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Old 06-30-2016, 09:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I want to try being sober but - who should I tell?


Hi all, this is my first time posting here. The idea of doing a whole "introduce myself" kind of thing is really overwhelming, so I thought I'd just start with a question.

I've been playing around with the idea of quitting drinking for about the last six months-ish (reading books, quitting for days at a time, trying to find healthy things to replace drinking, etc). The idea of quitting for good is pretty terrifying and I like the advice I've read on here of just quitting one day at a time, telling yourself you're not drinking just for that one day, not for the rest of your life, and going day by day from there.

My question is - how do I handle what I tell the people in my life about quitting drinking? Because if I say I'm no longer drinking, it's essentially announcing that I have a problem and I can never take that back. It's as terrifying to me (more terrifying, really) than the idea of being sober for the rest of my life. Those people would hold me accountable - but the whole point of the "not drinking just for today" thing is so that you don't freak out over being accountable forever, right?

I'm talking about my mother and my sister, who I live with, my friends, my co-workers (what a ****** day let's get margaritas!!) - I'm sure I could just say "oh, I don't feel like it tonight" but what about when those times keep adding up? Was there a point where you told the people in your life or did you wait until you were more comfortable with your sobriety before you "came out"?

Sorry if I'm showing my ignorance. Maybe I just don't want to commit and I'm grasping at excuses. But I am really afraid especially about telling my family, because my uncle was an alcoholic (now dead, of alcoholism) and I watched for years as my family looked down on him, fought over whether he should be allowed to attend family holidays, etc, etc. I already feel like a black sheep in my family (they're Catholic, I'm bisexual) and I feel like it would ostracize me even more. Not what to mention once they know I struggle with this, there's no going back.

Help? Advice?
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You can either tell people you quit drinking, or you say, "No thank you, I don't drink."

If the people you say no to won't let it drop, avoid them.

And not drinking doesn't have to imply you have a problem (though for us alcoholics, it does). My sister doesn't drink. And not because she quit because of a drinking problem. She just doesn't drink. And I'm unaware of her getting any peer pressure.

The pressure to drink, to conform, is usually inside the former drinker's head.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You'll be surprised, no one really cares if your drinking or not. You don't have to tell any one. If someone asks just tell them your don't drinking. 99% of the time that'll be the end of it.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Not only do other people not care, usually those without a drinking problem cannot understand our illness. It is a foreign concept to them and one which we cannot explain. Don't wear yourself out trying!
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for taking the time to reply. I get that I'm probably overthinking things a bit, and that a lot of people aren't going to ask me a bunch of questions or pressure me. I guess I'm more concerned about people who already know I do drink, because I can't say "I don't drink" when they know I do/did, and if I say I'm not drinking that night, or the next night, or the next or the next or the next eventually it's going to be clear that I'm not drinking ever and I'd have to say why because I obviously used to. But maybe I can coast along until I feel comfortable being more honest.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Those people would hold me accountable...
And that scares you? So think about this. Are you not telling people so you can have the option to return to drinking?
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Two comments. First, if one of your drinking buddies told you they weren't drinking would you question that and give them the third degree on why? Second, maybe you need to find some new buddies if they give you the third degree.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Doggonecarl - I'm sure I am, and I'm trying to get past it. I'm trying to ease myself forward so I don't panic and give up. Honestly I'm the type of person to be extremely private as it is, so ... I'm just trying to look forward and feel like I have a grasp on how I'm going to handle situations like this. How I'm going to handle my Mom finding out I have a drinking problem when she just buried her brother and how that's going to be a huge burden for her even if by some miracle I can manage to stay sober. But yeah - if I was comfortable with the idea of never drinking again and felt confident I could I wouldn't be so afraid of telling the people in my life.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you must say something to your family and friends until you are ready to tell them its a problem just say you don't find it pleasurable anymore like you used to.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think perhaps you worry too much about the opinions of others and how others PERCEIVE you.

You've got to take a STAND, friend. But, if you yourself are not sure of where you stand with sobriety, you will not take a stand with others.

Who cares what they think? ! ?
What matters is what you think, and how you feel in your OWN skin. You've got to do what is best for YOU. I think the people who really love you will not shun you for not drinking nor for being bisexual.

It'll be alright. Relax and ENJOY sobriety!

Take Care....
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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One Day at a Time. Wake up and tell yourself "I'm not drinking today." If anyone is curious as to why you don't want a drink tell them the same thing. If someone offers you a drink..."I'm not drinking today." Pretty simple really.

Only drunks will try to push drinks at you. Don't let them annoy you, just keep repeating "I'm not drinking today" to them. About the 3'rd time I repeat it I'm usually grinning and offer to explain what the simple sentence means... then I repeat it again. I like to annoy annoying people

Eventually they will figure it out for themselves. Oh and I stayed away from others when they were drinking for a couple of months...too much temptation.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by aaj1987 View Post
Doggonecarl - I'm sure I am, and I'm trying to get past it. I'm trying to ease myself forward so I don't panic and give up. Honestly I'm the type of person to be extremely private as it is, so ... I'm just trying to look forward and feel like I have a grasp on how I'm going to handle situations like this. How I'm going to handle my Mom finding out I have a drinking problem when she just buried her brother and how that's going to be a huge burden for her even if by some miracle I can manage to stay sober. But yeah - if I was comfortable with the idea of never drinking again and felt confident I could I wouldn't be so afraid of telling the people in my life.
I am wondering why your Mom finding out that you don't drink would be a hard thing for her to cope with? Death in the family? Yes, I get that...she will mourn...,BUT, someone's who's stopped drinking is hardly a death in the family....
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I think you're starting with a faulty assumption--i.e., that declining a drink will automatically result in people thinking you've got a drinking problem. That's not necessarily the case. When people ask me if I want a beer, I just tell them, "nope, I'm good." And that's the end of it. If someone does press you about it, just tell them you're trying to live a healthier life. That is both true, and doesn't necessarily imply that you're not drinking because you're an alcoholic.

In short, as you already observed, I think you are overthinking it.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I get what you're saying. I had that issue, too. It's like telling someone you're on a diet -- if they see you eating a gallon of ice cream, they might ask you about it. And I can understand your not wanting to be held accountable right now. You're not really sure yet. Just tell your mom that your uncle's death really scared you and you're taking a break. Or some such thing. As for your friends, make anything up. They frankly won't care one way or another.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think if you are secure in your purpose you will be like a pillar and where you stand will be where you stand and others in your life will have to accept it. If they love you they will accept it...why? When you really love someone and really care about someone you do NOT FORSAKE THEM just because they stop drinking with you...

Are you gonna need help to stay unwavering in your sobriety? Yes, of course. Know where your REAL HELP is and stay connected to that.



Best to you...
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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For the first month or so, I just told close friends and people I usually drank with that I was taking a break to feel more healthy. Everyone was real supportive and said things like "I should do the same. Good for you." As time went on people would say "you still doing the no drinking thing?" And I would just say how much more energetic and clear headed I am. I am 5 months sober now and close friends and some drinking buddies now know I have no intention of returning to drinking. Some of the responses were not what I expected. The unsupportive responses were from people with thier own drinking problems, who didnt like looking in the mirror I just held up for them. Those are the people I now know to hold at arms length as they could try to sabotage my sobriety. Mostly though, people are supportive.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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For the first month or so, I just told close friends and people I usually drank with that I was taking a break to feel more healthy. Everyone was real supportive and said things like "I should do the same. Good for you." As time went on people would say "you still doing the no drinking thing?" And I would just say how much more energetic and clear headed I am. I am 5 months sober now and close friends and some drinking buddies now know I have no intention of returning to drinking. Some of the responses were not what I expected. The unsupportive responses were from people with thier own drinking problems, who didnt like looking in the mirror I just held up for them. Those are the people I now know to hold at arms length as they could try to sabotage my sobriety. Mostly though, people are supportive.
HI Turtle. Good job on your sobriety.

It sounds like you divided the sheep from the goats. That can be interesting cross-roads to be at, but one that eventually needs to take place. Keep on with sobriety at all costs.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Those who know you, close friends and family, already know you have a drinking problem. Your uncle recently died from alcoholism? They know.

They will be relieved that you will probably outlive them all by committing this death defying act of choosing sobriety. I bet your Ma will cry with relief when she learns. Mine did. Burying a brother is hard, but it is a cakewalk compared to burying a child.

For this to work, you might have to change your language from 'try' to 'do'. You know, the Yoda thing. 'Trying sobriety' didn't do it for me. I needed to make my deepest commitment to sobriety. Solid.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:23 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I think telling your family anything at this point is unnecessary. If they begin to notice you aren't drinking, I like the idea of telling them your Uncle's death scared you. And that you just aren't enjoying drinking any more. Then you'll get a feel for how supportive (or not) they would be if you told them you think you have a problem. If it seems they are going to get super judgemental, you can keep that information to yourself. You might be surprised, though. They might be really supportive. And I wouldn't worry one bit about what any friends might think. I was worried about that at first, too, but all of them have been really really great and supportive, and some have even asked me how I did it and said they think they should quit, too. If anyone gives you crap about it, then you know how much of a "friend" they really are.
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