13 THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T SAY TO A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC & WHY

I’ve had an interesting 14 months in sobriety. When I think back to 12 months ago and how difficult the first 6 months were, I give myself a big pat on the back for sticking through with the program. Addiction recovery wasn’t an easy thing for me to combat, I was constantly bombarded with my demons and poison each time I stepped out of my flat. There were days I truly thought I’d never get through.

Then there were days where I’d muster up the courage to step out and be more social, only to be bombarded all over with insensitive remarks about my addiction. I came to the resolution that people fear what they don’t understand and this stems as far as religion, sexuality and  mental health, to name a few.

People also didn’t need to physically be around me to rub me up the wrong way in sobriety, I’d also get messages from drinking buddies from my past who questioned my alcoholism. If I came out as an alcoholic, then it meant that they were one also. But as you’ll see down in this post, I am not here to point fingers and identify anyone else as an alcoholic, alcoholism is a very private and personal disease that one identifies within themselves.

You can be diagnosed with alcoholism and spend the rest of your life doing nothing about it. 

Here are some rather stupid questions I’ve dealt with in sobriety, hopefully I explain why you should never ask these to someone in addiction recovery

“You weren’t really that bad!”

Do I really need to remember all the nights that I don’t remember?

NEVER tell someone in recovery that they were not “that bad,” it’s just insensitive and dumb. You don’t determine how bad someone was, you have no idea. For someone to go as far as to quit alcohol, it must have been bad, so don’t dumb down the situation.

I find this remark funny because 99% of the time after I’d left a bar, I’d come home and continue drinking until I blacked out in my bed and no one knew about it. I wasn’t going to message my friends and say I’d kicked on at my flat all alone because then yes, I would look like an alcoholic.

“But you can have one drink, that won’t hurt you…

one is ok, it’s not like you’ll drink the whole bottle…”   

Ah yeah, I probably will and that’s the reason why I stopped drinking in the first place. The thing about alcohol addiction is that you need to get over the fact that you need it. I remember at my first AA meeting, a lady the same age as my grandmother passed on her number to me and asked me to contact her if I was ever in a predicament of relapsing. The next sentence still haunts me, “…Because you know Adriana, we alcoholics can’t just have one drink…” Yep. I was in the right place because it was so true.

I had lunch with my cousins who were enjoying a bottle of wine between them. One of them said that they couldn’t finish their glass. I looked at her and said, “You know what I know right now? If I were still drinking, I’d have my glass, finish yours, then finish that bottle, then open up another one and it is only 2pm.” 

“Do you think I’m an alcoholic?” 

The way a recovering alcoholic doesn’t like to be questioned whether or not they are an alcoholic, someone else cannot determine your addiction for you.  You need to work it out for yourself because only then you’ll have the courage to make a change. One thing I will say though and it’s something I mentioned in my One Year Sober video is- If there’s a voice inside your heart telling you that you need to get sober, then you need to get sober.

“Hey do you want me to pour you a glass of wine?”

I understand people who have never met me will have no idea that I’m sober. I’m not referring to them in this point.  However,  if I’ve met you like 3 times and each time I tell you that I don’t drink and we have this whole conversation about it and then on the 4th encounter you ask me again, you’re a cunt.  End of story.

“How can you never drink again? Don’t you miss it?”

It’s a lifestyle change, like going vegan.

 Each person’s road to recovery is different. Sobriety to me meant choosing myself, not the version of myself that I thought I needed to be. I had to un-learn a whole bunch of old habits that made me a little uncomfortable but look, there is no such thing as progressing forward in your comfort zone.

 I have made some atrocious mistakes in my life but I am willing to move forward with a heart and mind that is sober, healthy and most importantly happy.

Do I miss drinking? In the first 6 months I did however after that I got over it and embraced my new way of manoeuvring through the world without my wine goggles on.

“Don’t you get bored?”

I get bored of the idea that I need to be under an influence to have fun.

“But what if your boyfriend drinks…”

I don’t mind if my partner drinks as long he doesn’t have a problem with alcohol.

“Am I allowed to drink around you?”

Yes, of course. Your drinking has nothing to do with my recovery. 

“I totally understand where you’re coming from…”

Unless your theory has actual substance where you too, are battling an alcohol addiction then no, you have no idea where I am coming from. If you don’t know what it’s like to drink sparkling water at an event pouring with alcohol all around you, then no, you don’t know where I am coming from. If you don’t know what it’s like to not have a drop of alcohol for more than 3 months, then no, you don’t know where I am coming from.

“I got sober too but now I only drink socially…”

*Silence*  Enjoy your gin and tonic.

“I don’t trust people that don’t drink”

I don’t trust people who don’t trust people.

“But you didn’t  look like an addict.”

High functioning addicts have one secret weapon, they know how to normalise the path of self destruction.

“Aren’t you scared that you’ll relapse?”

When I first got sober, I used to have nightmares about relapsing that were so intense, I literally had to recap the night before and remember what I did. Each time, I was in bed at 10pm. They really scared me and made me see how important my sobriety is to me. There is nothing and no one that is more important than keeping this sobriety. I take it day by day and have started to go to AA meetings to help me remember why I stopped in the first place and understand my addiction further. Understanding as being a detrimental part of my success so far. Instead of running away from it like I have in the past, I am facing it all head on.

What are some of the questions you’ve been asked in recovery? How do you respond to them?

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