15 Mar
How to Stay Polite When Getting Sober

Today we have a special Guest Poster, who for reasons you’ll see below, wishes to remain anonymous. But we are hugely grateful to her for taking the time to pass along her wisdom. She is a true friend.

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

A new friend of mine is thinking of getting sober. I have been in recovery for almost 10 years. My friend is very quick to discuss her personal problems with her acquaintances, many of which are my close friends. I am nervous about her breaking my own anonymity (I am in one of those “anonymous” programs). How can I impress upon my friend that not only is it inappropriate to discuss her substance abuse problems with people she barely knows, but that she needs to keep my business private as well?

Signed,

In Recovery

__________________

Dearest Recoverer,

In keeping with the spirit of anonymity, I’m not using my name here. Just think of me as a formerly-drunk friend of the Mouthies who got sober in the pre-Zima days of big perms and shoulder pads.

First, congrats on your ten years on the wagon. That’s no small feat. It’s fantastic that you are reaching out to your new friend to try to get her some help. Regarding letting her in on what you see as “appropriate behavior” with spilling her hung-over guts to your pals, what’s appropriate for you might be different than what’s appropriate for her. Consider sharing with her the benefits you’ve found in limiting your self-gossip to the people in your program that share your struggles. Of course, what she decides to do is out of your hands.

When it comes to your own privacy, you can certainly ask Miss Chatty to respect your anonymous status with your mutual friends, but since she’s still getting her booze on you might want to keep your expectations low.

No matter what happens, she’s a lucky lady to have your support. High five, sister.

Sincerely,

“Anonymous” Guest TMH

6 Responses to “How to Stay Polite When Getting Sober”

03.15.11#1

Comment by The Flying Chalupa.

Ditto the Guest Poster – everyone’s definition of appropriate is different. Maybe blathering non-stop is therapeutic for her and cheaper than a therapist. But you do have a right to protect your own anonymity, and hopefully she’ll respect that and use your sobriety as an example.

Cheers! (non-alcoholic-beveragely-speaking)

03.15.11#2

Comment by StephanieG.

As the firstborn adult child of an alchoholic, I too commend you for 10 years of sobriety. WOW! I hope your kids have a better impression of you than I have of my drunk parent, who sadly, is five years in the grave now. But enough about me….

I agree about the free therapy. Some of us just suffer from verbal diahrrea, which is a symptom of not having appropriate boundaries. Your friend may fit this category.

Regardless of how she handles her own personal life’s details, she has no right to cross that boundary and share your private information with others.

I hope you are able to have an open, honest, direct conversation with her where you say you’re proud of her for what she’s considerin, but to keep her piehole shut when it comes to you and your private life.

As for the rest of her personal life, that’s hers to discuss, no matter how irritating or embarassing it might be to those around her.

I wish you continued success, and I hope if she finds it appropriate, that she can say she’s sober a decade from now!

03.15.11#3

Comment by Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up).

That’s always a tough one. When you help a friend by divulging your own weaknesses it can indeed blow up in your face. I am curious, being sober for ten years is quite an accomplishment. Wouldn’t be open about it be a great platform to help others?

amy Reply:

Kind of my thought too… Why are you so devoted to keeping your success in the closet? You are to be admired for facing your demons and conquering for 10 years!!

But, that said, if you wish to remain anonymous I would hope your friend would respect that.

03.15.11#4

Comment by VT.

Your close friends know, even if you don’t say it.

03.17.11#5

Comment by kokopuff.

This question totally confuses me…if the poster is anonymous, and no one knows she’s been sober for 10 years, then how does this “new” friend know about her being an alcoholic?

Pot calling the kettle black? Or is her new friend also from the anonymous program? Maybe she needs a quick lesson in what “anonymous’ means!

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