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interacting with people who drink

Partners, families, children and friends - they all get affected by your drinking.
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Mike
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interacting with people who drink

Post by Mike » 27 Aug 2008 12:35

Hi all,

This is all about co-existing with people who drink. Or perhaps it is about living within a drink dominated culture. I have come to the conclusion it is almost impossible. I am glad this site is virtually anonymous because I shall be spilling the beans about my personal relationships, which I have not done before on the forum. You could go to my profile, and with a little snooping on the web you could work out exactly who I am, but you won't want to be bothered. I am not important enough to matter.

My wife still drinks. Her friends all drink. Her friends are wives of my friends. They all think that I am now slightly odd. That is, slightly more odd than I was before I stopped drinking. My wife just about tolerates my disappearing to AA meetings once or twice a week, but she resents the time I spend on my computer. She thinks sobriety has become an obsession and I suppose to a extent she is right.

My wife and I were in a codependent relationship. Drinking was something we had in common. Now there is almost nothing left. Should I drink again to save my marriage ? My decision, but it isn't going to happen.

Our 28 year old son came on holiday to Spain with us and shared the driving of the hire car. When he was driving early in the evenings he exhibited signs of near road rage. He is normally a calm, cheerful and disarmingly charming fellow. (Just like his dad.) I kept thinking "He needs a drink". Sure enough when we had returned to our villa and after a couple of beers he calmed down. He doesn't drink much. Only a few beers. Alcohol is a powerful drug. It has made me realise what I must have been like.

My friends are uncomfortable about my abstinence. I don't go to the pub much now. If I do, I drink a non alcoholic beer which I quite enjoy. But my friends assume that because I am not drinking "normally" I must be having an awful time. I try to enter into the spirit of the pub banter but I never quite get it right these days.

I have friends at AA but don't meet with them outside AA meetings. I am not quite the through and through AA guy you all think I am. I cherry pick at AA. I go to listen and to share. I don't have a sponsor, and I don't work the program. So I am viewed with a certain amount of suspicion. They say "You are doing it Mike's way, not the AA way." They let me make the teas, but I will never progress further within the AA system.

Work is work. Drinking is not an issue at work, although my drinking outside work became a major problem at work and is the main reason I stopped. I am still subject to health board reviews, the next one in Manchester in 2 days time. All my blood tests are normal and have been for many months. They might even give me the all clear to drink again but if they do, that won't be happening either.

I wonder how the rest of you are coping. I survive with the friendships I have built on this web site. I have met one or two of you in real life and it has been fun. I think I can safely say I have never fallen out with anyone on Bright Eye. I have one or two other close friends from way back or connected with my main hobby which is clay pigeon shooting. Otherwise my life has become more solitary, giving me more time with my thoughts. Up to now self examination took a low priority. I have some catching up to do.

Thanks for reading this if you have been.

All the best, Mike
Last edited by Bela on 26 Dec 2009 17:25, edited 4 times in total.
Reason: slight change in subject header

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Bupster
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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Bupster » 27 Aug 2008 13:39

Hi, Mike,

I wrote a long and thoughtful reply but got chucked out by the board and lost the message so am now drafting what I hope will be a short thoughtful reply. I'm actually hesitant to reply at all as I'm not abstaining completely, at least not yet. However, I have noticed a huge hole in my life since I stopped drinking like an idiot. I used to seek out people who drank the same as me and more, because it made my drinking look normal and I could tell myself we were glamorous, as opposed the boring people who lived ordinary lives and came out to drink once a week - "Sunday drinkers," we used to call them.

Now I avoid all of them but my OH doesn't, and it hurts like anything to see him going off to parties that I haven't been invited to - even though I wouldn't want to go. I think one of the things about drinking to excess is that you always want to have everything even when those things are contradictory - you want to drink to oblivion but still stop after two pints, to drink whatever you want but to be able to limit yourself. Realising that a decent, normal life was a limited one - and was nonetheless the one that I wanted - was quite hard for me to accept. Now I dare say there are people out there that I could be friends with that I wouldn't have bothered with before. I was always looking over their shoulder to see where the next booze might be. However, I don't really know how to meet them, and I don't know what to say to them when I do.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Mike
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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Mike » 27 Aug 2008 14:37

Hi Bupster

You will find a new confidence when you are finally abstinent. You will feel able and even enthusiastic about talking to complete strangers without a drink in your hand. How do you meet people ? I really don't know because I have never felt the need to go out and find new friends. But since I have been sober it has happened. Not every day but now and again. It has happened often enough to keep life interesting.

I will reply to you by PM later.

Mike.

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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by C F » 27 Aug 2008 15:03

I dont think I have a friend who doesnt drink alcohol. Thats difficult because its so easy to 'open a bottle of wine' or 'go out for a few drinks'.

My husband, whom I have recently separated from, hated me being on the computer. I like it as I have built up friendships and have met a few people in real life from other forums.

My husband also didnt drink much. We used to open a bottle of wine, he had one glass, I had the rest.

Ive only been on here 2 weeks tomorrow, but you probably know more about my personal life and my drinking habits more than my family and friends! Its fantastic to share things and not be judged or tutted at.

It was a good post Mike and Im nowhere near as far down the road as you, but one day I really hope I am.

Well done and a BIG thank you from me to all of you x
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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Redexplosion » 27 Aug 2008 16:07

Hi Guys - bit of a newbie <:)>

I'm in total agreement. My wheels have been falling off my wagon on and off for a fair while now and yet while despondant at times wondering whether I will ever crack this addictive behaviour I refuse to be powerless over something that is destroying my life.

When I dont drink I'm confident and funny and people want to spend time with me. When I do drink I have been described as a crazy person and have been adorned with the jewels of handcuffs and rough blankets on many occasions. If your friendships are strong they will remain steady and grow with the passing of time. I have 'friends' who dont understand and that's purely because they either can't or don't want to.

I have my family and a wonderful supprtive husband and right now that's all I need.

Much love - Red x x x
I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.

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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Kitty » 27 Aug 2008 16:11

Hello Mike,
I was very touched by your heartfelt and honest post.
Many things you have said ring a bell with me. Sometimes I worry that I sound like some crazy sober lady advocating abstinence to the world. I never wanted to be the one who doesn't drink, I don't particularly enjoy being the one who doesn't drink - but I wan't to be alive, and I want to be a little bit happy and most of all I want my daughter to know nothing is more important than she is.

As you know I'm sober for around the same amount of time as you. I now have people in my life who have never known the drinking me, and do you know what's weird is that instead of thinking that thank goodness these new friends never saw the drunk me, I find myself wondering if they think I'm boring, I find myself hiding the bit on the 0% alcohol beer bottle label that says alcohol free. I guess I'm torn between the relief of having achieved sobriety and the desire to still belong to the club.

I've got a handfull of old friends who try to understand, the friend who told me for years I was drinking too much, the friend who dragged me off the kitchen floor with my arms cut to shreds, the friend who convinced me my latest flirtation would seem like a very bad idea in the morning.....etc etc these are good people, good friends, but despite me knowing how irrational this sounds I hate the fact that they watch me like a hawk, I hate the fact that they apologise when they pour themselves another glass of red, I just want to be normal - but of course not drinking I am normal and natural - so why do I feel like a freak??

Then there are the 'friends' who don't want to understand, the ones I've had to let go of, the people I saw most often actually, the ones who would want a 'little drinkette darling' after work. The ones who now bore me rigid.

I guess what I'm trying to say Mike is yes, it is a lonely bloody process, and the reasons for that are long and complicated. Despite having good friends I've felt alienated.

I was so happy the day I found bright eye, hopefuly the concept for this forum will grow and maybe one day there will be meetings in towns all over like with AA, because this drinking culture, this society we've created needs something to grab it by the throat. It's about more than just the likes of you and me staying sober - It's about more than advocating sobriety.

Gosh what a ramble,

love to all, Kitty x
"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough" Billie Holiday

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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Jan » 27 Aug 2008 16:14

Hi five Mike,

You are one year down the road compared to my one month, but I'm hot on your heels.

Not eveybody drinks to excess you know - although all my mates do. Children don't. Children can be apprehensive about going to a birthday party; the dress isn't pretty enough maybe and she won't like the present. They can be nervous and shy - but within 5 minutes of getting to the party they are laughing, dancing and singing with everyone else. Maybe the answer is to become more childlike. It works for me!

Pretend you are the child at the party who isn't going to eat any cake because he doesn't like marzipan. Why should it be a problem?

My friends are horrified when I tell them I don't drink anymore. You can hear the shocked silence, the gasp, the pity, the fear. But who cares? Not me!

It's interesting that you mention taking up drinking again to save a marriage - for most it is the other way round. My husband still drinks to excess. I don't mind. I just switch off and do something more interesting instead.

Jan

Kitty - I agree with your idea of regional meetings. Perhaps if everyone put their location in their profiles, we could, with a bit of private messaging, get a few more regional meetings together. I have met four people from here and very nice people they are too.

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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by Bupster » 27 Aug 2008 16:39

Jan wrote:It's interesting that you mention taking up drinking again to save a marriage - for most it is the other way round. My husband still drinks to excess. I don't mind. I just switch off and do something more interesting instead.
I envy you this, Jan, it's quite the opposite for me. I identify very much with Mike's description of he and his wife as codependants - I think my OH and I chose each other because of our drinking, not despite it. I find it very difficult to live with his continued insane drinking (it often goes beyond heavy) when I'm heading off in a different direction. I should like to switch off and do something more interesting but wonder if I will have a relationship at the end of that process, though I also wonder if I will have a relationship if I don't. It's certainly something that I'll have to learn for my own sanity, as control is a very big issue for me and I tend to drink in order to not have to be in charge of everything. I also still resent that he gets to keep all the mates (friends is probably not an accurate description) that I had to leave behind. Even though I choose not to spend time with them, because in truth I don't even particularly like a lot of them, it seems horribly unfair that he's inherited this enormous social life, and the parties, and the holidays, and I'm at home watching repeats of CSI. Bah.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: Living with the enemy (living sober).

Post by John » 27 Aug 2008 16:50

Jan Kitty

what a great idea having a regional meeting would be great

John

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Re: relationships after drink

Post by 2XS » 16 Dec 2008 12:38

Mike wrote: My friends are uncomfortable about my abstinence.
I know you posted this a while back Mike, but have picked up on this point as it is becoming more relevant to me.
It is my second, and so far sucessful, attempt at abstinance and after the intial inward focus it's taken I have begun to explore the effect on my relationships, none more so than my immediate associates who I regularly had a drink with...well in a nutshell they have dissapeared! Which to me implies your above statement. However having given it plenty of consideration, these 'friends' would not do me any favours by way of temptation so however regrettably it is, I am glad of the 'let go' approach in order that I can sustain my chosen path of clarity. I am fortunate to have dear old friends that I feel I have overlooked but now have reconnected with, so in a sense am very lucky to have not burnt my bridges and am not left as 'billy no mates' as these friends are very together and honest. So to 'sum up' I think I've finally 'grown up' and no more need to rely upon the mistaken security of false friendship.
Its true what they say, 'when times are bad you find out who you're real friends are'
2XS
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LOL

Re: relationships after drink

Post by LOL » 16 Dec 2008 14:03

Thank you 2xs, thank you, thank you. <:)>

I hadn't seen this thread before and I've had a light bulb moment. I haven't been thinking of WHY I drink. I have learnt that I decide to drink when I'm sober. I have taken Stephen's advice and not spent time analysing myself, just moving forward foccusing on not drinking.

I've just picked up on this thread. I'm like Bupster:

as control is a very big issue for me and I tend to drink in order to not have to be in charge of everything.

This is it. This is why I drink!!! Oh my god.

I can't post anymore. I'm in a little bit of a whirl. Sorry for being so melodramatic but I've been blind.

LOL
PS. I'll be back to this thread. I've got things to share.

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Re: relationships after drink

Post by 2XS » 18 Dec 2008 10:46

[quote="LOL"] I have learnt that I decide to drink when I'm sober.
control is a very big issue for me and I tend to drink in order to not have to be in charge of everything.

quote]

Right back at you LOL !!!.. thankyou for that... <:)>
Just occured to me that if I'm honest I have always said I hate not been in control of myself :shock: and where I have always been soooooo sensible financially, emotionally, practically and work ethic wise little did I realise that unconciously I was desperately drawing myself into another world where I could let go, switch off, avoid worrying, time out, relax ....whatever it's guise..
So lightbulb moment for me too!!!! :idea: :idea: :idea:
cheers sweet
2XS
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Re: relationships after drink

Post by Bela » 18 Dec 2008 10:51

I read a book a good number of years ago, named something like "control theory" that said that people drink to gain control while they are steadily spinning out of control. It dealt with a variety of substances in addition to alcohol.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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How do you get out of it?

Post by rusty1983 » 27 Dec 2008 15:41

Ive been on here for well over half a year and Ive still got problems, but Im well aware of those problems and starting to deal with them.

But, is it just me or is Britain in the midst of a torrent of drink and drug abuse? Everywhere I go, there it is. The weekends everyone is getting hammered. Ive been in a decent job the last few months and been getting hammered on the Friday night social (Im obliged to go to) and I was wondering why no one was saying anythin g about how drunk I am. Because theyre getting in the same mess! If there is any comment it is to almost congratulate me on rising above the rest in how drunk I get.


And then there is the drugs. Im 25 and everywhere I go the drugs are there. Cocaine and MDMA. In my home town I dont even have to pay for it, and in fact havent for probaably about 6 months. You sit dowwn, chat to someone you vaguely know and there's a bag of powder suddenly in your hand under the table.
I take drugs occasionally but find nowdays Im always turning them away. I took my first pill when I was 15 and I used to think those were heavy days, but I thought that was a phase we were going through. Now it seems to be twice as bad.

It feels like everyone I know drinks heavily or takes drugs. I suspect now that the friends I have lost because of my drinking werent really that fucked about me but just couldnt be bothered with looking after me. But then again, it is like my work situation - it feels the more messed up I get the more of a legend I become.

Am I paranoid or are things taking a severe turn for the worse here? It seems that just by being young Ive got unlimited opportunities to get screwed up. Is anyone else in the same boat? How do you get out of it? Is it a uniquely British thing that leads us to getting more messed up than anyone else?

This has been one hell of a year and Ive had enough. Im seriously thinking about leaving the country again, for good this time.

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Re: How do you get out of it?

Post by 2XS » 27 Dec 2008 15:56

hey Rusty, :)
Just read the above and even being over 10 years your senior the same applies, seems for me at least, the social network I chose to surround myself with were all well into escapism too!, however I have been fortunate enough to look up old friends who don't participate in that lifestyle (drugs) and to that end have been out over christmas actually sober and sane and had a laugh, perhaps even more so, only having to mind the temptation to drink, which was a success. It's taken me a while to get to this point, since my teens actually but, for me, it's all about moving away from old habits, and if the truth be know those 'friends' are probably a bit jealous that I am sorting myself up and 'growing up' and don't need copius amonts of substances to enjoy myself.
The temptation is everywhere and if you can resist it here you can do it anywhere...
all the best
2XS
Bombshells- How to survive using the emotional umbrella technique

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Re: How do you get out of it?

Post by Bupster » 27 Dec 2008 18:30

Hi, Rusty,

We do subconsciously all of us surround ourselves with people who make us feel better about ourselves. If your workmates were sneering at you and making you feel small for drinking like an idiot you wouldn't drink with them. You're choosing to, because you like being a legendary drunk. It's not their fault, it's not the fault of the UK. You're choosing it. If you stopped drinking and making a tit of yourself, and started hanging round with other people who didn't like drinking like idiots, do you think those normal people would be shoving bags of mdma at you?

You've got yourself into a crazed situation. There is room for a debate as to whether it's a specifically UK phenomenon, but it's not one that's particularly relevant to you. Your issues are that you're choosing craziness, and then persuading yourself rather eloquently that you not only have no choice but that the craziness chooses you. Nope. Bul**hit. You have choices - use them. Leaving the country is skirting the issue. The choices are about what you drink, what you take, what you choose to do. Not anyone else, you.

All the best,
Bupster
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: relationships after drink

Post by christine1 » 06 Feb 2009 04:54

I think that I drink to control (meaning by giving myself permission) the overwhelming feelings that I experience because I cannot control (manage/cope with) my life (how I interract with the word around me). I cannot meet the expectations I raise and by drinking I can stop worrying or feeling disappointed in myself for failing to satisfy those expectations.

I am concerned about how in the long term I am going to sustain relationships if I maintain my abstinence. There are only so many meals or cinema trips that peopl are willing to go to, and I admit that I get tense when I am in the company of people drinking.

Kitty wrote:
I've got a handfull of old friends who try to understand, the friend who told me for years I was drinking too much, the friend who dragged me off the kitchen floor with my arms cut to shreds, the friend who convinced me my latest flirtation would seem like a very bad idea in the morning.....etc etc these are good people, good friends, but despite me knowing how irrational this sounds I hate the fact that they watch me like a hawk, I hate the fact that they apologise when they pour themselves another glass of red, I just want to be normal - but of course not drinking I am normal and natural - so why do I feel like a freak??
I really relate to this. I hate being watched. I hate the apologies also. I too just want to be normal.

Bupster wrote:
I think one of the things about drinking to excess is that you always want to have everything even when those things are contradictory - you want to drink to oblivion but still stop after two pints, to drink whatever you want but to be able to limit yourself.
So true Bupster. So, so true of me.
Free yourself from the 'Elephant Thinking'.
How can I think about this differently?

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Re: relationships after drink

Post by hamster » 06 Feb 2009 06:12

Hi Christine <:)>

I think what you wrote about feeling abnormal being a non drinker is so common so many of us and more especially in the early days of not drinking or contemplating not drinking. It was certainly how I felt.

No one likes change, not us and not those around us. Try introducing change into the workplace and see how popular it is. Change is enormously stressful and even if its a wanted change like moving house or job there is still huge stress associated with it.

The thing is with change though is we do get used to it and accept it in time. We just have to give it time.

People who drink around us and make us feel uncomfortable by their questioning? I have that still, If going on a staff night out I am constantly questioned by some, not all, about why I dont drink.

At first I hated it and found it embarrasing but BE has taught me a lot. It taught me that there are more problem drinkers or people who are just not happy with how they drink than we realise. More people out there that would rather not be a drinker and its important for us that we dont make their problem ours.

Now when I go our or have someone around for dinner who drinks I am not bothered about their questioning and feel proud of my sobriety and myself. This is my life and I am not going to jepodise my happiness to make someone else feel comfortable.

Fear is a barrier to beating alcohol, fear of what others think, fear of never having a drink again, fear of drinking to much , fear of not getting back ont he wagon after a slip. Fear is disabling.

I have a book (havnt read it yet :roll: ). The title is feel the fear and do it anyway. I must read it because I already know the truth in the title.

It does get better Christine. Its easy for me to say these things now after almost a year. it did take a long time for me to adjust the the big change in my life. But adjust we all do to anything. One of the big things that makes it easier is those around us adapt to the change aswell and stop questioning - they learned to accept me as a non drinker.

Julie
xx
AF2011 number 10

rusty1983
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Re: How do you get out of it?

Post by rusty1983 » 08 Feb 2009 21:27

Well, thanks for the replies. They do make sense. Some things happened recently that underlined I need to think closely about my circle of friends anyway. Of course it is my own choice.

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Mike
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Re: How do you get out of it?

Post by Mike » 09 Feb 2009 01:43

Hi Rusty,

I'm zillions of years older than you, and I used to be a legendary drinker. It did me no favours in the long run. You say you have a decent job and I guess you want to stay in it. I nearly lost mine and I'm still not sure how long I can hang on to it. And now I am sober, very few people believe I am no longer the famous piss head of yore. The legend has stuck and I don't think I will ever shift it. I suppose if I did a geographical and moved away and into other employment I could at least partially escape the stigma, but I'm too long in the tooth for all that.

People like yourself who realise they have a problem with drink and drugs at a relatively tender age are in quite a good position. You are young enough and sensible enough to do something about it, before it starts f**king up your life. Listen to what the other members have said to you, and pay particular attention to Bupster's comments. Choosing your friends wisely is terribly important. Why are the naughty people always such fun to be around ? But you can have just as much fun spending your time with a different bunch who don't get hammered every Friday night.

Mike

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