Holiday Drinking – A Danger for the Newly Sober?
Readers often write to ask about situations a blog post or article reminds them of. Here is one of those letters, reprinted with permission and the names left out:
I read your article about Early Sobriety. My partner has been sober since January. He comes from a family history of alcoholics.
He recently told me “Easter is coming and I want you to know it’s difficult for me with being sober” so I began to worry. So,when we are around his family or friends they talk about his past drinking and how he has phases of being sober.
We are engaged now and he knows he can’t drink cause we would be over. Only because of how he slipped on Christmas. He just was out of control.
I myself am sober and need positive people around me. I don’t get the urges to drink anymore as much so I just need him to get better…
I guess my question is am I supposed to express my feelings to him? About his urges I told him this morning “I worry about what you told me the other day about Easter ” he said his sobriety is his not ours …
Should I just not be involved ?
Sad and Scared
Dear Sad and Scared,
Thanks so much for your note.
I can see how that one comment would be so frightening to you. I’d like to invite you to detach from it, even though it could, but will NOT necessarily result in a slip or relapse.
Your partner, just like you, needs to be able to speak his truth at any given moment. He is on a journey of discovering himself as a person growing in sobriety. This includes facing the obstacles of the past.
An apt reply could be, “Wow, that’s a challenge.” Or “Yes, I could see how that could be difficult for you.”
Sometimes when our demons are normalized by the people around us rather than grown into gigantic proportions, they have the opportunity to rise and fall just as any thought rises and falls.
(I remember driving by the drug store with my husband during his addiction and in sobriety. He still discussed the pull of the store in a joking way and it scared me so much. AS I grew, I learned to see his comments as just that: comments. Eventually, when we both had a good bit of recovery, we were able to discuss how what he said was affecting me. Until then, I had to do inner work to bring myself back to sanity regardless of the comments or where they would lead. This experience is common with a loved one. Dealing with it in a sane way, not so common and that is the work of family recovery!)
Your job in this relationship is to allow him to take his journey and simultaneously take excellent care of yourself as an addict AND as a co-addict. A tall order, but, as most people with years of sobriety will tell you, those co- issues come out sooner or later and require attention in order to allow for complete healing.
Let’s have a complimentary coaching session soon about how best to help you establish yourself as a recovering family member. The work is somewhat different than that of being a recovering addict and so life-enhancing!
I will ask my team to contact you to set up a time.
If you would like to learn more about how to manage the stress through the holiday season, learn more about how to interact with your loved one who is in early recovery, or may even still be using, join us for our “Support for the Holidays” LIVE webinars over the next 2 weeks. Click HERE to find a day and time that will work for you!