HELLO FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS,
Just wanted to pass on some important information we all may need to be aware of and help share and spread the word on Recovery Ramblins!!
Be Mindful of Your Significant Other
If you are super committed to getting sober, you’ve made your own personal recovery plan, and you’ve told others about your plan it can be a very scary but also an exciting and hopeful time. Your significant other could react a number of different ways to your sobriety with good reason and it’s good to be aware of what they might be feeling too.
When I got sober I certainly wasn’t thinking about my husband, because I didn’t have it in me. I could not think about much else than getting sober. Sobriety was my number one top priority and I knew at the time that I would come around and we’d start to work on healing our relationship.
I basically put my relationship on the back burner and holed myself up in my house for the first 8-9 months. I read a lot of books, I played a lot of Words With Friends, I spaced out, I took naps, and drank copious amounts of coffee and hot tea. That was pretty much my life.
As for my husband, I was pretty much thinking he should have been kissing my feet for doing something so difficult, he should be thankful, he should love me for my courage, he should be proud of me….blah blah blah, and our marriage should miraculously be healed because I was sober and that was our only problem right?
My husband was feeling just as many emotions as I was but for totally different reasons. Since that time I’ve learned he felt afraid of the many changes he knew were coming. I’d been consistently drinking for about 13 years, our relationship was centered around booze in a weird kind of way and it affected him greatly. Of course it did!
He felt afraid of who I would become
He didn’t know who the hell I was sober anymore than I did. I remember asking him if we would still like each other after we got through the first year. I know he had more fear about that I did though about that, his personality wasn’t going to change, mine was!
He was on “alert” all of the time
He was waiting for me to come home with a bottle of wine, or come home drunk. He didn’t admit to that often but I know he was very anxious. One night I went to feed our dog and put the dog dish on the granite counter top in the kitchen with a big “clank”. His head SPUN around so fast see what I was doing. The clanking sound reminded him of a bottle of wine hitting the counter top. That is how ingrained my drinking was in his mind and in his life.
He wasn’t all too keen on changing our lifestyle
When I quit drinking I stopped going out to parties, I stopped hanging out with the guys on poker night, I stopped going to the horse races in the summertime, camping with friends, party vacations to Vegas, all of it. He’s a very extroverted guy and he needs that social contact with as many people as possible as often as possible and I put a complete lid on that.
The moral to the story is your sobriety and self-care must take top priority for a as long as it takes, there’s no question about that. But also be mindful of your significant other, be gentle because their lives will also change and they know it. They have been dealing with a lot of alcohol induced horse-crap possibly for many years, give them space and room to begin their healing process too.
You’ve quit drinking and that is awesome, but I’m sorry to say that does not mean your relationship will magically go back to the way it was before you started. Be patient.
Early on in recovery you will be faced with the question (Duh….dun dun) do I tell people? Or do I keep it to myself?
When I quit drinking I told my husband, my two daughters, my Mom, my best friend, and one co-worker, only my inner circle of influence. I remember thinking at the time “If I tell people I quit drinking they will know I have a problem!” UGH! Who wants to openly admit to having a drinking problem? I certainly did not!
I know this is cliché but had I known then what I know now, I would have told the world without shame because there is no shame in it.
I drank just like everyone else when I first started drinking in my 20′s but my body and my brain reacted differently than most people. My brain said OH HELL YES, give me more of that, and my body forgot to give me the off the switch that says “I’ve had enough wine for tonight”, my switch was duct taped to the “On” position.
I developed a problem, but I didn’t create a drinking problem for myself intentionally. No shame.
Here’s a list of pros and cons of telling everyone in your circles that you quit drinking. It’s a list for those people who are committed to quitting. If you aren’t 100% committed just yet, the Pros will feel like Cons to you and it will be a list of all Cons!
When you quit drinking you need all of the support you can get. I was surprised at the support I received from folks I never expected it from. I was also surprised at the lack of support from some folks I was expecting it from. It’s a bit of an eye opener, it will all work itself out if that does happen to you.
The more people you tell, the more people know, and the more people that you know that know. Aha! That takes the sneaky factor out of it. You can’t tell only one group of friends, but sneak off with a different group of friends to drink, while the first group of friends is none the wiser. See what I mean about commitment?
If everyone knows you’ve quit drinking, in social situations it’s safe to assume that no one will offer you a glass of wine. At the beginning you might get the opposite, a bit of extra special care. You might even show up and no one is drinking because they want to support you. When you keep your sobriety to yourself you have to deal with life while withholding something pretty important. You’ll be saving yourself many awkward moments and uncomfortable situations if it’s out in the open.
Vulnerability = Love
Sometimes we need support and help from others. We women especially find it difficult to reach out for help, but when you quit drinking it’s a big deal and it’s worth it to reach out. Drop the Wonder Woman mode and just say “Dammit people, I need support and help because I really want this”, it will come, and you will feel loved.
You may find when you tell someone you’ve quit drinking they will surprise you by saying they also had a drinking problem and they quit. Or maybe they’ll say that they are thinking about quitting too because it’s become a problem in their lives. Now you aren’t so alone in it, and you just might become an inspiration for others.
Society doesn’t look upon people they label “alcoholics” and/or “addicts” in a fabulous way. There is a definite stigma like you are damaged goods or scarred for life or something. It’s like people have a hard time looking at you as a whole human being, as if there’s a sign on your back with an arrow pointed to your head that says Ex-Drunk up in here! Watch out!
You’re looked at like some kind of caged animal who wants to break free, beat the crap out of everyone, and run to the nearest bar at any given moment. Ridiculous I say.
You don’t have to label yourself if you don’t want to though, it’s your call. I stay away from labels as much as possible. I’m much more than my old drinking problem. And that’s what I call it, my drinking problem, or I use alcohol dependency when I’m writing my blog. I stay away from labels that define me, most labels are defining and limiting. My alcohol problem is not who I was….or who I am today, I’m a human being who fixed a problem in my life and that is all.
I can’t think of a single other reason not to tell people you have quit drinking besides the stigma.
Telling people you’ve quit drinking is up to you, however I guarantee the more people you tell the easier it will become, and the more you’ll open yourself up for wonderful healing, new relationships, and new opportunities.
Back when I quit, if someone told me I would be telling the world on this blog about my drinking problem I would have peed in my pants! But here I am telling people I used to drink a lot, I developed a problem with it, and I stopped, there’s no shame in THAT!….
**Now you know why I love her so Much!! I hope you will stop by her Website at: http://www.rekindlelifecoach.com and sign up for her Awesome News Letter! Tell her Author, Catherine Lyon sent YA!!**