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The People You DO Have to Explain Your Abstinence To

Old 10-19-2011, 11:53 AM
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The People You DO Have to Explain Your Abstinence To

If I were to just meet someone and they asked me why I don't drink, I'd just say I simply don't, end of story.

But my parents are coming down this weekend and I've been drinking with them for the past 8 months, so when I all of the sudden refuse alcohol again this weekend, there gonna give me one seriously confused look. lol After I quit last year, I never gave them any reason for my quitting, possibly subconsciously leaving myself room to drink in the future again. But anyway, I'm 110% sure of my need and desire to no longer touch the stuff for the rest of my life now and would like to explain some part of this to them, so they don't think I'm some "hoity, toity city girl that thinks she's better than rural folks and their boozing ways"...ok, that's a dramatization! lol But there's a big drinking culture where I'm from.

I suppose I could just say that I don't think alcohol is worth the trouble anymore. I could certainly lie and say I'm on a diet, but I just don't want to lie to them anymore. I know I'll figure out a good way, but I'm kind of curious if anyone else has run into this before.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:22 PM
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I wouldn't tell them that bit about never drinking again - I would just say you felt your drinking was getting out of control and so you have stopped. If it were anybody but your parents, I wouldn't even say that. But for me, especially when I was younger, I found that when things were starting to go well I wanted to tell people about how I wasn't drinking and why. I enjoyed telling people. I can't explain it exactly, but that was really unhealthy for me. It became less about what I was doing for me, myself and I and it became more about everything external.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:26 PM
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How about just the truth?
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:28 PM
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That's a very good point freethinking, thanks for your input.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:34 PM
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Whatever I say will be true, I just need to determine how much is too much. Because then it can go from simply explaining my issue to worrying my parents more than they need to be worried. I can say, there's simply no benefit to drinking alcohol anymore or I can say I feel like I'm handcuffed to a roller coaster in hell when I drink...both true statements, but I think they'd probably prefer to be spared the gory details of my drinking career...or I'd prefer to spare them of it anyway.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:46 PM
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I do get it that you need to find a way to be diplomatic so that you don't put them on the defensive about their own drinking. Unless you want to.

I would avoid declarative statements against drinking, even if it's what you think: "Drinking is bad for for you," "People who drink alcohol will all go to hell!", "Drinking is stupid!". Stuff like that. Don't be an activist about your new non-drinking status unless you are prepared to argue. You realize, of course, that you can't argue with someone else's beast!

Just be matter of fact. You are what you are. You might say, "I just don't enjoy it any more", or "I just don't want to drink." Or, better still, "I have more fun since I stopped drinking." Or, whatever you feel comfortable saying.

Most of us who haven't been drinkers in a long time no longer feel the need to explain ourselves. I've met up with people I used to drink with, and no one has ever challenged me about being a non-drinker. I'm just one of the people at the table who doesn't order a drink.

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Old 10-19-2011, 01:04 PM
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You've got options. Many of these I used.

Subterfuge:
"I'm driving."
"I've got 'On Call' responsibilities at work."
"I don't feel well."
"I'm on a diet."
"I'm taking a medication that that I can't mix with booze."

Almost-Truth
"I've been partying too hard and I'm letting my liver vacation for a while."
"I think I have a drinking problem and I'm on the wagon until I figure it out."

The Truth:
"I have a drinking problem and cannot drink any more."

Graphic Truth:
"I am an alcoholic. When I drink, I drink too much and cannot control it. At times I have been so drunk I was unable to protect myself. I have come to the realization that if I continue to drink I will die. To save my life, I have chosen to never drink again. Please help me."

Early in my sobriety, I used subterfuge in many social and family situations. After a while, nobody asked me why I wasn't drinking. I learned that it didn't matter to other people as much as I imagined it would.

I don't know you or your family dynamic, but I gather from your post that you don't think you'll have the support from your family that you need. Do whatever is necessary to get through the weekend sober. At some point you may need to throw down some variant of Graphic Truth.

Godspeed!

Edit: Flyaway, I posted this before I read your post #5 above. I misinterpreted your OP.
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:53 PM
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Let us know how it goes!
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:01 PM
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Funny thing I found was that outside of our hardcore drinking buddies people don't seem to care that much if I decide to have a drink or not. Well, some regular friends have also been uncomfortable but I know that is because they also have some challenges with alcohol & me not drinking makes them more aware of their problem/uncomfortable themselves.

In regards to your parents Vlad & the others have given you a good list. I personally have gone with "I am not drinking for health reasons" and my family members were fine with that... then again they have all seem me drunk at one point or another ;-)

There is nothing wrong with "I am trying to be healthier", thats the truth isnt it? If they question further you can take it from there & gauge where they/you are at.

You will be fine as long as you dont pick up that first drink

Let us know how it goes.

Cheers ~ NB
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:50 PM
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Vlad I loved your list.

Fly, if you take up running you can add in my all time favorite "I'm in training."
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:00 PM
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How about, "I decided not to drink anymore." I am probably in the minority here but once you're out of your parents house, you don't really owe them an explanation of anything you do or do not participate in.

On the other hand, this might be why I'm the black sheep of my family. But considering my family, I'm quite happy to be the black sheep. Situations may vary. Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:21 PM
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I've still not had a conversation with my parents about it...and I think theyve stopped offering me wine with dinner.

The reasons I don't are 1. I don't want to worry them in hindsight. 2. I don't want them to think I am judging their drinking, and 3. I know that especially early on they would have tried to talk me out of it.

Good luck!
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:07 AM
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How about

"Now that I'm an Air Traffic Controller I can't afford to drink as they pee-test us in the morning".

Obviously I'm just kidding here...but if all else fails LOL
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:19 AM
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I always just tell people "drinking just doesn't agree with me" or "I don't like the effect alcohol has on me" I don't see any need to tell them that it often caused me to black out and/or become an obnoxious ****...
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:34 AM
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For me a good explanation, that is strictly speaking true, is:

I had a trial period of not drinking and I've decided it's not for me anymore. I feel so much better without it—so much so that now I've lost the taste for it.
I know it sounds a little bit self-righteous but who honestly can argue with that? If anyone expected you to drink after that, they're basically saying they want you to feel worse—and do something you no longer enjoy doing.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:58 PM
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My standard is something like, "drinking was no longer enjoyable to me and it was keeping me from reaching my goals so I don't drink anymore". I've also lost close to a hundred pounds since I quit drinking and have become a fitness junkie so no one has ever questioned my sobriety beyond that explanation. Truthfully, no one has questioned my sobriety beyond a simple, "so you don't drink anymore, eh?", they're all more interested in how I lost weight then why I don't drink.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:29 PM
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I haven't gotten to any challenging parts of the weekend yet. So far when I'm at a restaurant and everyone else orders alcohol, I say to the server, "You know, I could just really go for a big glass of ice water." I guess I can avoid questions related to why I'm not drinking with a simple over exaggerated passion for ice water. lol No one would wonder anything if you sound like you had your mind set on something else...though you can't pull this every time or they'll think you have diabetes. lol But gotta say, ice water tastes way better than booze. Thank God for not having to jam that stuff down my throat anymore. Ugh.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:31 PM
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And congrats on the loss AnthonyV! I hope I can lose half of what you did!
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:30 PM
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Dealing with colleagues

Hi folks,

New here, though sober since January 2007. I'll be starting a new job this April and likely will be invited out for dinner and drinks with my new colleagues. I want to have a response ready for them - many of my colleagues at my old job knew me when I was drinking and so, of those I know well enough, they know why I don't any more and were fairly cool with it. This new place, though, I don't want to get into the backstory with, certainly not right at the outset.

The last thing I thought of to get around this was to say that I had been told by a doctor a few years back that I was at risk of developing diabetes, which is not uncommon in my family, and that I had to cut my weight significantly. Since I love eating more than booze and (still) am not that fond of sports, I decided to cut the alcohol, and that solved the problem. I only tried this out once, though, and it seemed to work. I do wonder if there might be a better way, but maybe this is it for me?
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:51 PM
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How about, "I quit drinking awhile back, and I feel great! I just don't drink any more."
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