I thought a while about these. Now, keep in mind, they do not apply to everyone. Some people may not care about some of these things being said to them, but I think they shouldn’t be said to a recovering alcoholic. I looked back at the last 2 years of my sobriety and thought of the things that upset me. Maybe you can relate. If you think of anything, let me know in the comments section.
I think I might be an alcoholic?
Only you as an individual can answer this. Sober people can only offer their opinion. It is 100% up to you to determine if you are an alcoholic or not. Remember, admittance is the first step to recovery, no matter what program you choose to follow. I canât count the number of times someone has asked me to diagnose them as alcoholic. Just because we are sober doesn’t mean we can immediately tell you if you are an alcoholic or not. If you are to the point where you are asking others if you are an alcoholic, you may want to meditate,Â pray, whatever your belief system is, and figure out if you are or not. You are obviously asking for a reason.
Can’t you just drink less?
Now, I know not everyone understands what alcoholism is or how it works, butÂ this question is so rude. We quit drinking for a reason. If we could handle ourÂ alcohol consumption, we wouldn’t even behaving this conversation. No, we cannotÂ just drink less.
Do you think _______ is an alcoholic?
No, just like I canât tell you if you are an alcoholic or not, I sure as heckÂ canât tell you if some third party you are asking about is either. There is aÂ lot wrong with this question, aside from the obvious. You are also spreadingÂ someoneâs business and not allowing them to tell people on their own, if theyÂ are in fact alcoholic. If you think someone is an alcoholic, sit down and talkÂ to them. Tell them what you think without being accusatory or automaticallyÂ labeling them an alcoholic. There is a lot that comes with that designation, andÂ you donât want to use that word for nothing.
One drink won’t kill you!
In fact, one drink could kill an alcoholic. It can kill them immediately or itÂ could kill them in the long run. We quit for a drinking and decided to admit weÂ had a problem with alcoholism for a reason. This means we canât drink anymore.Â That one drink could send us into a bender or a lifetime of drinking more. WeÂ quit drinking because we couldn’t control our alcohol consumption. This would beÂ like asking a recovering crack addict if they can handle just one more hit. NotÂ only is this question rude, it is basically saying you donât believe or trustÂ your friend since you are questioning them.
If you don’t drink for fun, what do you do then?
If you rely on a drink to have fun, then you might have a problem. A huge partÂ of recovery is learning and exploring different ways to stay happy. We haveÂ learned to have fun without outside stimulation. It is very difficult to do, butÂ we did. This isn’t to say we donât think about the drink frequently, we justÂ know that the only way we can continue to be better people is to not have aÂ drink for the rest of our lives.
Do you care if I drink?
No, it is your life and your decision. You donât need an alcoholicâs approval toÂ drink around them. Just because you drink in front of us doesn’t mean we willÂ steal your drink from your hands and chug it. The last thing anyone wants, whoÂ is having to make a major life decision, is to feel like their friends andÂ family canât be themselves around you. Be you. If we have an issue, we will sayÂ something. Donât change yourself for us. We are changing ourselves for you!
You quit, for good?!
Yes, we are alcoholics. We canât stop and start and stop again when we please.Â We are sober for life. Although we may have relapses, our goal is to quitÂ drinking for life.
You’re not an alcoholic!
I didn’t realize we shared a brain! Telling an alcoholic that you donât thinkÂ they are is along the same lines as saying one drink wonât kill you. You donâtÂ know what it took for us to get to the point where we admitted we had a problemÂ with alcohol and where we are in our lives right now. If someone says they areÂ alcoholic, trust them and donât question it. If you tell someone who isÂ struggling with the beginning stages of sobriety that you donât think they areÂ an alcoholic, they may latch onto that and question it and continue drinking.
Hold my drink.
No! I will not hold your drink. I donât drink, Iâm not going to babysit yourÂ drink for you. If Iâm holding it, I might take a drink. Sure, we build up aÂ respect for our disease and manage it the best we can, but thatâs like danglingÂ a carrot in front of a horse, or putting a crack pipe full of drugs in the handÂ of an addict. You are basically setting us up to fail. It very rude andÂ disrespectful.
I don’t understand alcoholism.
Thatâs fine, we donât expect non-alcoholics to understand this disease. The onlyÂ people who can truly understand it is the alcoholics themselves. You may haveÂ someone very close to you and seen their struggle for sobriety, but you donâtÂ see it from their point of view, as the alcoholic. Itâs very different on theÂ other side. What we can do is try and tell you as much as we can about ourÂ disease as we know it, what we are doing to make ourselves better, and how youÂ can help us achieve it.
Now, as you can see these are personal pet peeves. They also go within certain contexts of conversations.
Do you really dislike hearing a certain phrase uttered to you? Share it in the comments below. Please also explain the context of the phrase so that we can easily understand it.