Day 88. Two fat ladies!
I was thinking yesterday about what advice I would give for friends and family of the newly sober. Here it is. Let me know if you agree/disagree, or what you would add...
If I tell you that I'm not drinking, please accept it. Don't quiz me too hard on the whys and wherefores. I may not be ready to tell you yet. And don't keep offering me drinks. Saying 'no' once is hard enough!
If I say I'm 'on antibiotics' or 'driving home', don't question it, for the time being at least. Above all, do not use the A word (alcoholic) unless I do first, and even then - with caution.
If I do eventually pluck up the courage to tell you that I have a problem with alcohol and have stopped forever, please don't query that decision. Don't tell me I'm 'perfectly ok' or that 'it's fine to have just one.'
Please, please don't try to persuade me that moderation is the best way forward. I already have a voice telling me that constantly (I call her the wine witch), I don't need yours as well.
If I do manage to confess the details of my drinking past, try not to look too shocked. Don't judge me. I can do that myself. I'm looking for empathy, not criticism.
Don't exclude me from invitations. If I'm uncomfortable at a social event where people are drinking then I won't come. Or I'll come and leave early. But the last thing I need right now is to feel like Norma-no-mates. A pariah. I have enough to deal with.
Don't feel bad about drinking in front of me. If you can take or leave alcohol, then I'd prefer you left it. But if you need it, then carry on. I don't want to feel guilt that I'm ruining your evening on top of everything else. And I won't judge you, however much you drink. I'm the last person in the world who'd do that.
If I've been a bad friend to you in the past, please try to forgive me. I beat myself up far more than you ever could. And I'm doing something about it. If you can stick with me I'll be a great friend in the future.
If you do worry about your own drinking, tell me. For as long as you like, in as much minute detail as you want. I LOVE talking about the evils of alcohol, and it's great to find another soul mate. I won't try to persuade you to quit before you're ready, but I've been there, I can help. I know what I'm talking about.
If you want to know what's really been going on in my head then read Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story.
If you see any positive changes in me then please tell me! Am I thinner? Is my skin radiant? Am I better company? Do I look 5 years younger? Do I have great hair? You can even fib a little bit. I need some encouragement right now.
Give me a hug. A big one.
And, when you are ready, join me.
Love SM x