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How normal is normal?

Old 08-12-2017, 01:30 AM
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How normal is normal?

I spoke to a friend yesterday who has just got back from a week long holiday in Spain. She told me she got tonsillitis whilst she was there and had to see a doctor and get a shot of antibiotics. She said it hurt her throat every time she drank alcohol but obviously she did drink alcohol every day because, "I was on holiday so of course I drank. It just hurt my throat so I swallowed every mouthful quickly."

This friend is someone I would class as a normal drinker. But I'm beginning to wonder just how normal that kind of drinking is. Now that I've got some sober time, I'm beginning to wonder about quite a few "normal" drinkers. One of my sisters told me recently that she blacks out regularly after drinking wine but she's read that this is due to hormonal changes. When I suggested it's more likely to be due to the wine, she got very defensive and questioned how I could comment on anyone else's drinking.

And that's the thing. I don't have any right to comment on the drinking habits of others and I don't want to. I'm not a judgmental person. I know that when I was drinking I would always be the drunkest person on any given night out. But now I'm not that person anymore, I can't help but notice other drinkers because they're everywhere. All my friends and family of my generation, we grew up binge drinking. It was part of our culture. Our identity. When I was drinking I thought of drinkers in 2 categories - drinkers like me and normal drinkers. Now I'm sober I'm realising there's a normal drinking spectrum and a lot of the people I love are drinking at the dangerous end of that spectrum. And I'm not talking about 1 or 2 people, I'm talking about maybe 50% of everyone I know.

So what do I do? If I start expressing concerns about someone's drinking I am called a hypocrit. If I go on and on about the awesomeness of sobriety, I am called an insufferable bore (or less nice words to that effect). I feel like I've discovered this amazing secret - life is better, more fun and way more interesting without alcohol - but most of the people I want to tell, they don't want to know.

Maybe I'm trying to run before I can walk. Maybe I just need to remain focused on my sobriety and that continued sobriety will help me know what to do. I remember how much I hated it when anyone tried to talk to me about my drinking so I know confronting someone about their drinking is not the way to go. I also know that I love my sister very much and I'm finding it difficult to keep ignoring all the red flags. I want her to experience the peaceful calm of sobriety but I don't know how to break through decades of brain washing. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you xx
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:37 AM
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It seems many who follow the "steps" are convinced any drinking is problem drinking. I see it so often, I don't know what to say. Just as a non-alcoholic can't understand a drunk, I believe alcoholics can't understand alcohol or normal drinking.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:47 AM
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Thanks for the reply azwakeupcall. It's crossed my mind very often that my problems with alcohol may tarnish how I view other people's drinking. It's something for me to be aware of. And yes, it's true that I don't understand how normal drinkers drink.

I guess I'm just concerned when I see someone I love following the same patterns of drinking as me. If I can do anything to help them, I'd like to try.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:56 AM
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It's like when I get a cold, I do not cancel plans. I go out, do whatever I had planned to do, regardless of what people think. I have many friends who at the first sign of the sniffles they stay indoors for a week and cancel everything. To them perhaps I am risking my health but to me I'm not letting it get in the way. Vacations are few and far between, maybe she wanted to do what she had set out to do. I wouldn't know, just a thought. When I am sober, I do not like to be around people drinking, but it's my own hangup. They act stupid and loopy, but if I'm drinking I don't notice it.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:06 AM
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Yep, you make good points. I think the problem I have is that if I stay away from drinkers, I'd never see any of my family and friends. There seems to me to be a fine line between "normal" and "problem" drinking. I lept across that line quickly and decisively a long time ago. I just wonder whether some people shuffle over the line slowly over time? And if so, if we see someone getting too close, is there anything we can do?

But like you said in your first post, I don't understand normal drinkers. Maybe they always stay on the right side of the line. I hope so.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:23 AM
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Hello Kenton

I think its a 'born again' thing. If it's alcohol or tobacco for example you want others to see how good it is to not take these substances. For religion, many born-again folk want to spread the word.

I think the bottom line is you have to wait for people to want to do something for themselves and then be there for them. My sister has waited 21 years for me to join her in sobriety and today is my day 13. She has been really helpful but never pushed anything on me all that time.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:37 AM
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Thanks decchemist! You're right. It does feel like being born again and because I'm loving sobriety so much I do want to spread the word. But the best way to spread the word is probably to stay quietly focused on my sobriety. Huge congrats on 13 days
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:41 AM
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Kenton,

I learned in the Big Book that you can't save an alky unless they want to be saved.

It always blows up in your face.

I have even been asked by my alky friends and family about drinking issues they have.

When I told them they had a problem, it blew up.

Until folks want to quit, nothing will change them.

Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:02 AM
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I was hyper aware of other peoples drinking when I quit. I saw problem drinkers everywhere.

After a while I settled down and now I don't notice most peoples drinking at all - only the obnoxious drunks.

In the real word I'm a musician , a brother and uncle & a loving partner.

An alcoholic is only a little bit of who I am and most of the relationships I have nowadays reflect that

I generally don't approach people about their problem drinking - partly because I do that here, partly because I'm pretty good on boundaries and partly because I remember how outraged I was when people approached me about my problem - it was fear and shame that my 'secret' was revealed.

People who know me well know I'm an alcoholic in recovery and some of those folks in my real life have approached me for help or a sympathetic ear over the years

D
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by azwakeupcall View Post
It seems many who follow the "steps" are convinced any drinking is problem drinking. I see it so often, I don't know what to say. Just as a non-alcoholic can't understand a drunk, I believe alcoholics can't understand alcohol or normal drinking.
Like I said I obsessed about drinking as a drinker and for a while I obsessed about others drinking as a non drinker.

I've never done the steps

D
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by D122y View Post
Kenton,

I learned in the Big Book that you can't save an alky unless they want to be saved.

It always blows up in your face.

I have even been asked by my alky friends and family about drinking issues they have.

When I told them they had a problem, it blew up.

Until folks want to quit, nothing will change them.

Thanks.
Thanks D122y,

I know you're right. Nothing anyone said to me made a bit of difference until I decided I wanted to quit. Life is just so much better sober, I sometimes feel like shouting it from the rooftops. But I won't. Because I don't want to look crazy. And I'm scared of heights
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Like I said I obsessed about drinking as a drinker and for a while I obsessed about others drinking as a non drinker.

I've never done the steps

D
Thanks Dee, I've never done the steps either.

It's good to know that you obsessed about other people's drinking for a while after you stopped drinking. It makes me feel like this is a normal part of recovery. When I was drinking I never noticed other people's drinking because I was far too focused on my own. I am noticing it now and trying to work out how I feel about it. I'm not judging anyone, I'm not commenting on it in the real world, I'm just trying to sort out my feelings about it in my own mind.

I plan to stay sober forever so I need to come to terms with other people's drinking. It's comforting to know that your experience is this will settle down over time and I'll stop noticing it. Thank you
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