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Hidden alcoholism to hidden sobriety

  • 14-12-2014 1:38am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4 hiberno101


    Hi,
    I've been lurking here for ages and it's really helped me get off and stay off the drink, off it 6 months now. I kept the level of drinking secret from friends and family which I'm sure is normal. I drank too much when out but way too much home alone every night (the secret part!). I would be known as a big drinker, but a lot of people I know are! Anyway, I was and still am very embarrassed about my alcoholism, this is the first time I have ever (kind of) verbalized it. I've never said it to anyone. As an alcoholic I was pretty functional but it had taken over my life, but quietly.

    The thing is that I then hid that I gave up drinking, partly because I didn't want people to pressure me to have a drink if (rarely) out but mostly I don't want people to know that I have a problem. I went as far as to get a sound barman on a night out (one of those nights where the pressure to drink could have been irresistible from friends) to secretly give me non alcoholic drinks. I've frequently found myself giving the impression that I have been out as per "normal" when talking to friends and family even though I rarely socialize. I realize this means that my friends are probably just acquaintances, but there you go. Xmas is coming and I'm going to be in more of these social drinking situations and don't want to do any more cloak and dagger stuff. The temptation is to withdraw socially, I'm only doing it to keep up appearances anyway. People just will not understand why I won't "have one".

    If anyone else has a similar story, maybe they could share how they dealt with it.


Comments



  • hiberno101 wrote: »
    Hi,
    I've been lurking here for ages and it's really helped me get off and stay off the drink, off it 6 months now. I kept the level of drinking secret from friends and family which I'm sure is normal. I drank too much when out but way too much home alone every night (the secret part!). I would be known as a big drinker, but a lot of people I know are! Anyway, I was and still am very embarrassed about my alcoholism, this is the first time I have ever (kind of) verbalized it. I've never said it to anyone. As an alcoholic I was pretty functional but it had taken over my life, but quietly.

    The thing is that I then hid that I gave up drinking, partly because I didn't want people to pressure me to have a drink if (rarely) out but mostly I don't want people to know that I have a problem. I went as far as to get a sound barman on a night out (one of those nights where the pressure to drink could have been irresistible from friends) to secretly give me non alcoholic drinks. I've frequently found myself giving the impression that I have been out as per "normal" when talking to friends and family even though I rarely socialize. I realize this means that my friends are probably just acquaintances, but there you go. Xmas is coming and I'm going to be in more of these social drinking situations and don't want to do any more cloak and dagger stuff. The temptation is to withdraw socially, I'm only doing it to keep up appearances anyway. People just will not understand why I won't "have one".

    If anyone else has a similar story, maybe they could share how they dealt with it.

    I don't mean to trivialise the problem you have (I'm in the same boat) but in my opinion the answer is simple. Just say you can't drink for health reasons. Be vague or be just be blunt about it and say your doc says you need to stop drinking. It's nobody else's business so if you want you can just say I'm not drinking and that's that...




  • So I gave up drinking in Spain. The first night we went out, my friends (spanish) were getting beers, and I just asked for a tonic water. They looked at me, and I just said I wasn't drinking that night. No more questions asked, it wasn't a big deal - they didn't even notice on the nights out after. I then started to look at THEIR drinking habits and realized that I had always been the odd one out. Some of them always had non alcoholic beer, another would start the night with a beer, sometimes end it with a beer and in between would be on Coke or water. The rest would sit and nurse one or two canas for the whole night. My GF and now wife has had alcohol 3 times in her entire life.

    I went back to Ireland for a visit, first night out with friends - I said no to a beer - it was the topic for the night, I was accused of bringing the buzz down and I ended up leaving early. I rarely talk to most of them now, they're quite happy on the same barstools telling the same stories, and they seem quite happy with me not being there. Last time I was back, i bumped into one of them and his exact response after we'd caught up was "so are ye still a dryballs"

    What I'm saying to you is...you have to be honest about your sobriety eventually - you may lose some people , but you may not. New years is coming up, no time like then to have "january off" and see how it goes.




  • I admire ur honesty and that's 1st step. I just say to friens I'm driving because of work or since I do jogging that keeping healthy etc. I'd also say AA would b a great support to u as well-being around people battling the same thing staying positive might give u guidance around handling situations. Keep up the good work I'm sure ur reaping the rewards!!!!happy Christmas




  • The few genuine friends/family I had when I was drinking are delighted that I don't drink no more,anyone that is not happy for me now I don't drink was/is neither a friend then or just an aquintence now.

    I wear my sobriety badge with huge pride :-)




  • Stop making excuses, if someone asks just tell them straight or they will continue to ask as the reasons you give were temporary (health, driving tonight, early start tomorrow etc.)


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  • GerB40 wrote: »
    I don't mean to trivialise the problem you have (I'm in the same boat) but in my opinion the answer is simple. Just say you can't drink for health reasons. Be vague or be just be blunt about it and say your doc says you need to stop drinking. It's nobody else's business so if you want you can just say I'm not drinking and that's that...

    I've used those excuses, in fact genuinely in some cases where normally I'd drink away on medication! Makes you think!! As for trivializing a problem, don't worry..I could have posted it to be clear but this issue I've posted about is not THE problem, the booze is. I'm just trying to figure out this new way of living.




  • So I gave up drinking in Spain. The first night we went out, my friends (spanish) were getting beers, and I just asked for a tonic water. They looked at me, and I just said I wasn't drinking that night. No more questions asked, it wasn't a big deal - they didn't even notice on the nights out after. I then started to look at THEIR drinking habits and realized that I had always been the odd one out. Some of them always had non alcoholic beer, another would start the night with a beer, sometimes end it with a beer and in between would be on Coke or water. The rest would sit and nurse one or two canas for the whole night. My GF and now wife has had alcohol 3 times in her entire life.

    I went back to Ireland for a visit, first night out with friends - I said no to a beer - it was the topic for the night, I was accused of bringing the buzz down and I ended up leaving early. I rarely talk to most of them now, they're quite happy on the same barstools telling the same stories, and they seem quite happy with me not being there. Last time I was back, i bumped into one of them and his exact response after we'd caught up was "so are ye still a dryballs"

    What I'm saying to you is...you have to be honest about your sobriety eventually - you may lose some people , but you may not. New years is coming up, no time like then to have "january off" and see how it goes.

    I used to have friends like that, moderate drinkers. I guess they got bored with me a long time ago!! I probably would have been the fella calling you a dry ****e in my own well meaning way too:-( Your right on January and all the other times. I have considered this for the short term.




  • Thanks for the replies folks. I guess I'll probably "come out" as a non drinker at some stage soon, but will keep my reasons to myself. The reality is that me drinking or not shouldn't be an issue when in company, but for some it will. In some ways I deserve a hard time (karma ha ha!!) as I annoyed lots of non drinkers in my time about their lack of alcohol. I know of quite a few former heavy "legend" drinkers who are now tee total, I'm beginning to look forward to openly joining that club.




  • I suffer from anxiety and depression. My g.p. Recommended that I give up alcohol aa part of a strategy to help me get a balance in my life.

    Been over two years since I last had a drink and I dont miss it. I have found that the people worth keeping in my life are very supportive and the wasters are better left outside my circle of friends/families.




  • Drumpot wrote: »
    I suffer from anxiety and depression. My g.p. Recommended that I give up alcohol aa part of a strategy to help me get a balance in my life.

    Been over two years since I last had a drink and I dont miss it. I have found that the people worth keeping in my life are very supportive and the wasters are better left outside my circle of friends/families.

    that bit. people who don't accept that you don't drink aren't worth worrying about. i've never drank. my friends know this, and have never bothered me about it.
    was out last night and got chatting to this one who asked what i was drinking. when she found out it wasn't alcoholic, she started saying how refreshing it was, since her ex was a very heavy drinker. then she tried to get me to drink whatever it was she had. almost told her to go f**k herself. the mentality of some people around non-drinkers is bizarre.


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  • that bit. people who don't accept that you don't drink aren't worth worrying about. i've never drank. my friends know this, and have never bothered me about it.
    was out last night and got chatting to this one who asked what i was drinking. when she found out it wasn't alcoholic, she started saying how refreshing it was, since her ex was a very heavy drinker. then she tried to get me to drink whatever it was she had. almost told her to go f**k herself. the mentality of some people around non-drinkers is bizarre.

    Unbelievable. I've had people tell me one minute, 'yeah, well done on 3 years off it' then immediately say 'but your not going to stay off it forever, are you?'.




  • I find the best reaction is to use a mix of hyperbole and sarcasm when the suspicion of your non-drinking comes up. You need to embarass the person asking.

    When someone asks why you're not drinking, simply tell them that you've tried it but the buzz has worn off, that you currently prefer to snort cocaine and you plan on moving on to heroin or crystal meth when that buzz wears off. The trick is to sound sarcastic and infer that booze itself is just a drug along with those you plan* on trying.

    *obviously you won't be doing it :)

    It's a similar trick to dealing with people who are blatantly racist.
    Tell them that your grandfather was of german heritage, that he was a member of the SS, hated the jews, the gypsies etc, how he would regale you about murdering them etc. That he is your hero, you get the idea. It shuts people up.




  • Since having lived abroad, I've realised just how abnormal the Irish attitude towards alcohol is. Another poster said his 'friends' accused him of being a dryballs because he didn't want to drink and there are so many people like that. I think honestly a lot of people have nothing in common with their friends other than getting drunk together.

    I had a massive fight last year with my partner which led to our breakup. It started when we were in the pub with his mates. I said I wasn't drinking and as usual, his mates (one in particular) started having a go at me about it, as they always did any time I said I wasn't drinking. Making me feel bad, guilty and anti-social. There had been several times when I'd been on antibiotics and unable to drink and this one guy had insisted it was fine to drink on antibiotics and bought me a drink even though I didn't want one, putting me in an awkward position. Well this particular night last year, I just wasn't in the mood for that sh1t. I was going through a rough time with my partner, I was suffering from anxiety and I knew that drinking would make me feel 100 times worse, so I just didn't want to drink. I agreed to go along to the pub so as not to be anti-social but said all along I wasn't drinking. I even specifically said to this guy not to buy me a drink, because I knew he would try it. He said 'yea yea no worries' and then a few minutes later, comes back with a giant cocktail for me, thinking it was hilarious.

    I said I wasn't going to drink it and they obviously thought I was messing, even after I offered it to everyone else. Half an hour passed and as they realised I meant it, they started to really have a go at me, basically insinuating that I was ungrateful for having been bought the drink and that I was a dry sh1te and uptight. I said there was no way I was going to be bullied into drinking when I had made it clear I didn't want to drink, and this guy got really angry, saying how dare I call him a bully. This time I didn't back down, because that's exactly what he was doing. Bullying me into doing something I clearly didn't want to do just to make him feel less of alcoholic because he was uncomfortable drinking in the presence of someone sober. My ex didnt back me up and defended your man, saying he was being generous....I don't see how it's generous, it's weird and pressurising.

    Anyway, we ended up breaking up over it. I still drink, but I no longer hang around with people who make me feel bad for not drinking. Nobody questions why I'm ordering a Coke or a sparkling water. I really want to cut down now in the New Year and go back to what I consider a totally healthy level of drinking (maybe 2 pints or couple of glasses of wine on a Friday/Saturday night) and I think it will be much easier without people like the above in my life.




  • MissNomer wrote: »
    Since having lived abroad, I've realised just how abnormal the Irish attitude towards alcohol is. Another poster said his 'friends' accused him of being a dryballs because he didn't want to drink and there are so many people like that. I think honestly a lot of people have nothing in common with their friends other than getting drunk together.

    I had a massive fight last year with my partner which led to our breakup. It started when we were in the pub with his mates. I said I wasn't drinking and as usual, his mates (one in particular) started having a go at me about it, as they always did any time I said I wasn't drinking. Making me feel bad, guilty and anti-social. There had been several times when I'd been on antibiotics and unable to drink and this one guy had insisted it was fine to drink on antibiotics and bought me a drink even though I didn't want one, putting me in an awkward position. Well this particular night last year, I just wasn't in the mood for that sh1t. I was going through a rough time with my partner, I was suffering from anxiety and I knew that drinking would make me feel 100 times worse, so I just didn't want to drink. I agreed to go along to the pub so as not to be anti-social but said all along I wasn't drinking. I even specifically said to this guy not to buy me a drink, because I knew he would try it. He said 'yea yea no worries' and then a few minutes later, comes back with a giant cocktail for me, thinking it was hilarious.

    I said I wasn't going to drink it and they obviously thought I was messing, even after I offered it to everyone else. Half an hour passed and as they realised I meant it, they started to really have a go at me, basically insinuating that I was ungrateful for having been bought the drink and that I was a dry sh1te and uptight. I said there was no way I was going to be bullied into drinking when I had made it clear I didn't want to drink, and this guy got really angry, saying how dare I call him a bully. This time I didn't back down, because that's exactly what he was doing. Bullying me into doing something I clearly didn't want to do just to make him feel less of alcoholic because he was uncomfortable drinking in the presence of someone sober. My ex didnt back me up and defended your man, saying he was being generous....I don't see how it's generous, it's weird and pressurising.

    Anyway, we ended up breaking up over it. I still drink, but I no longer hang around with people who make me feel bad for not drinking. Nobody questions why I'm ordering a Coke or a sparkling water. I really want to cut down now in the New Year and go back to what I consider a totally healthy level of drinking (maybe 2 pints or couple of glasses of wine on a Friday/Saturday night) and I think it will be much easier without people like the above in my life.

    Well done, MissNomer. The world needs more people like you!




  • MissNomer

    Fair play to you for standing up for how you feel.

    At a certain stage in life, the kind of peer pressure, particularly in relation to drink, is because some people drinking don't like how other peoples self control with alcohol shines a light on their own bad habit.

    I agree about Irelands relationship with drink, its extremely unhealthy.

    The last time somebody asked why I wasn't drinking when out I just said to them I suffer from depression and since drink is a depressant I felt it best I didn't drink anymore. Stopped the conversation dead.

    I understand it can be difficult in a group (when the conversation is between everybody and everybody is listening), but I find subtle honesty usually stops the questions or badgering. If it continues, I usually try to make the instigator as uncomfortable as possible through blunt honesty. You don't need to insult a person to make them uncomfortable.

    I also try to feel pity, not anger for these uninformed, ignorant people. I say ignorant not in an aggressive manner, but in an observational sense. These people (who try to force others into engaging in drink to make them feel better) simply don't know any better.




  • Just re above I live in Portugal and all I drink is green tea or sparkling water and never not once have I ever been quized or looked at funny when ordering above.




  • realies wrote: »
    Just re above I live in Portugal and all I drink is green tea or sparkling water and never not once have I ever been quized or looked at funny when ordering above.

    I go back to Spain 5 or 6 times a year - same as yourself. I don't get any strange looks for sparkling water or anything




  • I go back to Spain 5 or 6 times a year - same as yourself. I don't get any strange looks for sparkling water or anything

    i've got a fair few dodgy looks on my travels when just asking for water. the usual "but you're irish" nonsense was thrown in for good measure.
    having lived in england for 12 years, the locals were probably worse when it came to getting hammered than what i know of what happens at home.




  • I'm trying to think of it from one of your drunken friends point of view - what would you be able to say that they won't argue with, even when drunk?
    "I'm on antibiotics"
    "Stomach ulcer, doctor's orders"
    "I already had one one and I'm driving and almost got nabbed by Gardai after two beers once, I won't chance it again"

    To be honest you should just come out and say it, but not on a night out. Do it when sober, have a proper discussion about it then and there, and just remind them if someone asks again when drunk.
    Good luck!




  • I have recently quit drinking again, have previously been off it for two nine month periods in the past few years. I used both jason vale kick the drink, and Allen Carr, how to control alcohol. My friends have been supportive in the past but I was a bit embarrassed to be going off it "again" so rather than get into a big discussion, I have used the excuse of going off it for January. I am not into the whole get fit / detox for January stuff but it is working well as a cover story :-) I will just stay off it and be casual once January is over ! I agree that it can be very difficult to get through to people, and there is a lot of pressure on people to drink. As they say, alcohol is the only drug in the world that people accuse you of having a problem if you kick the habit ! No one would accuse you of having a cocaine problem if you quit snorting cocaine. Anyway it has been easy for me in the past but I am still in the adjustment phase so it is good to come to this forum to see how other people are managing the transition to being alcohol free. Best wishes to those embarking on a life of sobriety.


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