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Old 04-22-2019, 07:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dealing with well meaning friends


Good morning/evening wherever you are.

I am three weeks on the sober bus now. So far I have avoided social interaction as far as possible. My friends all know that I have taken this descision and support and encourage me fully. The difficulty is that they are mostly Mr and Mrs Knowalls.

I know it is all well meant and I also know they have always been like that. I have known them for many years. They accepted/tolerated my drunk behaviour for so long goodness know why. As a drunk I always felt I had to accomodate their tiny little character irritations because they tolerate and forgive so much of my behaviour. Now, sober I find it difficult to get this constant stream of advice on how to be sober, how to deal with my motherís dementia (who lives next door to me), how to deal with my sister who has Down Syndrome (who also lives next to me).

These are situations that they have no personal experience about yet they love to give advice and always believe they have all the answers. I see these friends twice a week at bridge and golf, two activities that are important for my sobriety as I love it.

Being sober now I find it difficult to just let it go as I have done all the years as a grateful drunk. I feel more confidant and I do not want advice from people who have no idea of my particular challenges.

The sober me seems to be even less tolerant than the drunk me. It is interesting to emerge from years of fog and haziness to discover who you really are.

There will always be time to work on tolerance. Perhaps it is also a lifelong quest like sobriety. Something to work on every single day.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm generally surrounded by people who know I'm in recovery and trust me to keep doing a good job of it. Occasionally I'll get someone I haven;t seen for a while or something.

Last Xmas my uncle (by marriage) was there regaling us all with the time I got so drunk I went to sleep in the flowerbed. It was maybe 15 years ago.

he says he hopes I'll visit him again someday and maybe just drink beer this time...

I told him I haven't a drink since 2007 and eventually we moved on....

I usually just smile at advice from people who either don;t know anything about my situation, have no boundaries or are just plain wrong.

D
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Mantalady just posted soemthing that I found useful from Bruce Lee, who said:

“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words can control you then people can control you. Breath and allow things to pass”

I am totally not there myself, and I dont agree with the logic part, but seems like a good goal.

I try not to reason anymore with people who just dont get it. If I dont react, they stop sooner...
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Congrats on your 3 weeks!

I find there are people that are good listeners and good at being a sounding board. Then there are some people, who,like you described your friends, are fixers and feel they must solve everones problems. And then there are people who only want to talk about themselves.

The fixers are oftern well meaning, but I've found being skilled at changing the subject helps.

The danger of course, is becoming a bit too skilled at changing the subject and I manage to avoid coversations or advice that would be helpful. Even in my mid 40s i find myself learning basic life skills. I expect i will as long as I'm still kicking

Everything can seem like a bigger deal than it really is early on in sobriety when our emotions are still very raw and exposed. Give yourself time and space if needed. Sending my support
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In time I was more centered. Early sobriety is confusing and the boundaries between me and other people had become blurred and uncertain. I think one of the scariest parts of early sobriety was that. I had a hard time knowing where I ended and others began. I thought I knew everything and I did quite a bit of mind-reading when I was drinking, so it makes sense that I felt like people were being intrusive with their, "suggestions," when really they had no power over me. I think alcohol breaks down inhibitions and it also breaks down the natural protective boundaries necessary to a healthy psyche.

I did a lot of work around this.

People are going to try to control. That's what they do. I agree with NMD, finding a way to deflect and/or change the subject is a great social skill.

It's truly none of their business about your mother or your sister. But if you talk about them, people are going to have opinions.
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Early in sobriety, I found myself at times very irritable with those around me. Much of the time for no apparent reason. Even now at almost seven months of my sober journey i am finding myself annoyed by people lately.
I recognize that sometimes the problem is me. Because "they" don't understand my plight, "they" have no right to comment.
What else are they going to say when the conversation moves to what's going on with us?
I think it's important to remind ourselves that the people that care about us are truly trying to be helpful or interested.
But you are right. If I knew nothing of what someone was going thru whatever I say may sound foolish to them. The alternative would be to say nothing. But then it would appear I don't care what they are going thru.
3weeks is is still pretty early. I would suggest that you be patient with your friends. I'm sure they have your best interest at heart.
Advice I'm am heeding myself at 7 months.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't spend time with anyone who doesn't support my sobriety. Period.

Not in my friend circle, not in my family, not people in meetings or anywhere else that aren't "keeping their side of the street" aka trying to live their own best lives.

Do I sound extreme or harsh? I don't think so but probably to some. I'm pleasant and polite and simply don't spend time around people who don't get it (ie others in recovery) or actively support my life choices.

Why on earth would I add that stress, drama or negativity if it bothered me? Why would I give it a chance to bother me in the first place?

I have built a world that is full, positive, supportive and loving. I'm not missing out on anything. Or anyone.
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Callas View Post
The sober me seems to be even less tolerant than the drunk me. It is interesting to emerge from years of fog and haziness to discover who you really are.
I can relate to this. I could appreciate friends trying to offer help, while recognizing that most of them didn't have a clue what was going on. You understand and you want them to understand, but they don't. So you reject their efforts. But I think this should not be confused with actual intolerance. You still must appreciate their attempts at helping, even if they are lame attempts.

I have a friend, an MD no less, who I have discussed recovery with. I can tell by his responses that he has not a clue what the process is like inside another person. He would say things like, "Well why can't you just.....," suggesting that, "It's really just... just... SIMPLE." OK it is simple when you are recovered, or sitting there in an armchair observing something bewildering. But the process is not simple, and this should be obvious considering the difficulty people have getting there.

Also, I think he is an alcoholic himself, just not aware of it yet, because he has never attempted to do anything about it himself. I reject his perceived knowledge base as rubbish, but I tolerate it because I understand it. It's not the way I wish it was, but I understand. I've been there myself.

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There will always be time to work on tolerance. Perhaps it is also a lifelong quest like sobriety. Something to work on every single day.
I think you will eventually see that you have a Hell of a lot more tolerance in this matter than you are currently giving yourself credit for.
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I found myself really annoyed with a lot of people early in sobriety. There were several reasons for it, I think. I was quite angry with myself for a while, and just generally crabby and easily irritated. I think that's really common in early sobriety. The first few weeks, maybe even months, of sobriety are a roller-coaster. It seemed like the only people I could stand were the people in my AA meetings or treatment group. And not even all of them.

Another thing was that I had spent so much of my life feeling so bad about myself that I had let anyone and everyone mistreat me - and forgave them immediately, because surely, I was worse than them and deserved it. Once I got sober and started feeling better about myself, and the daily shame of drinking was gone, I started to be able to identify the people in my life who were simply toxic to me, and basically wrote them out of the script.

Give yourself some time to settle into sobriety and let the dust settle. Just concentrate on doing what you know is right for you. People who have not been where you are just won't understand. Most of them probably mean well. Their "advice" and commentary can be annoying, but most likely it's coming from a place of trying to help.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Everyone talking about being annoyed in early sobriety.. I was like that also. The smallest thing would seriously set me off, it didn't even start to ease for 6 months.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I too, was easily irritated by just about everything when I first got sober. My emotions were all over the place. I felt like I was caught is a riptide and didn't know how to get out. Eventually, things began to level out and it became easier to see that sometimes, my irritation was at myself and I was projecting it onto everything EXCPET me!

Now, a few 24 hours later, I look back and realize that are very few people in my life that I knew in my drinking days. I had to let go of what I considered friendships in order to keep my Sobriety safe. (it is, after all the most important thing in my life, with out it,, I am lost and nothing else matters) I do have a few lifelong friends that have stood the test of my drunkenness, but they support me unconditionally. As you gain sober days, it will become more clear of who is toxic in your life and who is not. If there is someone who makes you angry, resentful or irritated, then maybe a little distance to decide how important the relationship is might be a good thing. You might see thing differently in a few weeks. Until then, be gentle with yourself, and others too, they probably think they are helping.

Congratulations on three weeks!

Cathy
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post

Last Xmas my uncle (by marriage) was there regaling us all with the time I got so drunk I went to sleep in the flowerbed. It was maybe 15 years ago.

D
UGH!!! I hate when that happens. When I was first sober, it would kind of shock me speechless and embarrass me. Now I just say, "That was in the past, I prefer to leave it there." But what I really want to do is Smack them!! LOL
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Sobriety is what really made me see the crab in a bucket mentality for the first time in my life.

In the very beginning I received the usual virtue signaling BS likely because nobody believed in me to achieve sobriety. "Let us know how we can help you". "You got this, we believe in you". Once I started making marked improvements in my life and walking with my head held high things changed quick.

Now it was unsolicited advice on what I should be doing in life. Or left handed compliments. Or snide remarks about the terrible things I did when I was drunk.

This really bothered me for a good while. The entirety of my life had sucked, I was finally taking the steps to make sure it stopped sucking, and I was getting a dismissive attitude as a result. But unfortunately that is just human nature. People cling to the notion that their misfortunes in life are due to luck or some grand conspiracy against them. So when they see somebody benefitting from the tangible results of self improvement the default response is to be resentful.

To hell with them. It no longer bothers me and I make sure to smile even wider when I come across such individuals.
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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UGH!!! I hate when that happens. When I was first sober, it would kind of shock me speechless and embarrass me. Now I just say, "That was in the past, I prefer to leave it there." But what I really want to do is Smack them!! LOL
Oh this guy is just clueless. I steered the conversation back onto him and all was well for the next 6 hours

D
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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First month or so people gave me no advice except saying I wasnít that bad. They didnít hang around with me from 10 to 2 in the morning. Last year played a lot of golf with friends who drank , didnít bother me though love my golf so relaxing and looking forward to it this year
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The sober me seems to be even less tolerant than the drunk me. It is interesting to emerge from years of fog and haziness to discover who you really are..
I think this insight is an important one. Yes, the early days can make us very irritable, crabby, short-tempered, etc but I think this statement has merit to it.

For me, I cultivated some odd, toxic, and/or inappropriate relationships in my attempt to engage with others and people please.

Getting sober has taught me who I really am and I am learning what values and boundaries I have and how to enforce them. I am now starting to protect my boundaries and speak out to protect what I value. I think it is extremely important growth for me.

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Old 04-23-2019, 08:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Iím definitely irritated to the max. Crabby, snappy, all around not pleasant but Iím sober. Thank you, dropsie, for sharing that quote. Iím extremely irritated and angry with my husband. I also think Iíve reflected on how badly some people have mistreated me and they are mistaken to think I will allow it anymore. I have new rules for my life, a few beers wonít make it better, Iím not living by drunken shame and in a fog anymore. Thankfully, I have a friend of more than 20 years who has embarked on this sober journey with me, and we get along better than ever. Some people get it, and deserve to be in the circle, others need to exit. Iím determined not to make any strong changes or decisions in my life right now, but my man child husband cannot drink around me anymore and my marriage is falling apart as Iím putting myself back together.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Btw, sorry if I went on a rant and hijacked the post I just need to vent here SR, and getting irritated 😤 definitely is a feeling Iím relating to.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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With irritating people, I try to nod and smile a lot or deflect. Like saying, I'll take that under consideration, thank you.

Another thing I can do to drive them away is to answer their questions with questions. That drives people crazy and they'll usually leave you alone.
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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To add to my earlier comments- I was very irritated and reactionary in early sobriety too. I recall sometime around 4 mo was notably terrible for me on this score. One vivid memory is being ugly to my mom because...she took a route I didn't like to drive me to an AA meeting. Le sigh.

I did what I said about choosing the folks around me- but I should have said that didn't mean I didn't get annoyed at some of them too, particularly my mother. HA.

My program has given me specifics like what my husband and I call "flipping it" - basically what we call the Big Book talking about "when I am disturbed by someone, something, some situation" (para) turn it back to see what is it about ME that's the problem?
Or...trying to remember that I can keep being irritated or not...

That last one is a note to self bc I woke up pissy today for, oh, no real reason. I'm working my way out of it now that I've been up a couple of hours. And I'm also limiting contact with the outside world

All takes time and even w time, none of us are perfect at being even. Being able to recognize my irritability, irrational junk, even anger as quickly as poss has been a process and I'm better at it - but clearly not immune!
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