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Do we really have to tell other people?!

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
ellen in florida
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by ellen in florida » 15 Jul 2012 08:08

From prior experience, I am very selective who I tell. When I first attempted to stop, I went to a rehab that encouraged being honest with yourself and everyone else. Supposedly doing this was the only way to recover. My previous job had me moving frequently, and my first disclosure that I was an alcoholic was genuinely supported by some, and judged harshly by others, especially if they saw me relapse down the road. Once I was transferred to my next location, I was much more careful who I told. I have met other alcoholics who have that personality where they tell anyone without hesitating, their attitude is, who cares what others think. I just don't have that kind of personality. I tend to dwell on negative comments by others (something I am trying to improve on). I am early in another attempt at recovery, so have learned that right now I am not strong enough to face the looks, and talks behind my back. I already get down on myself enough. I just give some kind of excuse, nobody pushes it with me. I really think to disclose or not really depends on whether someone can handle a possible negative reaction, without it compromising your recovery.

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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by bobi » 15 Jul 2012 08:19

Hi Ellen, I understand how you feel and for me personally telling anyone other than my wonderful husband is a definite no-no. I think it's because I doubt that most people would understand. I've heard my mother and my neighbour - both ladies I would normally term 'nice', pour scorn on alcoholics purely down to having no clue about the misery of the disease. For me keeping this private is paramount. I've battled for over 30 years and now two weeks into the latest attempt to quit. If this is finally when I succeed, even years down the track I shall never tell anyone of my past - and if I relapse yet again I shall keep what I feel is my shame to myself as I beat myself up enough when I fail without having to deal with other peoples' possible condemnation too. I wish you success and peace . Bobi Lincolnshire UK XXX

ellen in florida
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by ellen in florida » 16 Jul 2012 03:04

Bobi: I wish you well in your recovery also. I am glad you have a supportive husband to be by your side. ;)?

cowboy

Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by cowboy » 07 Sep 2012 11:08

Do we? I really don't want to make a big deal of this. I have 4 days under my belt and have passed on wine offered by my sweet wife at dinner every night. (She doesn't have the some problem as me - not even close). I haven't said anything about quitting - yet. The weekend is coming and there will undoubtedly be a number of invitations to drink. I will probably give an excuse such as doctors orders for the time being. Most people that know me though - know that I am too heavy a drinker to follow some doctors orders. At some point in time I'll have to come clean but that's the least of my worries right now. One day at a time - early days. Just want to make it through this first weekend.
Last edited by cowboy on 07 Sep 2012 22:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Finley
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 07 Sep 2012 13:35

This is a really difficult one, isn't it? As individuals, we share our problem relationship with alcohol, but we're all in different circumstances, with different social circles, families etc, so there can't really be a 'one size fits all' approach. Younger BE-ers may find they have more peer pressure - I'm 51 and although I found it difficult to say anything in the first few weeks, I'm now comfortable with telling my friends 'Well, I'm on blood pressure medication, and just think at my age it's time I did whatever I could to keep healthy, so I'm cutting down on the booze'. With people I don't know as well (there's a group of us I know through work who meet up for a meal every couple of months) I tend to make sure I'm driving so I can't drink. Recently I went for this one, and one of the group said 'Aw come on - why don't you get a taxi? Have a drink and enjoy yourself' and I told her I was economising due to how bad things are at the moment with late payers etc, so wouldn't be getting a taxi. I wouldn't tell my mum, cos she doesn't know there's a problem and it would worry her if she did - I have told my brother, who understands without judging. My 17 year old daughter knows (cos she lives with me, has seen me drink every night for the past few years and has obviously noticed the difference in the last three months!!!)

I suppose at the end of it all, we have to make decisions based on our own circumstances, but actually we ought to be able to say 'I'm not drinking cos I don't want to', without further explanation. If we said we were stopping smoking (as I have) people, even other smokers, would clap you on the back and say WELL DONE - if we say we're not drinking, people can have peculiar reactions...........
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by sscott » 11 Sep 2012 23:04

Hi Finley,

You speak a lot of sense.

All the Best to you and yours, keep posting.

Stuart

Me?...I do notice that some of my workmates are going through similar alcohol addiction probs but they seem to take great consolation in others being 'worse than them'. I do tell a lot of them that I am/have been cutting back and I do not compare myself with others so much although feel in the same boat.....I rather stick to repeating what is healthy and what is not in the hope that I influence them the correct way.

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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 14 Sep 2012 14:38

Thanks Stuart. Yes, it's funny how heavy drinkers seem to take comfort from the fact that someone else drinks more than they do, isn't it? But we all have different vulnerabilities - some have more fragile physical health, others suffer more with emotional issues - and it won't be any comfort to someone who drinks less than their mates if s/he develops a serious illness because of it while they seem to carry on regardless with no ill effect :|

In the end, whatever support we can give each other (and should - I know I benefit greatly from BE), it's down to ourselves what we do and how we do it.

Hope you're ok and having a good day x
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by madcow23 » 24 Sep 2012 08:06

I don't like the word alcoholic but I do tell most of my friends that I have a drink problem. Unfortunately many of my friends are also heavy drinkers and I'm not sure telling them makes much difference ie they still encourage me to drink more (I'm attempting to cut down at the moment).

I don't tell acquaintances or family (except my brother who used to have alcohol problems) as I don't think they would understand.

But I think it's entirely up to the individual who they tell and whether it would achieve something positive.

Ruby

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Finley
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 24 Sep 2012 10:28

I agree that the word 'alcoholic' conjures up all kinds of images that some of us can't relate to/apply to ourselves and also I would have the fear that to describe myself as such to other people may make them think of me in ways I wouldn't want them to.

I prefer to think of myself as alcohol dependent - because that's what I've become. I did wonder about whether this was minimising the problem but I really don't think it is. Alcohol dependent actually describes the impact of alcohol on my life, or the way I use it within my life, and I think that's more useful than a label which is a 'catch all' for people who have a range of problems, one of which is using alcohol to excess, or being addicted to it.

I think it's also more helpful for me to think about 'alcohol dependence' in terms of how I then go about tackling my misuse of alcohol. I mean, when I manage not to drink, I can think about being able to do certain things without 'depending' on alcohol to enable me.

In terms of telling other people, when I first came to BE, I wouldn't have told anyone at all. Now, there are some people I will tell and I usually say things like 'I think I was becoming too dependent on alcohol to unwind' or 'I decided I want to be able to drive to/from a night out because taxis are too expensive and I can't drink and drive', or with one or two very close friends 'I was worried about how much I was drinking and realised I need to stop'. It all depends on who I'm speaking to.

Whatever we decide about talking to people in our 'real' lives, thank goodness for BE, where we can all be completely honest about our relationships with alcohol ;)?
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by m@ » 25 Sep 2012 07:51

'...where we can all be completely honest about our relationships with alcohol '
I like the term 'relationship'. I have started seeing someone recently and I was open and honest from the start about everything. I had to be, it's not as if it wasn't ever going to come up in the future if things progress. She was fine about it, in fact never mentions it unless I do.

We all have a 'relationship' with alcohol, even if we aren't drinking at the moment.
Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.

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Finley
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 02 Oct 2012 15:07

Joop - you could always do as others have suggested and say you're on antibiotics, if you don't feel like talking to this particular friend. Or maybe just say that you're trying to get healthy before the Xmas period? Or, that you have a lot of difficult work on at the moment and can't face doing it with a hangover?

I think it's awful, how difficult it is to tell people we don't want to drink - I know I drank wine over the weekend, because if I hadn't it would have caused questions to be asked (by my mum, and I will NEVER be ready to discuss my problem relationship with alcohol, with her). If we say we're giving up smoking, even other smokers will be, perhaps a little grudgingly, supportive, but if we say we don't want to drink, the reactions can be very different.

Could you suggest getting together for an activity that wouldn't involve alcohol for either of you (maybe go for a spa treatment or something like that?). If your friend isn't happy spending sober time with you, perhaps it might be better to avoid being in their company for a while? I guess if that's the case, you might question (to yourself at least if not openly to your friend) whether that friend also may have an unhealthy relationship with booze?

Best of luck, whatever you decide :)
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Grendelslip » 02 Oct 2012 15:48

Joop, the decision on whether to tell or not to tell is entirely yours. People will notice that you are not drinking and sooner or later somebody will ask why. It's really none of their business. Telling them that may cause offense or lead to Conclusions Being Drawn so I think it is OK to make up excuses if you don't want to tell all. Little white lies.

As to whether you need to tell, I think you have to go with what you are comfortable with and not feel you have to tell/not tell. I can think of only one disadvantage to keeping quiet: if you have someone who would be supportive and would not tell others then you might benefit from telling them in order to get that support. I certainly can't see why keeping quiet for now would build a bubble that would later burst.

There are many excuses for not drinking that we can give. Many are described in previous posts. My personal choice would be to start by saying I am having a detox - in the wider sense as used in health and fitness circles - or that I am making lifestyle changes. Later on I could then tell everybody that I feel so much better for not drinking so will be carrying on. I like this because it is actually true!

It is important to remember though that once the cat has been let out of the bag it ain't gonna go back in. On the other hand, while you continue to keep quiet you still have the option of 'coming out'. "If in doubt leave it out" perhaps.

Dave

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Jake.
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Jake. » 02 Oct 2012 15:52

I just say I don't enjoy it any more (true) and that I feel much better without it (true (

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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Jake. » 02 Oct 2012 15:59

Sounds like a good plan joop!

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Finley
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 02 Oct 2012 16:02

Hi Joop. That might be the best idea really. I know that for the first couple of weeks (when I was only trying to cut down, actually, not stop drinking altogether) there were a couple of friends I actually could not think of going out with, because I knew it would take very little to see me downing a bottle or more of wine - and they would have been more than happy to keep me company. One 'up' side of that, was that I did find myself spending time with other friends, non-drinkers, or very light drinkers, who I'd probably neglected for quite a while. I've also found over the past few months that I'm much more willing to try new activities, because I'm needing to find AF things to do - and I've been quite surprised by how many of my friends have also been willing to come along and 'make do' (from their point of view) with a really good coffee and indulgent cake.

Best of luck :)
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cowboy

Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by cowboy » 15 Oct 2012 22:24

Hello people. This is one I am dealing with. Not sure if I want to say anything to anyone this time around. It's like the boy who cried wolf story. Don't want to cry wolf anymore. Want to cry "I feel great". Or maybe just cry - not sure. Think I'm gonna try and "low key it" this time. Nobody except the folks on here really can know what I am facing with this addiction anyways. Most of the folks I know would laugh and say I don't have a problem. I don't need other people tell me I don't have a problem. I need other people to respect my decision to do something that I feel is good for myself. So mums the word for the time being. It's early days anyways.

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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by behindblueeyes » 15 Oct 2012 22:33

Hey cowboy....what's to tell anyway.....?

The most difficult person I've found to deal with and explain things to in this not drinking lark is me. Once I've got me convinced - whatever reason comes out of my mouth (or doesn't depending how I feel..) sounds convincing because I believe it. And if I believe it, I'll do it and that's all that counts.

More power to you.... (::)
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by DannyD » 16 Oct 2012 10:57

When I first started stopping I didn't tell anyone - fear of failure when/if I started drinking again. I've stopped before and failed.

This time I really feel as though I've turned a corner onto a new road where alcohol is not tempting me from behind every bush and tree. And I feel confident enough in my sobriety that I talk about it at work. 'I had a huge problem with alcohol, but stopped drinking this year. January was a bit stop/start, but I haven't had a drink since february.' I'm not trying to brag (though it is a huge achievement), but if only one person over hears and examines their own relationship with alcohol, I think it's been useful.

And I'm sure - on reflection - that work colleagues knew quite well that I was heading down the self destruct alcohol road.
be selfish in your sobriety.

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Finley
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by Finley » 16 Oct 2012 11:02

Hi DD. I didn't tell anyone at all (apart from my daughter) that I was 'going to try to do something about my drinking', until quite recently. Even using the word 'try' brought me face to face with the fact I had/have a real problem and I wouldn't have felt confident enough to share that with anyone to begin with. More recently (although I've stumbled and tripped a few times - most spectacularly this last weekend) I've felt happier about talking about my own alcohol use and the fact I am addressing it - with greater or lesser success from time to time. I'm still only talking like this with people I really trust. I've been astonished to find that once the issue is out in the open, a couple of friends have begun talking about how much they drink and that they wonder if they ought to cut down. They may have been thinking about it for a while, but I don't think they would have mentioned it unless I did......
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Re: Do we really have to tell other people?!

Post by DannyD » 16 Oct 2012 11:40

Finley wrote: I've felt happier about talking about my own alcohol use and the fact I am addressing it.... I'm still only talking like this with people I really trust. I've been astonished to find that once the issue is out in the open, a couple of friends have begun talking about how much they drink and that they wonder if they ought to cut down. They may have been thinking about it for a while, but I don't think they would have mentioned it unless I did......
I think that's brilliant. very brave of you to talk about it, and to open this particular can of worms with friends
be selfish in your sobriety.

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