How to Tell Others You’ve Quit Drugs or Alcohol
Quitting drugs and alcohol is a healthy, life-changing decision that affects everything from work and school to finances and relationships. You may be tempted to keep your choice secret or hidden away from others, but telling them that you’ve chosen recovery over addiction is a great way to improve relationships and maintain sobriety.
To effectively communicate serious and sensitive material, people need a plan. Regardless of who you’re talking to, you need:
- A firm understanding of your goals. Before you can explain yourself to others, you need to know what you want and why you want it. Decide what sobriety will look like for you and what they can do to help.
- A captive audience. Trying to have a serious conversation while people are distracted or disinterested is impossible. Let them know you need some of their time and all of their attention to state your case.
- Clear communication. With sensitive information, people tend to dance around the topic, rather than being direct and clear. Tell them about your sobriety, including what you expect of yourself and what you expect of them.
- Conversations, not lectures. Telling people about your recovery should be a conversation full of back-and-forth communication, not a one-sided lecture. Ask them questions and let them ask some back to improve understanding.
Telling Family You’re Sober
Telling your family of your sobriety is often welcomed news, but some family members may be confused, frustrated or even disappointed by your decision. Be sure to tell them why the choice is best for you and how they can support your sobriety.
Along the way, let them know what may happen if they begin to sabotage or disrupt your progress. This is not a threat, but a hope that they’ll work with you. However, when people do not support your health, you may have to exclude them from your life.
Discussing Sobriety with Close Friends
You don’t get to pick your family, but you do get to choose your friends. Choosing friends with similar views on substances will be essential.
Chances are good some of your friends are people who you used to use drugs or alcohol with, so you may have to end certain relationships. Don’t discuss your sobriety with anger, guilt or passing judgment on your friends. If they choose to continue using, you cannot control that, but you can accept them with love when they find sobriety.
Mentioning Sobriety to Acquaintances or Work Colleagues
Telling casual acquaintances and coworkers about your sobriety is a less challenging situation because it may not be necessary. If people did not know about your substance abuse, they probably don’t need to know about your sobriety. Rather than going out of your way to mention it, consider only stating your preference if asked. It is always up to you who knows about your personal life.
Sober dating is going to look, feel and progress differently than dating with addiction. The good news is that preference for drinking and substance use is a fairly common topic on dating sites and first dates. It can also help to have first dates in places that aren’t associated with alcohol or drugs: coffee shops, parks, libraries, movie theaters and skating rinks can be good options.
Tell your date about your sober status, and check-in with theirs. When views on substance use are not compatible, it could be time to find another date. If you’re searching, sober online communities and dating apps like Loosid can help you find like-minded people.
Broadcasting Sobriety on Social Media
Deciding to become sober is a monumental step, and many people want to shout their recovery from the rooftops and across social media. The process has risks, but it comes with many benefits. Sobriety and recovery are often misunderstood, so some people may judge you harshly or mock you for choosing sobriety. You cannot change others’ opinions, but you can enjoy the empowerment that comes from advocating for yourself. In the best situations, other people will support your decision to improve your health and lifestyle. You may inspire others to see sobriety as a possible choice for their future.