Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Dear Friend....

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...

Dear Friend,

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

18 comments:

  1. I love it! I agree with every word. I told a close friend yesterday I am no longer drinking. I felt comfortable telling her because she hardly ever drinks. Thankfully she didn't ask me any questions about why I stopped, but she was very positive and encouraging. We talked about how to handle social events and she was great. I am reading a novel right now I think you will LOVE! She is like us. She worked herself up to 2 bottles a day......it is by Amy Hatvany and titled "Best Kept Secret - A Novel". Not to be confused with Gabrielle Glaser's book with a similar title. Thank you so much for writing every single day. It really really helps. It has become more important to me that my morning coffee, and I really need my coffee!

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    1. I'm going to buy it! Thanks for the reco x

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  2. I'm not quite there yet as only on day 17 and so far haven't really told anyone my long term intentions to stop altogether (except hubby who just thinks it's odd). When I mentioned that I'll drive to upcoming family birthday dinner some family members were disappointed and saying 'no! not you! We need you to have a few drinks with us' etc etc. I just laughed it off but am not ready to face telling yet. Partly because I'm afraid I'll fail and partly because I don't want anyone to feel bad about their drinking. It's a minefield and your blog was very honest and open and, as ever, gives me hope and strength xxx

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    1. Yay! Day 17! You're doing great x

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  3. The only thing I would add is that sadly, we all may be saying 'goodbye" to those people who were never friends, just drinking buddies. I plucked up the courage to tell someone that I wasn't drinking, and I was unprepared for.....anger! Then I realized that we never really had much in common except wine. So many congratulations on Day 88 (Two fat ladies! - some of your references make me feel we might be related...lol)

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    1. I've had anger too! But only from someone whose drink problem is worse than mine! It's because you make them confront their own demons....

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  4. I love it.
    I started this by declaring I was giving myself a year off drinking for my 42 birthday. Most of my friends scoffed, but they were wrong.

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    1. So wrong! Look at you now, my angel of serenity! X

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  5. This is good. I honestly think most people would accept and support your decision, in my case i just say i was getting to used to using drink as my source of relaxation (numbing out after a day of the kids etc) and that drinking at home is dodgy, which can only go one way. Everyone agrees! Pretty much any middle age women who drinks wine at home is in the same boat IMO xxx

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    1. You are so right about drinking at home. I'm sticking that fish in the aquarium....

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  6. "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"
    SM, lovin' you is easy cos you're beautiful...do do do do do dooo, la la la la la
    Brilliant, am going to tattoo this to my face! (bit too stalkerish?)...Thank you!

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    1. Aw shucks. I love you too mtts x

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  7. Thank you SM, brilliant and just what I needed to read today. Congratulations on two fat ladies, you're a star! X

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  8. Dear SM,
    For sure.
    I was so lucky, that my friends didn't give me any problems over the fact I quit drinking.
    I am so supported!
    Hugs on Day 88!
    Wendy

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  10. Greetings from the US! I am late to the party, but recently found your blog through the blog of another (KaryMay). I started reading from the beginning chronologically. Bingeing is my nature, but I've decided to take it slow and truly absorb your experience reading your entries a few at a sitting. This entry absolutely made me cry! You have spelled out all of that awkward dialogue that plagues my OCD/angst-ridden mentality. I may actually surrender and send that wine witch, or vodka voodoo priestess in my case, to her rightful place.

    I have made some progress with this business, but I'm just dancing the inevitable dance on a merry-go-round going nowhere. This I'm starting to admit and acknowledge.

    THANK YOU, SoberMummy! I can't wait to see where you are today...in due time.
    XO

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  11. Oh I love this. It really says it how it is in the best way possible. Thank you x

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