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When Nobody Supports Your Decision

What If Nobody Wants You to Stop Drinking?

You are not alone if you want to quit drinking but your family and friends are against it. Many people worry about the amount of alcohol they’re consuming, and they’ve even read articles about treatment for alcoholism, but their loved ones tell them they are worrying about nothing. So how do you quit drinking if your spouse keeps urging you to join him for a cocktail or if your coworkers start excluding you because you’re avoiding alcohol?

You’ve Noticed a Problem. For years, you’ve been drinking, but you’re aware that you too often get out of control. You can no longer stop at just one or two drinks. You continue refilling your glass until you know that tomorrow’s memories will be hazy, and you’ll feel sick from your hangover. The people around you also like to drink: You and your spouse arrive home from your respective jobs, sit together at a comfortable place in your home, pour the drinks, and rehash your respective days.

But something’s not right. You are no longer interacting with your kids, because you don’t put down the glass long enough to spend time with them. So you encourage them to go to the next level of their videogames until it’s time to trot them off to bed. Maybe nobody at your job knows how much you drink, but when you drag yourself to work the next day you feel horrible. You’ve never been stopped for drunken driving, but you know it’s only a matter of time.

People, Places, Things. Most people who drink inevitably surround themselves with a network of family and friends who also drink. After all, teetotalers and party animals seldom forge solid relationships. If you have always enjoyed a few drinks here and there—at least for starters, until it gets out of control—then most likely you have cultivated friendships with like-minded people.

Drinking tends to run in families, and we’re not just talking genetics. Having alcohol available during holidays, birthday parties, and even at funeral wakes usually becomes part of a family’s cultural fabric.

When it comes to friends and coworkers, there’s often a core group of drinkers who stick together. There’s the Friday night stop at the bar—no “beer pressure,” but you’re no fun if you don’t join them for a couple tall ones. On the rare occasions when you attend a party and stick to soda with a twist of lime, people ask you what’s wrong. You’ve also heard them discussing who to invite to parties and you know that nondrinkers are generally excluded.

You know both family and friends who can’t leave it alone if you try to stop drinking. Some of them will bug you the entire evening. Even if you’ve managed to stay dry for a couple weeks, instead of congratulating you or—heavens forbid—emulate you, they’ll tell you that you really need to loosen up and have a drink.

Why Can’t They Leave You Alone? For many of them, the culture of drinking is so embedded that they can’t imaging spending time with someone who isn’t sitting beside them matching them drink for drink. With other people, they actually know that they should quit drinking but as long as everybody is drinking with them, it’s okay to keep it up.

Begin Your Journey. This is your time to stick with your guns and get some treatment for alcoholism. Some people have admitted that they simply stopped drinking and didn’t tell anybody, but it’s usually not that easy. You’ll feel better and have a greater chance of success if you reach out for help at an alcohol treatment center or look for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area.

Don’t assume that calling for treatment means you will automatically be locked up and ostracized. There are many wonderful treatment options available. Call a local rehab center and ask about them today. 

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