Have you ever felt like you’ve wasted your time, energy and breath trying to explain something to someone who just cannot seem to GET IT? And you wonder something like “How is it possible that no matter what I say, she/he just cannot seem to grasp it? How am I explaining this wrong? What else can I possibly add?!”
This is one of the bigger conundrums alcoholics run into when they first get sober. Trying to explain what cravings feel like to a non-alcoholic is maddening. Trying to explain what it means to need to protect ourselves from dangerous events or situations, where alcohol and drinking are abundant, can be maddening. Trying to explain how it feels to watch another person drink can be maddening. The non-alcoholic just doesn’t and can’t understand. They can’t identify. They can’t relate.
Someone might say, “Let’s go to a party.” And I say, “I can’t. I can’t be around other people who are drinking.” And this begins an epic conversation that dead ends with confusion on the person having to listen to me. They don’t get it. They don’t understand how great the temptation is to reach for a drink or how hard it was to get sober in the first place.
And that’s ok. They don’t have to understand. But if they also don’t or WON’T support me or respect my choice to avoid tempting situations, we have a problem. And usually we do have a problem because my drinking caused them to abandon their trust in me in the first place. How can I be trusted to know what I’m talking about regarding this when I can’t be trusted to know what’s good for me regarding anything else?
This is a major bone of contention between a lot of folks.
To those of you that are not addicts or alcoholics – please support your loved one when they say they cannot attend events or gatherings where alcohol is prevalent. Please respect their decision to leave the room if you choose to drink in front of them. The alcoholic is, most likely, only trying to protect their sobriety. The pull of the Black Hole that is alcoholism is beyond your comprehension. You don’t have to understand us. But PLEASE respect and support our decision to avoid being near alcohol and drinkers, even when that means you. Thanks!