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Facing Friends and Colleagues as Non Drinker

Old 04-28-2013, 02:56 PM
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Facing Friends and Colleagues as Non Drinker

After posting for the first time on here yesterday I have found it brought new revealations and a lot of emotion to the surface for me. Overall this is probably a good thing I think!

One thing that I seem to be really battling with at the moment is how I tell people I am no longer drinking. I am known to all my friends and work colleagues as a drinker and a bit of a party animal. Many of them won't and don't understand why I have quit, and some have even said they are disappointed I'm not drinking anymore.

The reality is if I sat down with any of them and told them a tenth of the damage I've done to myself and my life through alcohol they would be in no doubt I am doing the right thing.

The thing is its not appropriate to tell everyone who asks all this stuff about myself and what I've done.

But at 4 months sober it's becoming obvious to people that I am now not drinking at all.

I find it really hard to know what to say to people as I'm scared they are going to judge me, plus there are so many scenarios I find making up excuses to fit the person / group / situation really hard....I am by nature an honest person and it ties me in knots with what to say.

I know my decision is right....but does anyone have any advice about how to 'come out' to people as a non drinker but not have to share your inner demons with them all..........?

Would really appreciate any advice you have :-)
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:04 PM
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I am have almost the same background as you. I just tell them I quit because its not healthy. I haven't had a single person question that. Many actually immediately reply wih something like " you know, sometimes I think I drink to much too".
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:20 PM
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Thanks I know you're right and it seems so simple I don't know why I am complicating it so much, I think deep down it probably has something to do with not knowing how to truely admit it to myself and feeling sure about my decision. I am ultimately quite ashamed that I have had to quit and all the things I have done but pretending it was 'part of the fun' was a way of masking it and justifying it for so many years.

Now I have nowhere to hide. Ugh, scary and uncomfortable!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:20 PM
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Congrats on your 4 months! I think you're over thinking it..
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:31 PM
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:-) you're probably right. Its so much more of a big deal to me than it is to anyone else! Most people have plenty more on their mind than whether I'm drinking or not...must remember that!
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:33 PM
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and plus facing them as a non drinker is a hell of a lot easier than facing them the morning after I've humiliated myself...or insulted them whilst off my head
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:34 PM
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I agree with simply saying that you have quit because you want to live a healthier lifestyle. It's true, isn't it?

I have found that very few people ask for more information. In this day and age, a growing number of people are becoming more health conscious and go about it in a variety of ways ( exercise; gluten, fat, or meat free diets; etc). An alcohol free diet is, in my mind, a no brainier.

With regard to the people that are disappointed because you have quit drinking, my response to you is that "misery loves company". If they have someone else to drink with, it in some way justifies their behavior. By stopping, you may be forcing them to consider their own drinking habits. In either case, it's not your problem. Worry about yourself and take care of you. Genuine relationships will persevere.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:37 PM
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I'm not fibbing

Originally Posted by toomuchtoolose View Post

One thing that I seem to be really battling with at the moment is how I tell people I am no longer drinking.
I simply tell them that
I'm not drinking today
or
I have already had my fill

I had more than my fill in the past
so I'm not fibbing

onehigherpower
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:42 PM
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When I started out, I did not know how long I was going to stop drinking for.

My friends asked and so did my work colleagues.
Unfortunately for me, a lot of my drinking was done at work and every saw the ridiculous things I did and the fact I was a heavy drinker.

I told everyone I wanted to give up for a year.

I never told people why, but I am sure people guessed due to my past behaviour. They cannot have been blind to my antics.

People were nice and did not mention this in most 99.9% of cases.

After a while, people got used to the fact I did not drink and would not be for the next year.
I volunteered myself to be the designated driver where possible so I would not be tempted to drink and at work stuck to diet coke.

After a while, people just accepted it. The pressure to drink from others also stopped. I think they did not want to take the blame if they pushed me off the wagon!

I was talking to a work colleague recently and she asked if I will never drink again. She asked me why I stopped.
I explained that I wanted to say that I had given up drink for a year.
Like an achievement.
I also said that I had fallen into the trap of drinking every night at a certain time, felt rotten in the morning and wanted more out of life. I explained the benefits - better sleep, no hangovers, lots of time to do other more productive things.
She then aid she might give it a go for a month.

I honestly think that 'we' build it up in our heads to be a lot bigger deal than it actually is.
I also think if we see it as a positive step in our lives, then it takes away the need to explain the things we lost and the problems we had.

My best to you
xx
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:46 PM
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Very similar set of circumstances for me as well, toomuch. I have a few techniques that I use, all to varying degrees of success:

1) The straight-forward approach. I simply say, "I quit for health reasons". Since most people aren't comfortable asking others about their health issues, this usually ends it.

2) Throw some off-color humor at them. My favorite is the old Robin Williams joke: "Yeah, I got tired of waking up...laying under the bumper of my car....keys in my ass....". The shock of that joke is usually enough to end the discussion.

3) If I feel that it's someone who is close enough to let into my circle, I'll say, "because I like myself better this way", and leave it at that.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:47 PM
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What are you ashamed of? Which is more shameful- being someone with a problem, or someone who is overcoming a problem?

The reality is that EVERYONE falls into one of the two categories. Everyone has "something", and the fact that you are part of the latter group speaks volumes about your character.

You should be proud of yourself, not ashamed.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:50 PM
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Yeah... Whatever you feel comfortable with. My default answer is that I'm a little hypoglycemic and drinking messes with training (which is true). No need to really feel the gory details attached to the other stuff. I know when I went a year with a drink, I really FELT the underlying issues (pain and regret) when I would say what I just mentioned, but It went away. I does take a while to feel comfortable in new shoes.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:09 PM
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The thing to remember is that you don't owe anyone an explanation. If you choose to tell some people in your life, that's fine, but don't do it because you feel obligated.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:44 PM
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I've struggled with this as well. My real friends know and accept why I've stopped. Everyone else gets a vague, "I'm doing it for health reasons" response, and really, that's all they need to know.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:06 PM
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I now feel sorry for people that still have to drink. Think that's all I can say. Good luck !
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:03 PM
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I'm with Anna, you don't owe anyone an explanation. The only person you have to be true to is yourself. I personally would be cautious about sharing with your work collegues. Work is work, keep it seperate from your personal life. They don't need to know. But that is just me.

If someone asks you why you aren't drinking say "why would you ask me that?". Now they are on the spot. It's fun to watch some people stumble for an answer! Works for a variety of question people ask .
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:51 PM
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I just tell them "I'm getting too old for that." Works like a charm every time, and starts up a new conversation. Yeah, then you have to hear about how they're going gray, gripes, etc., but it puts the end to you having to explain.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:01 PM
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I've been telling people I work with that "it's not healthy" which is true. I'm telling my former (hopefully) drinking buddies that my doctor strongly suggested that I stop drinking which is also true. For those closer to me .... no excuse is needed.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:54 PM
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Depends on your personality I guess! I talk about all the positives I get from not drinking, focusing not on why I quit but more on why I'm sober. People respond to that.

Your particular story though reminds me of a friend of mine who also used to be a big drinker and life of the party type. He didn't quit drinking, but he scaled way way back... rarely drinks now. And anytime someone starts ragging on him about how much more 'fun' he used to be he just laughs and says "dude, I grew up." End of story.

Anyway ... I think the key is just to keep it light. When people ask they're usually kind of checking in. The underlying question is, "Are you OK? Do you mind that I'm drinking? Can we still hang out?" As long as you're friendly and happy, they don't really mind what the answer is.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:29 AM
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Remind me so much of my situation. I quit a pover four months ago as well, and I too was the life of the party. I haven't been out since I quit, but I think I'm going to just explain a combination of reasons why I quit when I am asked the question. "Just time to grow up, and start getting productive. Also, I was just taking a break but I felt so much better not drinking that I decided I don't need to drink anymore" with a smile ! And fact of the matter is, all of those things are 1) very true and 2) good reasons to quit drinking. Let us kno how you go about it !
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