eventually get caught up in a lie and make myself look like an ass.

I was going to ask a follow up question about dating some of the women in my school. I don't want to have to lie to them though. I think I need a rule to keep away. Don't fish off the company (or the school's)pier.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi whiskeyjoe,

I see that Emerald Rose and Dee gave you some excellent advice. As to dating, I don't see why you can't tell your dates and potential dates the same thing, i.e... you are a non-drinker, you don't drink and you like it.
Is there really a reason to say anything more, or to give explanations? You certainly shouldn't have to explain yourself or justify your non-drinking.

Let's face it, if a woman has issues with you not drinking, then obviously she is not a match for you.

If you find someone who might be a potential long term date, or mate, then you can always re-visit this question down the road and decide how much you want to or need to tell that person.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey Whiskeyjoe,

I’ve got friends that I told and some I did not, I let my ‘gut’ guide me there, some friends were supportive and some not so much, the ones that drank like I did weren’t worth telling, they all simply made excuses for their own drinking.

As for career, I agree that you should be more careful, but there too I have told a select few, I am self-employed, so who I tell I am very selective. Let’s face it; the whole world isn’t as understanding as the SR community about the subject, again, I think if you listen carefully your ‘gut’ will guide you in the right direction here.

As far as dating, I am married and wouldn’t have a clue what I’d do there, but any serious relationship probably deserves no less than the whole truth, casual dating I’d think that’s another story.

Just my 2 cents,

Congrats on the 5 months!
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You got some great advice on telling or not....dating.....Good stuff. The way I look at it. You have to do what's best for your sobriety...If it bothers you...Fix it....Without your sobriety...You have zero...No friends...No school...No job...No dating. Zero. Not picking up is priority number one...And the rest just falls into place. Hope you are working the steps. Hope you have a great Holiday.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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For me, I was surprised how little people cared when I stopped drinking. Granted, I was never a huge drinker, but drinking for me led to hard drugs very quickly. Getting tipsy was a pretty good gateway to a crack pipe and a syringe. Anyway, this time around in recovery I've stopped drinking at all, whereas in the past I would tell myself "I'll drink but won't this X and X" or "I'll only take this, since it's not a street drug". I think abstinence is really the way to go.

Back to the topic - if it makes you and people around you more comfortable, just make up another true reason as to why you're not drinking. I was at my girlfriend's mom's Christmas party this weekend and someone asked, and I just said I'm driving tonight and have to get up early tomorrow. I would be very wary of anyone who really presses you for an answer as to why you're not drinking. I realize some people get offended by it, but if they can't accept that you're doing something to better your life, than you may be better off in someone else's company. Congratulations on five months and keep it up!!
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The bottom line is that most people simply won't care. Your drinking, while important to you, is merely a curiosity to others.

I quit 4 months ago.

I didn't tell anyone at work. it's none of their business, and there is very little upside for me in their knowing the real reason. All work places have some element of competition and perception does truly matter. I certainly didn't want to run the risk of anyone using it against me. When offered a drink, I simply said "no thanks. i'm good." If pressed, I'd say "I'm trying to lose weight".

I did tell my 3 closest non-work friends. They were surprised, and asked more questions which I opened answered. I was glad that they asked a lot of questions, because it showed that they cared.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm simply telling people that I'm taking a break until Spring to lose some weight, take a little break...I'll figure something else come then...but I'm just quietly getting sober under the radar, no one's had a problem with that....it's cool to " take a break".... in fact people will respect you for it....a lot of people ...even moderate drinkers..can't/don't take a break.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Your friends have probably already figured it out. They put up with your drunken behavior behavior and now they do not have to overlook anything you do.

You probably damaged your reputation by your behavior when you were drinking. So revealing that you are now in recovery can only improve it.

Everyone knew something was wrong with you before. Either they saw that you were a drunk or they dealt with the results of your drinking. The positive change in you is clear. Most of your friends have already figured out that you stopped drinking because you were an alcoholic and are glad you did.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Let's face it, if a woman has issues with you not drinking, then obviously she is not a match for you.

If you find someone who might be a potential long term date, or mate, then you can always re-visit this question down the road and decide how much you want to or need to tell that person.
I don't disagree with what you said. Here's the thing. At school there seems to be a plethora or women that I find attractive and quite a few of them seem to have shown some level of interest in me. So school seems to be a good place to start dating again. The thing that I'm afraid of is that people talk.

I don't think my problem is really having to explain why I don't drink if I'm out at a social event or even a date. My degree is going to be in a health related field, so my "cover story" is that I want to be able to walk the walk and drinking doesn't do it for me anymore.

One thing I'm concerned about is if I do start dating someone from school and if things start to get good then I feel like I would eventually have to tell them why I disappear for a few hours a week to go to meetings. This is especially true for the weekends. Right now I'm in a small-ish town and drive out about an hour for a meeting that lasts about 1.5-2 hours.

On the other hand, I'm not looking for a wife or a steady girlfriend either. Sobriety and my career are my top priorities now. I just want to have some fun and want to meet some people. I don't want anything serious. There's 6 months left in school and most likely I'm moving to the west coast. I really wasn't planning on taking anyone with me.

I think I might be overthinking things here.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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whiskeyjoe,

With six months left where you are now, and with no intention of starting a serious relationship, I would say yes, you may be overthinking things a bit.

I really don't think you owe explanations or need to justify what you do with your time, when you go to meetings. You are simply not available. You have previous commitments. You are going to meet with some friends.

All of which would be true statements.

With a little over 5 months of sobriety behind you, I would strongly recommend really focusing on your sobriety, your health and your career at this point. Dating can wait.
But that is just my opinion.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
 

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Everyone I know well (and many I don't even know that well LOL) knows that I am a non-drinker and knows why. That includes my work place, and I have a somewhat "conservative" career, in that the code of conduct extends outside of my work setting. I know this is not for everyone, but I like it this way. I feel happy and free. I don't have secrets that others can use against me like I did for so long when I was drinking. I always felt like a fraud, a fake, a liar, and always had that "if they only knew what a POS I am" feeling...Everyone I date also knows up front that I don't drink.

That said, as far as long explanations to anyone about anything... I don't, unless I feel like it. And that just depends on the day.

When I first came back from treatment I was in the middle of my divorce. My ex said he was going to take the kids and "tell the judge I had been to treatment"...my response, "Um, I'm pretty sure that's going to be viewed as a positive". Duh...


Maybe I am naive or missing something here (both highly possible), but how can being a non-drinker be used against you?
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Joe - my partner practically insists I disappear for an hour or two every week .

I do think you may be over thinking this yeah - if you're not in for anything serious and are just looking at random dates, I can't really see why you'd need to make the big reveal.

On the other side of the coin, if you met someone special and it was going somewhere and going to last, I can't see why you wouldn't want them to know everything about you, y'know?

I spent years defining myself by my drinking...I think I spent a while defining myself by my not drinking too...

I learned to relax tho...I'm a non drinker...and I'm not a fan of reality TV...it's the same level for me now

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Old 12-20-2011, 05:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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With a little over 5 months of sobriety behind you, I would strongly recommend really focusing on your sobriety, your health and your career at this point. Dating can wait.
But that is just my opinion.
Every time I start looking around at who I might want to ask out I start to think the same thing. Maybe it's a sign.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Every time I start looking around at who I might want to ask out I start to think the same thing. Maybe it's a sign.
Maybe it is a sign, whiskeyjoe, maybe it is.

I really think you have a good head on your shoulders. When the time is right to ask someone out, you will know, because you won't have to look around and wonder. She'll be staring you in the face (so to speak).

It is my firm belief that you will meet the right person, when you are ready for it.
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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What are the pros and cons of this?
When I quit drinking I kept quiet only for a few days but that was so I could maintain my state of mind through early recovery. I am not afraid to tell someone that I'm sober, I admit that I was an alcoholic and that I quit. Yesterday I had to tell my brother that I wasn't comfortable going to someone elses house on xmas because of the alcohol being around with people I barely knew and admitted I was uncomfortable when we went on Thanksgiving. He understood and didn't question the decision, only gave his support.

If someone wants to question me about quitting, I say let em. I quit to better my health and my life, why should I hide that? Alcoholism got the best of me and I fought back and won.
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