No Quarter – An Alcoholic’s Recovery: Week 8 – Telling People I’m an Alcoholic

I’m running out of excuses to not hang out with people.  It’s been two months since I’ve hung out with any of my friends outside of work; I haven’t done anything since I started sobriety – outside of hanging out with my family.

Frankly, I don’t know how to hang out with anybody without drinking.  Alcohol was the glue that held all my relationships together.  Without it, what’s left?

I’m wondering how best to tell people about the alcoholism and my choice of sobriety.  It’ll no doubt strike people as odd – especially from me.  I don’t think anybody’s ever seen me without a drink in my hand.  I’ve earned a reputation for being a fun drunk, the life of the party.  For me to suddenly go back on that and say that it was a problem will be confusing for people.

So how does one break it to people that all those good times were actual just the tip of the alcoholic iceberg?

“It was time to quit – I’m a father now.”

Pros: I’m a good dad, and a decent, selfless person who’s leaving the party-animal behind him.

Cons: Makes me sound like a sanctimonious asshole.

This is a decent start I guess, but honestly, it’d sound really out of place coming out of my mouth.  For one thing, I’ve been a father for over three years, so why is it just now a thing?  For another, so what if you’re a father?  My dad drinks… most people’s dads do!  And they’re all just fine.

Also, this has a certain holier than thou tone to it.  It’s like saying I don’t drink because drinking makes you a bad father.  Well isn’t that sort of a tacit condemnation of everybody who does drink and also is a father – which is basically everyone?

This one’s also tough since I’m still young enough that most of my friends don’t have children yet, so they probably won’t “get” it.

“I’m not drinking tonight… I have an early morning tomorrow.”

Pro: Completely sidesteps the issue – for now.

Con: Completely sidesteps the issue.

This could work once or twice to delay my having to tell everybody that I don’t drink anymore.  And it’s also the chicken-shit easy way which is always my preferred method.

Also, it doesn’t sound credible coming from me.  I used to drink until the early morning hours, then get up a few hours later and function just fine.  Early mornings have never bothered me in the past and everybody knows that – so why should they now?

At the end of the day, this is just a punt.  I’ll still have to address it at some point.

“I’m on this stupid diet and I’m not allowed to drink.”

Pro: Sounds plausible.  I could definitely lose some weight.

Con: Lacks credibility when I’m shoving 3000 calories of nachos down my face hole.

People love talking about whatever fad diet they’re on to lose weight.  Why not claim that I’m on some fad diet and that I’m not “allowed” to drink?

This could work, and would be a decent way to save face.  It’s perfectly acceptable for a fat dude to talk about being fat.  Shit, how many comedy legends are fat dudes who make a joke out of being fat?  Why can’t I do it?

The problem is this is also a temporary solution and one that’s doomed to fail because, let’s face it, I’m not going to stop eating Taco Bell and Reese’s Cups anytime soon.  Eventually it’ll become pretty obvious that my diet is a complete joke.

“I’m an alcoholic and I’m in recovery.”

Pro: Unambiguous and… well… it’s the truth.

Con: “Wow, can you believe that about Matt?  I never knew… Hey John, did you hear about Matt?  Yeah, can you believe that?  It’s kind of sad really…”

Yikes.  The truth?  Bold move.  By now you should all know that I’m too much of a coward to go with the truth.

I feel like as soon as I drop this bombshell everybody will think I am weak.  They’ll all just think I wasn’t mature enough to drink like the rest of them and keep my shit together.  They’ll think I’m pathetic.  And I’m not pathetic.

Worse, maybe they’ll walk on eggshells around me.  They’ll be thinking, are we allowed to drink and have fun around Matt?  Or will he feel compelled to start drinking and ruin his life?

“I stopped drinking because it started to become a problem.”

Pro: It’s the truth, and I don’t have to say the phrase “I’m an alcoholic.”

Con: “started to become a problem” is vague and open to interpretation.  Did you hear Matt’s drinking was a problem?  What’d he do, beat his wife?  DUI?

This one also has the benefit of truth to it, but it’s also wide open to interpretation.  And you know people love filling information voids with the absolute worst shit possible.  I can hear it now:

Did you hear Matt beats his kids?

He must have gotten arrested!

I thought he looked weird at work… he must have been drunk!

Fuck. That. Shit.

“I’m not drinking anymore and it’s none of your goddamn business why.”

Pro: Unambiguous and, again, it’s the truth.

Con: Combative and people will still come up with their own reasons.

Really, at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s goddamn business why I stopped drinking.  I have my reasons, and maybe they should just stay my own.  If they’re real friends of mine, they’ll understand.  And if they’re not, then why should I give a shit what they think?

Whatever I decide, it’s probably time to come out from under my rock…

On to week 9.

This is part 8 of a series.  The previous post can be found here.

Please like this post, it really helps!  Follow if you haven’t already!  🙂


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Bipolar husband, father, and professional. Author of blog - a place to learn about mental illness and yes, maybe even laugh a little.

11 thoughts on “No Quarter – An Alcoholic’s Recovery: Week 8 – Telling People I’m an Alcoholic

  1. Personally, I like the last one. =) It isn’t really anybody’s business and you get to choose when and who you talk about it with.
    Also, as somebody that has been on the receiving end of this type of big reveal more than once, I think you might find that many people say something like “Good. I was worried about you.” or ” Good for you.” or “Yep. I’ve known you had a problem for years.”
    If your friends have never really seen you without a drink in your hands, and they are truly your friends, many of them will not be surprised.
    I feel weird about saying all this to a stranger in a public forum but felt like I should, cause it might help. =)

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate it. Honestly, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of receiving positive feedback about it

  2. I second that ^^ People have already noticed unless they’re blind. A lot won’t understand, BUT you’d be surprised at how many of even those people will be influenced by your actions when they get their life together later down the line.

    Now turn off your darn pop-up ad. 😉

    1. lololol, it’s working! Don’t worry, if you X it out you won’t see it again 🙂 Something I’m trying for a little bit to see if it works… for science!

  3. Hi I’m Mike and I’m an alcoholic. 34 days sober. I don’t think that admitting you are an alcoholic (step 1) makes you sound like a “sanctimonious asshole”. Friends and family will want you to get healthy and those who don’t, screw them!

    1. I’ve got to learn the ability to let go of negative people… you’re right, if they don’t get it, then screw them! It’s just easier said than done. Thanks for reading, glad you’re getting sober too 🙂

  4. Yes I’ve faced the same issue’s in five cases alcohol, weed, bipolar,sex and turning back to Christ. I seen the devil hiding in them pushing them to make me feel bad for not doing the things i used to do as if i wasn’t already having a tough time of it. I seen them not even in there body’s while the devil had taken control of their body’s as they attacked me and waged war against me for what is ultimately my choice for me to have a better healthier life to be able to give my kids, grands, great grands and all of my offspring a better chance. By working on my addictions and illness i am trying to eradicate the addictive personality gene from my line and also show my offspring who will no doubtedly have these issues that it can be done and this is how. All those people who were temporarily used by the devil i prayed for knowing that they didn’t understand or know what was happening to them but i knew that in centuries to come that none of their opinions would matter only my offspring matters and so what I’m embarrassed in 2018 but 4039 maybe my offspring wont have these issues. Also I’m tired of all these brandings of different chemical imbalances, man called these illnesses or whatever but I’m just as God intended my brain i believe is wired for amazing things if this wasn’t true we wouldn’t have all the good things that geniuses gave to the world.

  5. I as well will go with that last one Matt. It’s really no one’s business what it is that you are choosing to do with your life – which is great by the way. Many will die because of the alcoholism. My husband hasn’t had to tell anyone he’s chosen not to drink. There’s really no need to. If someone offers you a drink, say, no thanks, and keep walking. You’re doing a great thing for yourself and your family, when you’re ok and sober, your whole family is ok.
    Hope you’re doing well and continuing your road in sobriety. Ana

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