My wider family – mother, brothers and sister – were all very aware at the end of my drinking that I had a problem. Although there is no history of alcoholism in the family, my younger brother had already been down the road to rock bottom. He had got into recovery 5 years before me. When I finally acknowledged to him that I had a drink problem, he thought it was a miracle. It was a miracle that I had taken that big step. Sadly, it was to be a further 3 years before I got on a firm road to recovery. This was following a lot of stopping and starting. But, he was not to know that at the time.
My older brother took it as a bit of a wake up call to ensure he controlled his heavy drinking. That is where he remains to this day.
My sister, never a big drinker, still does not understand alcoholism or addiction. I do not think she has any wish to. She lives her life happily ignorant.
My mother went through a lot of worry about me but can now enjoy the fact that I am in recovery. I have given a lot of the time I used to spend drinking to her. We talk on the phone every night and I aim to travel around the world with her while she still can.
“There is no secret in my wider family about my alcoholism”
There is no secret in my wider family about my alcoholism. I will talk to any of them at all about it. Although, often it goes unacknowledged. My mother’s cousin caused some amusement last Christmas when he gave me a bottle of wine for my present.
It is good that this was amusing. Five years ago, this would have upset and worried my children. They would have guessed that I would drink it fast and the effects this would have.
My younger brother has chosen not to tell his children that he is a recovering alcoholic. I personally find this strange as I feel there is no shame in it. They should be aware as it can be a family trait. But, each to their own.
Many of my friends knew that I had got into a mess with my drinking. They wished me well when I went into rehab and came out the other side. I was not sure what to tell the ones I was less close to. Admittedly, I felt a bit awkward about it. For some, it was taken out of my hands when I saw an e-mail trail in which I was copied. It was an accident with the trail attached. In the email, my best friend was informing them all I had been somewhere to ‘dry out’.
I felt a bit upset by the ‘betrayal’ of a confidence at the time. But, I quickly let it go. Besides, it was helpful in some ways for it all to be out in the open.
I did not lose any friends through becoming abstinent. This, to me, indicates that none of my real friends were just drinking buddies. I did most of my drinking at home alone in the end. Losing so called friends can be the result of becoming abstinent. With drinking friends, this could be the case. If they cannot be with you without drinking, they either need to stay away from you or get help themselves!
If you have an alcohol or drug related problem, please call 01462 851 414 for free and confidential advice and help.