Had an awkward situation with a friend last weekend and I have been thinking about it, as you do.
The evening last weekend went well until she was leaving with her half drunk bottle of wine, when she started lamenting over my not drinking again! I tried to brush it off with the usual, “oh, you know, I don’t really fancy it anymore and I am totally cool with you having yours etc. I even asked if I was a bit boring when I didn’t drink and she laughed and said “No, of course not, it’s just that when you drink, it makes me feel better. ” I mean she actually said that! I replied saying not to be silly and she could drink all she likes, sure wasn’t it the weekend etc. I don’t want my choice to make anyone feel bad.
Then as we said our goodbyes, me relieved the awkward conversation was over, when she started up again. “I really don’t understand why you don’t just have a few drinks. It’s no harm. ” I again, said something about it being really nice now that I didn’t have to think about it anymore and I was feeling healthier, getting tons done, work’s crazy, etc. I said that, for me, it was a bit too consuming and I feel more in control of my own shit without it. I reiterated, again, that she was she, and I am me and my drinking was always a bit different to hers. She left, I am sure, not really getting it or anymore understanding of where I am.
While I am trying to appreciate that I can’t expect her to fully get it, without a lot more honesty on my part, that is all I am prepared to share with her right now. It took absolutely forever and then some, before my husband could get his head round the inner side of this disease that I have. From the outside I suppose, I really didn’t seem to have a problem that needed addressing. Or, is it that society just doesn’t see that if you are showing signs of alcohol abuse, if you don’t always appear to have a handle on your drinking, then this is something to be taken seriously and really does need addressing. It always comes back to the both the stigma surrounding the alcoholic and fear of seeing something of yourself in the person with the drinking “issues”. By wishing I could just cut down rather than out, they are hoping the problem isn’t as big as it could be and therefore their drinking is not an issue either? *Sighs*
These kind of situations used to get me down a bit and make me want to retreat back into my sober bubble where I don’t get hassled. But, I have nearly 7 months sober now and I have worked through it, decided that absolutely none of that conversation was about me! I am happy with where I am, proud of how far I’ve come and my thoughts about the situation only need to be for me. That confrontation doesn’t change how I feel, how happy I am about my decision. Nothing has changed.
I have decided that if we embark on a conversation like that again, here is what I will say…
I used to drink way more than was good for my health. You drink too, sure, but you aren’t worried that it is damaging your health/life etc. I decided to address that the only way I could. Cutting down, is not and has never been an option for me.I’m just not programmed that way. Now, if I was to explain this scenario and we were talking about smoking, would you encourage me, wish even, that I would start smoking again? That’s how it is for me. It’s not you, it’s me.”