How To Come Out As A Recovering Alcoholic
Being an alcoholic means living with a lifelong disease. If you have gone through rehab or any other form of treatment and are now in recovery you have taken huge steps to get back control of your life and to treat your disease. Remember that addiction is chronic and that you need to treat it for the rest of your life. This means that it will always be a health concern for you. No matter how long you have been sober, a relapse is always possible.
With something so big going on in your life, it doesn’t make sense to keep it a secret from your friends and family members. So how do you come out and tell people? It will be scary at first, but know that your loved ones will support you.
Steps To Come Out And Tell People You’re A Recovering Alcoholic
Start slowly and take this advice:
- Start With A Support Group – The people who will be most sympathetic to your alcoholism are those who also struggle with the disease of addiction. Joining a support group is a great tool for maintaining your sobriety and a useful way to practice talking about your addiction and recovery. The members of your support group will be supportive. No one there will reject you or ridicule you. Tell your story here and you will start to feel more comfortable opening up to others.
- Tell Your Sober Loved Ones Next – The sad fact is that the friends with whom you used to drink may not support your new sobriety. They may take your admission of alcoholism as an accusation that they too have a problem. This comes from a defensive standpoint and denial on their parts, but for you it can feel hurtful and devastating. You can confront these friends eventually, but start with your sober loved ones. They are more likely to be loving and supportive of the changes you’ve made in your life.
- Arm Yourself With Information – When you talk to your loved ones about being in recovery, be prepared to educate them about the disease of alcoholism. Most people still have no idea what addiction really is, that it is an illness. Talk to them about your personal experiences and why you felt you had to stop drinking, but also about alcoholism in general. Help them to understand the disease and they will be better able to support you.
- Tell Your Friends And Family What You Need – It is also important that you provide your loved ones with details about what you need from them. It may be confusing for them. If you need them not to drink around you, make that clear. If you can’t meet up in a bar, make sure they know that. They will want to help, but will need to know how.
- Be Patient And Give Your Loved Ones Space – In spite of your best efforts, some of your loved ones may not take the news well. Be prepared to give them space if needed. The bad reaction will probably be due to shock. Provide them with resources about alcoholism and give them time and space. They will come back to you when they’re ready.
Telling people that you are an alcoholic in recovery is never easy. It is important, though, because your disease is a part of who you are. When you take the time to educate the ones you love and tell them what you need for support, you may be surprised at just how much support you receive.
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