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Stop Drinking Alcohol in Front of an Alcoholic, Please

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:04pm

As a psychiatrist specializing in addiction, I treat a number of people with alcoholism (alcohol dependence). A number of my patients starting in drug and alcohol recovery are reluctant to be in a situation where he/she is around alcohol or drugs.

If you think you (or someone you care about) are drinking too much,  click here to readmy free guideabout the symptoms of alcoholism toassess if you or a loved may have an alcohol problem.

Often people in drug and alcohol recovery make conscious decisions to skip parties or social events and not put themselves in a position “to slip”. However, family dinners, dinner with 1 or 2 friends are a different matter. A common concern is how do you handle the drinking habits of one’s spouse, parents, or close friends when you are trying to stay sober. In other words, do you ask people to alter their drinking habits in front of you because of your addiction? Isn’t it rude to ask someone not to drink a glass of wine at dinner because you can not stick to drinking just one glass?

No, not at all (in my opinion)! You are worth it and your recovery is worth it. It is fine to ask a person close to you to help support you in your sobriety.

Here is what I tell my patients. It is a sign of consideration and a show of support for your recovery for those close to you not to drink in front of you. I do not think a spouse should have a glass of wine in front of his/her alcoholic spouse and parents should not drink in front of their alcoholic son or daughter early on in his/her sobriety. Close friends should refrain too. If any one asks your “permission” to drink, give that person an honest answer. If you are not comfortable seeing that person drink in front of you (even if the reason seems petty), please speak up and guard your sobriety. I have seen too many patients relapse after being tempted around a friend or family member drinking alcohol in front of him/her. Saying what is on your mind is critical for your recovery.

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