Family Understanding?

After nearly 60 days sober I feel great. The struggle has been, and continues to be, challenging but very rewarding. I’ve done it on my own and with the kind support on this platform. Just wondering if anyone can relate with this…I have a good relationship with my mother and sisters… I’ve mentioned how I’ve quit drinking several times and there seems to be two types of responses… 1) you’re drinking wasn’t that bad was it?…. 2) oh that’s good. As for their first response, maybe I was good at hiding it ( but I don’t believe that as they are very smart) or maybe they just brush it off because they don’t want to get into it… or perhaps they don’t care. Of course, the people on this platform know the difficulties associated with getting sober… so is this a common response among people, even close friends and family that don’t understand? Or perhaps I shouldn’t even care to mention it to them? I do because it is a big challenge and part of my life. I am also proud that I’m nearly 2 months in, lost the cravings and can keep this up indefinitely. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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If they are struggling to understand and you have nothing to gain by telling them about it there really isn’t a reason to talk about it proactively.

Sobriety in general is an awkward topic for those who do not understand. There is a big stigma towards it as well.

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Those are very typical repsonses you’ll get; neither carry any weight. You know why you’re getting sober, as long as you understand, that’s all that matters.

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Congratulations on 60 days.
I personally think from my experience that only those who understand addiction get it, how hard it is and how much effort it takes.
The response from family who dont get it which is most of them for me can leave me feeling rather like i dont matter but i cant spend too much time thinking about how i expected them to react and how they did because i will end up drawing a conclusion that doesnt nake me feel great. But i know im sober and doing well and that counts.

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My best friend had reaction number 1. She has drank with me before but I mostly drank by myself. Each night after work I’d have x amt of whiskey and turn around and go to work the next day. Not always hungover. I really don’t think most people in my life knew how much I drank. My sister did because I would go to her house and her husband and I would drink. He is a big man and I always tried to keep up with him (I couldn’t).
Now when I share my milestones my bf congratulates me. I even call her for support when I need it. My dad and sister too. I just casually mentioned it to my dad and he said he was happy for me. There’s a complicated dynamic there so I’m really happy that that was all he said.
Congratulations on 60 days of freedom!!

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I got a lot of response 1 from people. I think most of the above comments hit it spot on - if someone has never dealt with addiction personally or close to them they don’t really get what it can look like. You don’t have to lose your job, family, home etc to have a problem with drinking. Hell you don’t need to have a problem to want to quit! But society tells us otherwise…

You know what’s best for you - keep doing that. Accountability is great but sometimes you need to voice what support looks like for you. If milestones are important, say that and hopefully they’ll be stoked with you when you hit 90 days and beyond! We can’t assume people know what we need from them or there would be a whole lot less misunderstandings in this life :slight_smile:

Remember that we are all here for you too! :sunglasses:

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My mother had a similar response. She was not too impressed that I was working on quitting because she didn’t think I was an alcoholic. She has a picture in her mind that an alcoholic looks and acts a certain way and I did not fit her picture. It was pretty upsetting at first and felt like the umpteenth time that she was dismissive of my experiences.

Now it has been over a year of freedom for me and she has shifted to being more supportive. Perhaps she didn’t understand that this was important to me. Perhaps she didn’t believe I would stick with it through holidays, vacations, and family gatherings that are traditionally big alcohol events for me and for our family.

My mother is in her 70s and does not identify that her father’s death from liver disease was brought on by one million martinis, or that her brother spent the last several decades of his life with a glass of vodka. She has not recognized the significant challenges my brother faces or that my father was a raging drunk. So there’s that.

Our culture normalizes alcohol use, abuse, and dependency. So unless an individual examines that and learns more about it, a high functioning alcoholic may not be very recognizable to the people closest to them.

Congratulations on your excellent progress and keep moving forward. Every few weeks there is another level of freedom and joy and opportunity to live deeply in your sobriety. I still think about drinking every day and probably will for many more years. But I’m so grateful to be in sobriety that I will not give this up for a few minutes of inebriation. This is freedom!

I wish you the best!

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Wow, LAB Just mentioned exactly what I was going to say. In our culture in general and definitely in some families drinking is the norm. My grandfather drink himself to death and for years and for years at family parties my cousins would do a shot as a toast to him. It’s almost like recognizing your sobriety is recognizing that alcohol is actually a terrible drug. But also just like someone else said the person that matters most is the person in the mirror! Congratulations to you! And at the end of the day, we are really only responsible for our own actions. Great job!

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I rarely talk about it in my family, but my family has real history of alcohol abuse. It was always a hush hush topic. If someone got out of hand, there would be whispers of consequences, but then no one would ever bring it up again unless their behavior sparked more whispers. I have a cousin who I talk to because we both have struggles and think the secrecy is dumb, but that’s it. If you feel like you need your family to know, maybe just talk about your triumph of sobriety like the accomplishment it is. Hey, I slayed at work today and, oh, I hit my 60 mark being sober! Save the struggles for a family member or friend who gets it. Once my cousin and I had that conversation, it felt so liberating, but only because he truly understood.

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I totally get this. I tell people that I’m not drinking but don’t get into why for the same reason. I find it very frustrating so I just use this space because the people here understand. I agree with the other comments, regular drinkers just don’t understand sometimes even though they care about you.

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