Answering questions about one’s sobriety can be a difficult and uncomfortable position. There can be many internal conflicts when faced with having to explain one’s abstinence from alcohol while also not wishing to delve into complex, sensitive, and highly emotional experiences. Responding to these inquiries and explaining one’s focus on sobriety is a complicated and personal choice, and there are a number of ways that such a topic can be approached.
However, it is up to each individual to decide how to address the topic, how much detail to provide, and how to gauge the amount of information to divulge.
Assessing the Situation
Being confronted about one’s sobriety is often the result of being around alcohol. Those who choose to remain sober may have to deal with these questions when out with friends or in high-risk situations, and it is important to know how to handle the situation and what coping strategies to employ.
While some people will not pressure an individual to engage with alcohol and are merely curious about why a person isn’t drinking, others may have limited knowledge of the recovery sphere and have predetermined misconceptions of what words like “addiction” and “recovery” entail. When being asked about one’s choice or being offered to engage with an addictive substance, it is important to remember that nobody is owed an explanation. One’s choice to remain is their own, and there shouldn’t be any need to justify one’s decisions if such a topic isn’t ready to be discussed.
If an individual doesn’t respond in a supportive way to one’s sober choice, it can be better to simply remove oneself from the conversation in order to continue prioritizing one’s own wellbeing and manage any stress. One’s reasons for maintaining sobriety can be a very personal journey, and it isn’t necessary or required for any individual to explain themselves.
Deciding How to Approach the Question
Answering the question doesn’t have to include a long backstory on one’s experiences with any addictive substance. Such recollections can often come packaged with feelings of shame, guilt, or stress–all of which are things one may wish to avoid. Rather, finding simple answers can often help prompt a change of subject.
Stating that one simply has a bit of an upset stomach already, that alcohol doesn’t mix with a medication, or that someone has to go to work early the next morning can all be reasons for an individual to avoid drinking. Using these kinds of reasons, especially with individuals with whom one does not frequently associate, can help divert the conversation elsewhere.
Likewise, if an individual is out with friends, they can be joining as a designated driver. Not only can this role provide a great responsibility and additional reason to prioritize one’s sobriety throughout the night, but it is also one of the most widely understood and accepted roles that an individual can play. This can help end conversations around the subject and even prompt an individual to garner respect for their decision rather than having to field further questions.
Such approaches can be essential when dealing with someone who may not be a regular part of one’s life. However, one’s reasoning for not engaging in addictive substances can change if an individual becomes closer friends with an individual or repairing familial relationships.
Divulging the Truth
Telling someone the truth about one’s situation can be a difficult and vulnerable situation to be in. However, there are some advantages to telling someone at least a little bit about one’s history with an addictive substance.
Such a history can help deepen relationships and help educate friends and family members into becoming active supports, strengthening one’s sober network. However, choosing to divulge the truth and explore one’s history with addictive substances with another still comes with a great deal of vulnerability and doesn’t have to be done at any particular stage in one’s recovery or have to be discussed all at once.
Choosing to discuss one’s past also doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair. Those looking to introduce the idea of recovery or addiction to another person can begin slowly. Answering questions surrounding one’s sobriety in these cases can be more introductory and may include responses such as “I used to drink, but I didn’t like where it was going,” or “I used to find it difficult to stop, so now I just don’t start.”
There can be any number of versions of these introductory answers, and if an individual employs one of these answers and then begins to feel uncomfortable with the situation, it is okay to decide that a change of subject is necessary. Like before, one’s decision to discuss the situation and how much they decide to tell is always up to the individual, and sticking with a simple excuse of “not feeling well” is always an option.
Telling someone why you don’t drink anymore can be a complicated situation, and there are several ways to approach the topic. However, learning more about your own recovery and relationship with alcohol is the first step to determining your own sober future. At Everlast Recovery Center, we take the time to learn about your unique situation and develop a plan that revolves around you and your individual needs and goals in recovery. Our home-like atmosphere allows you to relax and detach from unnecessary outside stress so you can focus on your own wellbeing and develop pertinent coping and life skills along the way. Our community atmosphere helps each individual support each other while sharing in both the successes and milestones in recovery and sharing strategies to help with the more difficult times. For more information on how we can help you take the first step in detox or to continue building on your recovery toolkit in residential care, call us today at (866) 338-6925.