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The value of friendship in recovery

Old 05-04-2019, 08:27 PM
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The value of friendship in recovery

I have been a hard drinker all my adult life. I have been a full blown alcoholic for at least the last three years if not longer.

During this time I have been drunk at parties, social events, gatherings, sporting events, the golf club, concerts...oh just about everywhere. Despite this my friends have not once spoken to me about my obvious problem with alcohol. For reasons that I will never quite understand they stuck with me, continued to include me in everything, lived with the embarassement I obviously caused and accepted me as is.

I suspect some on this forum will consider them to be enablers. I do not see it like that. They knew that speaking to me would be pointless. They knew that doing so would cause alienation and I would simply continue on my path of self-destruction.

The descision to quit was entirely my own. It was not caused by social embarrassement, legal problems or work related issues. I simply could not live any longer with the withdrawal which developed in the last few months of my drinking. The time between 6h00 and 17h00 daily when I could have my first drink again was becoming a living hell.

I did not discuss my descission to stop for good with anyone, not even my brother who I share everything with. I went to my GP and played open cards with her. I embarked on a medically supervised detox with success.

Once I have made my descision I told all my friends the full story including the withdrawals, anxiety etc which I kept mostly a secret. Their reaction was more telling than any admonishment, intervention or “sermon” would have been during my drinking days. Without exception they supported and encouraged me. Not one, not even the hard drinkers and probable alcoholics themselves suggested that my problem was “not that bad” or that I should have “just one drink”. This confirmed to me just how bad my problem really was. Their support now is just amazing.

I have slowly started to socialise again. Small groups, short periods. It is visible how much more my friends enjoy being with the sober me. This is so telling.

I am now sharing my road to recovery with friends of friends and acquaintances too. I get no judgement but just interest and support. It is significant what a bit of honesty can do.

I believe that taking my friends on this journey with me will make my resolve stronger. I do not want to let myself down (again). I do not want to disappoint them.

I am eternally grateful for their support. I do not deserve it but I accept it with gratitude and humility. My aim is to keep it, one day at a time.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:38 PM
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I am now sharing my road to recovery with friends of friends and acquaintances too.
I'm glad you seem to have a supportive group of friends. Nevertheless I'd urge caution about who you choose to share your recovery with.

When I quit, I thought I had to tell everyone I met - drinking had been so important to me, I assumed it was important for others too.

That did me no harm as I'm out of the workforce now and too old to care what other people think of me - but if thats not you I think you need to be careful.

All most people need to know is you're a non drinker.

Fair or not, there's still a stigma about alcoholism. Be judicious in who you tell. Think about who they might tell.

D
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:45 PM
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What dee said..

I keep my not drinking to myself. No need to inundate others with my personal stuff. It's as simple as " I no longer drink" and that's if asked.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:49 PM
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They say you can tell a lot about a person by the people they surround themself with. Your friends sound like super awesome people.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:31 PM
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Yes, your friends sound like great people for their support.
I didn't really tell any of my friends, they all knew I was a drunk and when I quit they accepted me as I was for not drinking.
Just today I had a friend of thirty five years over. We drank alcoholicly together for many years. I bought him a six pack he could drink while we visited.
I've known this man for that long, and when I quit he has not asked me to this day why. In fact, it's never even come up. He accepts me for who I am.

I have friends all over the country and some of those I've told I quit because they only knew me as a drunk and now I'm proud not to be. So I share it with them.
I've been sober over ten years now, and I told some friends of my struggle to quit while still actively drinking. And to a one of them, they have never mentioned my drinking while I was a drunk. Or why I no longer drink.
I guess it's not that big of a deal to them. Everyone has their own life. So my drinking is probably pretty low on their radar.
I have great friends. I'm very fortunate.

But, as they say, action speaks louder than words and my being sober speaks to them without me having to even tell some of them I quit.
Tell whomever you want. Shout it from rooftops. I wouldn't recommend that early in sobriety. But with me, I'm proud I don't drink anymore.
I'm beyond caring about the old days. I live in the now, as a sober alcoholic.
I'm happy to let people know that.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:45 PM
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I'm glad your friends are so great! I too am lucky to have a supportive group around me.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Callas View Post
Once I have made my descision I told all my friends the full story including the withdrawals, anxiety etc which I kept mostly a secret. Their reaction was more telling than any admonishment, intervention or “sermon” would have been during my drinking days. Without exception they supported and encouraged me. Not one, not even the hard drinkers and probable alcoholics themselves suggested that my problem was “not that bad” or that I should have “just one drink”. This confirmed to me just how bad my problem really was. Their support now is just amazing.
I was sitting at the bar with an acquaintance I had known for a couple of years. We were just friends, but not close buddies, but close enough to talk about personal things. We were both drunk, and I already knew he was a big drinker. I would guess alcoholic. I can't remember the context, but at one point he told me that I needed to quit drinking. I thought it was odd, since he obviously needed to quit drinking too, and I suspect he knew it.

The strange thing was that here was an alcoholic, maybe in worse shape than me, just giving me friendly advice about how to make my life better, even if he wasn't ready to do it himself. Not all alcoholics want to be enablers just so they can have someone to drink with. I always remember that guy fondly.

My sponsor told me once that when he hit his bottom, he was sitting at a bar telling this other drunk how miserable his drinking had become. So this other drunk, says, "I know what you need to do," and took him to his first AA meeting, where my sponsor immediately committed himself to getting sober. I asked if that guy also quit drinking at the same time, and my sponsor said, "No, he just went back to the bars and kept on drinking himself silly."

Go figure. It's hard to stereotype patterns of behavior on predisposed assumptions we have about certain groups.
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