Coming Out As an Alcoholic
Accepting the fact that you are an alcoholic and admitting it to others is a life-changing experience. Deciding that you finally want to stop drinking and begin a treatment program to get sober is the first step in healing and recovery from alcoholism. It is a wise choice that you will never regret.
Coming out as an alcoholic can be challenging and you will have to decide how you want to proceed in telling others about your secret. Some people have no idea what it is like to be an alcoholic and the struggles you face to get and remain sober. The more you open up to people, the more questions they may ask. Early recovery will be stressful and may leave you vulnerable and sensitive.
You may not be ready for a barrage of questions while you are in the initial phase of your recovery. During this time you may opt not to tell a lot of people, just the ones close to you that are offering love and support. Some people may not ask any questions at all and just offer support. You won’t know how people will react to your coming out news until you open up to them, so you may want to wait before you make it public knowledge.
The stigma attached to alcoholics being weak, immoral people is slowly starting to change. Eventually you will feel more comfortable about telling people that you are a recovering alcoholic. As you grow stronger psychologically and emotionally, you may no longer care about people’s opinions. When you are ready to come out publicly you will be able to announce, “Hello my name is _____ and I am an alcoholic.”
Once you have come out you will be able to talk freely about your disease. You will have the opportunity to reach out and help other alcoholics by inspiring them with your own story of recovery. Speaking to an alcoholic’s family members about the necessity for encouragement and support is also very helpful. You will find yourself a part of a great community of recovering alcoholics who will advise, aid and inspire you too.
They will also hold you accountable for your thoughts and behavior, which is a strong deterrent to relapse. Your support group is vital to your staying on track and maintaining sobriety, so do not neglect attending meetings. You should also speak with your counselor or sponsor often to discuss how you are progressing and if there are any issues you are concerned about. Remember that you need your support group and they need you.
You may find that there will be many changes taking place in your life. One of those changes will be letting go of people from the past that are not supportive of your sobriety. Some people are very selfish and may want you to be the person you used to be – the life of the party, etc. They may even tell you to your face that you aren’t fun anymore. These types of people want to be entertained by you at the cost of you literally hurting yourself with alcohol. Let them go and don’t look back. There are many worthy, wonderful people waiting to find a friend like you.
Being honest with people about your recovery can be tough, but it is the best option. Talk honestly with your employer about your disease and that you are in recovery. Most employers would rather know the truth from you than hear it from someone else who may twist the information. Once your employer knows the facts, and that you are willing and able to continue working, there should be no problem about losing your job. Coming out about your disease keeps you aware and in control of issues and events, and doesn’t allow for surprises.
Coming out as an alcoholic will take courage, discernment, psychological armor and a good sense of humor. As time progresses you will find that coming out gets easier; you have gotten beyond it and are busy building a new life for yourself.