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The People You DO Have to Explain Your Abstinence To

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The People You DO Have to Explain Your Abstinence To

Old 01-13-2012, 04:53 PM
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Welcome to SoberRecovery tehnjay.

Saying 'no thanks' has worked for me in the past.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:13 PM
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welcome tehnjay

I got sober in 2007 too - if by chance I ever meet someone who knew me then but haven't seen me since, I just say I don't drink anymore.

Noone's ever pressed me on it yet

D
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:54 PM
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Most people I know who drink understand and experience the pain of hangovers and certainly many also will raise their hand if asked whether they could stand to lose a few pounds etc.

What I usually tell almost anyone who asks - and that would include parents and also close friends - is that at some point, the hangovers got bad enough to tip the scales of alcohol-induced euphoria into an overall negative result.

Sometimes I add the fact that I was afraid of one day going overboard (as a lot of 'normal' drinkers do) and waking up to discover I did something incredibly stupid and damaging.

While they're chewing on that, I add regardless of whether the decision to stop was 'too drastic', the dramatic visible improvements to my health were too good to ever jeopardize by returning to the drink.

And, that's both accurate and truthful without having to include the "A" word.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:38 AM
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No long explanation of family history and diabetes required. Just say you don't drink. These are your new coworkers, they don't need a long story. If you want to add a little something say, "Just for my health, I don't." That's 100% true, too.

My mom, who really doesn't drink and never has tells people, "I just don't drink." No one challenges it, no one asks for more, they go about their business. I think babbling too much gives people the idea you're hiding something. A simple explanation is best.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:23 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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A customer sent me and a few coworkers bottles of wine as a holiday gift. When the one coworker came to give me the bottle I simply said, "I don't drink anymore, would you like an extra bottle?"

His response was, "Oh, wow, thanks!"

That's all, no "why?"

Of course, I still wrote a note to the customer thanking them for thinking of me during the holidays.

If you are polite and just say "no thank you" people usually respect your boundaries without questions.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:40 PM
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I've found it's far more difficult to explain my reason for abstinence to family members. There are two reasons for this. One, the majority of my family members are heavy drinkers and/or alcoholics. Two, my family members always denied my drinking problem, including their own.

When I told my mother I couldn't control my drinking, she said, "You're completely in control of you drinking. Just learn to drink moderately. You don't have a drinking problem." However, I have tried moderation numerous times and failed within a matter of days. When I told her this, she claimed I wasn't trying hard enough.

My friends seem to understand my reason for abstinence far better than my family members. It helps that my friends rarely drink (most drink 0-2 alcoholic beverages a week).

To be honest, the best thing to do is be selfish and ignore your parents. It sounds rude on the surface, but maintaining sobriety is a miraculous achievement. Think of it this way: you'll be alive longer to spend time with them.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:50 PM
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surething,

Once you have self-identified yourself as a non-drinker, you have nothing to explain. It's just who you are. You aren't really "not" doing anything, you are just making choices a non-drinker makes.

There are a lot of other things you are not doing at the same time -- do you need to justify to the world everything you choose not to do?

If someone is unhappy with your non-participation in an activity you no longer choose to be a part of, leave. That is not selfish. You are doing them a favor if they are that uncomfortable with you.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:29 AM
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I've had this problem when I've tried to stop drinking before in the past. My immediate family are ok, but have never drank anyway. My best friends on the other hand are all heavy smokers/drinkers and some are drug users, and they just don't want me to stop and don't want to question their own behavior. It's gonna be a problem if they won't support me this time around. I know, at least to begin with, I haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding while I'm round them. They will undermine me from the moment they realize I don't have a drink.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:55 PM
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James18:

I left behind every "friend" I had when I quit doing drugs. All of them. I cut them loose and good riddance and I don't miss them. There are 2 people I have reconnected with from my drugging days. One is clean and productive and I'm proud of him. One calls me drunk occasionally to rehash- again- why he hates the world and his life is crap. I always have something urgent to attend to when he calls.

Bottom line: it's your life and your choice. Real friends want you to be happy and clean and be a functional adult. If you want to be those things you surround yourself with people who support that. If you can't let those friends go look in the mirror and ask yourself where your priorities are. Remember when you point the finger at your friends as a reason you can't get sober, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself.

Hope I'm not p!ssing you off, just giving you my $0.02.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:10 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Listen to gneiss. There are a lot of wise words in her post.

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Old 01-15-2012, 09:19 PM
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Alcohol is strange in that it's the one drug you have to justify not taking.

In society it's considered normal and natural to poison yourself on a regular basis.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:49 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Or maybe we just think we have to justify not taking it.

I don't. I explain if I feel like it. Otherwise, "No thanks" is more than sufficient. If the person pushes, just say, "Because no thanks," smile, and go about your business.

People for whom alcohol isn't a big deal won't care that you aren't drinking and people for whom it is aren't there to listen to you anyway.

d
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:05 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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^Good point

Because alcohol had been such an All Important Big Thing in my life for so many years,I guess I assumed it was the same for everyone else...

when I quit I definitely felt I *owed* people an explanation...I used to think about what I'd say and plan it our in detail...

Of course I eventually realised I was essentially talking to myself...most people's eyes used to glaze over....

What I do or don't so is just not a big deal to a heck of a lot of people.

D
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:30 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
^Good point


Of course I eventually realised I was essentially talking to myself...most people's eyes used to glaze over....

What I do or don't so is just not a big deal to a heck of a lot of people.

D
Yet another "shocking revelation" to me that I find is a shared experience to people here on SR....people don't care about my non-drinking.

Early on I arrived at a holiday party and ordered hot tea. The host (a regular entire bottle drinker) looked appalled and said "TEA??!! WHY?!". I replied "because i want hot tea.". He went back to his wine and gave no further thought to my drink choice.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:45 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by gneiss View Post
James18:



Hope I'm not p!ssing you off, just giving you my $0.02.
No, you're not pissing me off at all. I know it is ultimately down to me to make the changes I need if I want to improve my life. It just seems like a massive challenge, that the more I look at the more complicated it gets. I'm pretty sure i'm not gonna be able to stop drinking while I'm round them, so it's decision time...
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by James18 View Post
No, you're not pissing me off at all. I know it is ultimately down to me to make the changes I need if I want to improve my life. It just seems like a massive challenge, that the more I look at the more complicated it gets. I'm pretty sure i'm not gonna be able to stop drinking while I'm round them, so it's decision time...
It is a massive challenge, I'm not saying it's easy. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Don't let it get complicated though, because the goals and the path to them are clear.

Do you want to continue your life as it is now, or do you want to be sober and healthy? If you choose sober and healthy, it's very clear what you need to do. You're strong enough to do it, no matter how un-fun it is. You can make new friends, and they'll be real friends who value a productive lifestyle.

I kind of saw it as a diet for my mind. There are certain appetites you learn not to indulge, and there's a lot of willpower involved. Sometimes you have to white-knuckle through it, but you can do it. Figure out what you REALLY want, then keep your eye on the prize.

And post here. It helps to talk about it.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:45 AM
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Well I managed to turn down drinking offer number 1 this afternoon. Although it was more avoidance than a straight "no thanks" - I'll do whatever I can for the moment though. I reckon I need more practice at turning people down
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:07 PM
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When I tell someone I'm not drinking they ask 'oh are you pregnant?' It's amazing how peoples' minds work!!

As many have said I don't think most people give that much thought to other peoples' drinking. Because it is a problem for us and we think about it so much we assume others think like that too. hope your weekend with your folks is going well and hasn't been too difficult.

edit-sorry just realized how old this thread is!
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:31 AM
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This thread never gets old! You're always welcome to post here, justhadenough. Welcome to SR

Good job, James18! For now, "Oh I can't... I'm... ummmm... [mumbled excuse] that evening..." will suffice. Take what you can get, the bottom line is you didn't go. It's a step in the right direction. I quit many, many times. Maybe you'll do better than I did. But don't be ashamed if you break down once in a while. You're human, and you're attempting a daunting- but very attainable- task. Just don't give up. And come back for some cheer leading and/or attitude adjustments.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:27 PM
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Thanks, folks. Will try the simple response and see what happens. Keeping my truthy fabrication as a backup, of course.
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