how and what to tell. and whom. and when.
in the beginning i didn’t want any one to know. i had any number of stories. “i’ve quit drinking until I lose 20 pounds.” then i graduated to saying “I’m doing a self-discipline challenge, no alcohol for three months.” and people would be like “oh I could never do that. and I’d raise my eyebrows and say something like “well, I ran a marathon once, this will be easier I figure.” then people end up changing the subject to talk about THEMSELVES and they’ll talk about how they wish they could quit smoking, or run a marathon, or whatever…
i was honestly disappointed to realize how most people don’t really give a shit …
if cornered by an evil sister, a weird in-law, a boozing friend who just won’t fucking stop, then I would have just flat-out-lied and created something. Antibiotics is always good. Just say ‘yeast infection’ and that should shut everyone up 🙂 Or you can say “i’ve quit booze for a year, and i’m on month 7 now, i know you won’t give me a hard time about it. right?”
I’ve recently started saying “i’m taking a one year leave of absence from alcohol.” And when the end of the year comes up, if anyone remembers, which they won’t, then I’ll say “yeah, i liked it more than i thought I would so i’m doing more.”
And look, if you want to say something more, if you want to say you’re in AA or you’ve been to rehab, or you’re recovering or that you’re trying to recover… then say it. But me, i’m really supportive of you telling what you want, when you want, and how you want. and NOT telling if you don’t want to. I didn’t even tell my husband for weeks.
if you want to be a big version of some authentic you, then please … have at it. and if you want to be sober, improve your relationships, and not really tell your roommate from college why you look so good when you run into her at Starbucks, then I think you have every right to your privacy. there’s that big group with the word “anonymous” right there in the title 🙂 if you find security and comfort in anonymity, then I say great. if you want to take out a full page ad, that’s OK too 🙂
Actual email i got Sunday from a sober penpal: “Thanks for giving me a yeast infection!!!!!!!! Love that.” [and later] “Well, this yeast infection is a bloody godsend. I’m sooooo glad I contracted it! Easy peasy evening, felt so simple not to drink. I would normally have been blotto by 7 pm, talking shit. Now I just talk shit, sober.”