Avoiding the First Drink
It probably came as quite a surprise to you (if you have noticed) that not many people are bothered whether or not you have a drink as alcohol is not of great importance to them. It is only us alcoholics who put it at the centre of everything and were obsessed with it. So though we worry in our early days out as recovering alcoholics what people will think of us for not drinking, or what they will do to try and persuade us to drink, this is usually a non-issue.
It was an issue for us because we felt better with people who drank a lot. It made our own drinking less abnormal. so we tended to mix with big drinkers when we could. Now we can mix with everyone. we find there is a new norm with many people not drinking and some barely drinking at all. It is a bit of an eye opener!
People Try to Tempt You to Drink
You may well come across someone who tries to tempt you to drink though. If you do, it is likely that if this person is so bothered about what you are drinking. It is because he or she has their own fixation with drink. You need to try and avoid people like this in case they pose a risk to you.
It is generally best if you tell people you do not drink as then in most cases they will not offer you alcohol and it takes off some of the pressure. This does not mean you have to share the full truth of the situation. You do not have to say you are a recovering alcoholic but can be honest by saying things along the lines of ‘I am not drinking now / today / this week’ or ‘any more’. Or we can equally honestly say we are not drinking for ‘health reasons’. ‘doctor’s orders’ . ‘it no longer agrees with me’. ‘I have developed an allergy to it’.‘I have had enough of it / enough to last me a lifetime’ etc.
Many people will not want to see you without a glass of something in your hand – and you will probably want to hold a glass – so find a soft drink you like. If that is not available. It is not the end of the world to hold a soft drink you don’t like so much and just sip it now and again or not at all. Just to feel comfortable with your hands. In a restaurant, turn your wine glass over or hand it back to the waiter to make space on the table. When it comes to drinking a toast. No one will mind that the liquid in your glass is not of an alcoholic variety; it is more about a sip to wish someone well rather than what it is we sip.
Difficult Situations in Early Recovery
Despite all this, there will almost certainly be times when you encounter a difficult situation in your early recovery. Mine was this: the first Christmas when I was not drinking arrived and I felt good and strong in my recovery of 4 months. My family felt less confident. I held the traditional Christmas party at my house and my eldest daughter phoned all the guests and asked them not to bring alcohol.
I was mortified and angry as I felt she was drawing attention to my personal situation and spoiling it for them. To be honest, as alcohol was not that important to them they didn’t mind and it did not affect their party that much. My reaction spoiled it for me. I can now understand my daughter was acting from love and concern for me and I can now see how early I was in alcohol addiction recovery. She did not know I was going to be strong enough and she was very frightened of me relapsing.
Now I have alcohol in my house at Christmas and I know I will not drink it. We can all enjoy Christmas, myself sober and happy, my family with a normal level of drinking (not much!). Live and let live!
If you have an alcohol or drug related problem. Please call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice and help.