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Sober Among Alcoholics

When you are the only one doing something, it can feel like you are wrong.  Alcoholism is full of shame and self doubt, making it something not many people want to admit.  But what if you are the lone sober person in a family of alcoholics?  You aren’t wrong, but the people around you act like it.  Alcohol treatment has helped you out of a living hell, but you are worried you might fall back in.  It’s a sad truth for some people forging their path of sobriety.

Holidays and Gatherings With Alcoholics In Denial

How about receiving a gift of wine and wine glasses in the family gift exchange at Christma?  What happens when everyone breaks out their after-dinner drinks?  When you are in the alcoholic mode, this sounds like a great idea with built-in fun.  For you as a person maintaining sobriety, it’s appalling.  What are you to do? 

You can simply go and opt out of the gift exhange.  Or, you could bring a neutral small gift that anyone might enjoy.  It can be a tough call, mostly dependant on how much value you put on spending time with extended family and how you are doing personally with your recovery.

If family interactions are truly detrimental to you, or the presence of so much alcohol would be too tempting, then you need to decline altogether.  There is nothing to gain from putting yourself in harm’s way.  Whatever “points” you might lose by not being there would pale in comparison to a relapse or emotional abuse.

Family Interactions With Alcoholics In Denial

Now that you’re sober, you don’t feel so great about interactions with other family members who still drink a lot.  Plus, they finger-point because you have gotten in some trouble.  Is it fair?  No.  Even if they drink and drive, have drunk fights with their spouse, or make bad decisions when drinking, it’s somehow not their fault.

Finger pointing may make you feel like you are under a microscope.  However, blaming and scapegoating are classic forms of denial.  You are the bad person because you have become very different, stepped out of the family mold.  Who really likes to believe they are doing something pretty bad to themselves, anyway?  You are simply a lightening rod for the attention, which allows them to keep the focus off themselves and their own life difficulties.

Head For Alcohol Treatment Instead of Relapse

All this can make it seem like your sobriety is something kind of extreme.  Like maybe it really would be OK to drink sometimes, if it would make family gatherings easier or make them leave you alone.  If you are thinking this about your sobriety, consider attending more AA meetings and maybe even alcohol treatment.  It is no shame to voluntarily seek alcohol treatment, even if you haven’t relapsed yet. 

If you think your resolve is crumbling and your sobriety plans feel weak, alcohol rehab would be a better option than finding yourself in relapse again.  Relapse is for learning, learning about the blind spots in your life.  If you can sense you are nearing relapse, head it off at the pass by getting alcohol treatment now.  Don’t let any off-track thing your family says or does shame you out of your sobriety either.  You have been on the right path, and you still are.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.