How to admit alcoholism to others

Old 05-19-2013, 12:01 AM
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How to admit alcoholism to others

I'm just starting on my commitment to sobriety, and I've read that it's important to admit your problem to others, like your friends and family. I find this almost impossible to do. This thing has been my secret for so long, and I'm so ashamed--the thought of telling my parents fills me with panic. They would be so disappointed. I thought it might be easier to start here anonymously. If anyone has advice for how or if to open up to people about alcoholism, I'd love to hear it. I did talk to a doctor and he gave me some benzos--and even after taking Klonopin my heart is still racing and I feel on the verge of panic. I've only been sober for less than a day--but I'm desperate to quit.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:24 AM
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hi wendy

While I personally think it's important to let those closest to us know whats going on, I don't think there's a necessity to tell everyone.

If you live with your parents or are especially close to them, or there's any other reason why you think they should know, then sure...but otherwise? it's probably ok to think on it a little more while you work on staying sober

I told everyone when I got sober - but now I look back and I think that was mostly for me rather than anyone else. If I had my time again I'd probably just get on with it, y'know?

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Old 05-19-2013, 12:54 AM
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Welcome to SR Wendy

I told my family after 2 months sober because I felt like if I didn't I was leaving the door open for drinking. I think now that it was an important part of my acceptance of my alcoholism. My drinking was my dirty little secret and if I kept it to myself still in sobriety it would be like it wasn't real. It still feels a bit like that now, like I made it all up, weird. I am not sure that having my time over I would have told my family when I did though, maybe I would have left it a bit longer til I was more settled in my sobriety. The response I got wasn't understanding and supporting. It was from one sister, my mum just didn't understand why I couldn't just drink less (no prizes for who I listened to) and my other sister acted like I'd just given up chocolate. This was the biggest deal in the world to me so the important thing was to just talk to people who instinctively understood. Share your story here and at other support groups for alcoholics. For myself I think acceptance took time and then it can just be a fact you can share with others rather than something others feel like they need to help you through. I felt like the people I told who didn't get it just tried to steer me down the wrong path again. Stick with SR and you'll be okay x
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:09 AM
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You are not obligated to tell anyone if you don't want to. As a parent I wouldn't be disappointed in my daughter, I would be more disappointed in myself if she felt she couldn't tell me. You can start with your parents and take it from there. You might be surprised by how supportive they just might be.

It's not an easy thing to admit to anyone. I'm glad I told my mom as she is one too and understands how this is for me. And I understand her better too.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:13 AM
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Hi Wendy -

Welcome & congrats on choosing sobriety!

It can be a lot of change to take in all at once. Sometimes it's easier to get started by just focusing on one thing, like getting sober, and wait to think about other people's needs until you're further along.

If you have folks in your life who can be supportive to you during this period, then they might be a good choice to reach out to. Like hypo and dee said, you can also wait until you're comfortable with your sobriety to share with people as well, particularly if their initial reaction won't be as helpful.

Main thing for now is to make sure that you have a support system to reach out to when things get tough, and that system can be friends, family, AA, SR, AVRT, etc.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:46 AM
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My own eperience is that when I was drinking it was my own filthy secret that nobody could see. Holding this filthy secret can lead ( as in my case) low self esteem, that I am not worth anything, hence my the embarrassment to tell other people. Rightly, I would not tell everybody but my closest and dearest (family) i have told them but it took me about 5 months to do so. My partner has known it from day one and we disuss it openly.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:09 AM
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now's the time
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You don't have to use the "A" word unless you want to. Telling people is mostly about having accountability. I've gotten the same by telling my friends that I'm not drinking. But I'm not yet OK with using that word with them. I accept it for myself. But I just feel like it has so much cultural baggage that I'm not willing to shoulder. I don't want to give people a short cut in how they think of me. It's enough for them to know that I wasn't happy with how much I was drinking before, and now I've stopped for an indefinite amount of time.

What you want to avoid, I think, is trying to quit entirely in secret. I've tried that before and it didn't work. When I started I told everyone around me that I was quitting for 90 days. When I got to 90 days, I just said I was going to keep at it for a while. That way I still can't get away with drinking, but I don't have to (yet) have those big deep conversations.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:48 AM
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My advice is to slow down. Take a deep breath. If you jump in to fast you will feel overwhelmed. At least that is what happened to me the first time I quit.

Take it slow. Sobriety is not a race. You cannot fix it all at once.

Only my mother and a close friend know I have quit drinking except for the people in AA. I would not have told my mother except she lives with me so kind of hard for her now to know. I have not told my children.

Right now it is sort of a private thing for me. I am not hiding, I go to at least five AA meetings a week. I guess I just want to take it slow and surround myself with others that not only understand me but can help me.

Family is great thing but unless they are alcoholics they cannot help me.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:51 AM
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For me,it's a very private issue.I've been sober 5 months and never told anyone I'm an alcoholic(except on SR). I just said I was quitting to close family,most were glad. I also found that people tend not to make an issue out of it-the issue is mine and mostly in my head. Other people don't really care what I'm drinking Just do what you feel comfortable with and confide in those closest to you,if that helps you

Welcome to SR,this site has been a great source of support and inspiration to me.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:59 AM
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I didn't tell anyone. My husband knew but only by observation. I knew for me, recovery was going to be a very personal journey and I wasn't ready to share it with anyone. I was also extremely vulnerable and didn't want anyone making a comment that would shake me. It's worked very well for me.
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:51 AM
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My closest family members and husband knew.. or at least knew I drank too much. They were happy when I got help. Anyone else in my life? None of their business. I don't know where you read that it's important to tell people, but I totally disagree, as long as it doesn't keep you from getting the help you need. I'm comfortable telling people (if they ask why I don't drink) that "I drank too much, so now I don't".
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:07 AM
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I have 2 weeks today and the only people that know is my husband my sister in law, cause she is such a positive non judgmental light and my mother because I felt the need to tell my mom and I only told her yesterday.
There is no "rule" and I definitely don't want anyone that cant be a positive person to know. You don't have to decide today..
Good Luck
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by wendytime View Post

it's important to admit your problem to others, like your friends and family
why get stressed out so early in the game
many times I just tell people that
I'm not drinking today

family and friends will all find out in due time
with only a day or two sober let's relax a little
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:28 AM
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Again, I have to ditto Anna.

My husband and children knew/know, and were very supportive. I told only 2 other friends the exact reasons for me quitting. Everyone else I just told that I had quit. My journey was very personal and I could not risk anyone sabotaging my efforts ( which had happened before ). Like Dee said..... I just got on with it. ...... I'm grateful for SR.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:33 AM
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I think the person it is critical we admit it to is ourselves.

Generally "announcements" put everyone in the awkward position of having to react. To say or do something on the spot, and that can lead to a lot of mischief. Information that is tricky to absorb, unless it is critical that it be presented in full and immediately, is sometimes best revealed in the context of real life.

I didn't announce to any of my family members other than husband and kids that I was quitting, because it immediately impacted them. My one sister whom I spoke to all the time I also told point blank. Others never were told I was an addict/alcoholic. When I am with them and am offered a drink, I turn it down. If they ask if I've stopped drinking I will say yes, but there was really no point in ever sitting them down and confessing and explaining anything.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:08 PM
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:) thank you

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I've been thinking about this a lot, and while I certainly don't want to shout it to the world with a megaphone, I think sometimes that how carefully I've hid this problem has also enabled me to prolong it. I actually dated a man for three years that never knew the extent of my drinking, and I look back on that with sadness, that there was always this dishonesty and shame hanging over me, keeping me from a deeper and more satisfying relationship with him.

I'm surprised to hear that some people have unsupportive friends and relatives--maybe this is me being naive, but outside of an abusive or enabling relationship, I would think most people would want their friends and family to make healthy choices.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:17 PM
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Agree with everyone above. There is no need to shout it from the mountain top to everyone, that may even cause problems. My approach is to confide in a couple close friends and use them as a support group and be accountable to them for my commitment to not drink. I know I felt confused, ashamed and directionless when I became convinced that I am a person that should not drink at all ever. There is stigma out that and the uniformed/ignorant pass judgement, so just try to make good decisions that give you what you need to get what you want. IMHO
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