How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Some alcoholics still have families when they get to AA. This is a place to ask questions and share experiences about relating to family members sober, especially when newly sober. (If you are not an alcoholic, please use the "Our Friends and Families" forum.)

How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby thegirlonthetrain » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:51 pm

Hello. I am brand new to the forum. I posted a message under Newcomers and got some helpful responses. In perusing the board, I found this section which got me thinking about this question. When and how do you recommend telling family members and friends? I have spoken with my sister, uncle and two best friends about my feelings regarding my drinking the last time I attempted sobriety. Both my uncle and my father are active members in AA (20 and 4 years sober respectively). I originally only told my uncle, sister and friends I was attending AA meetings. I then ran into my dads girlfriend at a meeting and she told him she saw me there! What happened to the anonymity? My relationship with my father is somewhat strained and I do not want to attend meetings with him or run into him at any. This will be the luck of the draw I suppose as he attends several meetings in my area daily. Anyway, since last attending, my dad will openly ask me to go to meetings in front of other family members that I never told any of my business to in the first place. He doesn't say it out of a place of concern.. It's more as if he's casually inviting me for pizza. "Hey wanna come with me to a meeting?" It's embarassing. I feel I should tell my family and friends in an effort to maintain some extra accountability but my friends were not very supportive last time and although they said they would support me, they did not take it seriously and seemed to think it was flat out stupid. I am afraid if I tell too many people and I fail, they will look at me differently and I will be permanently labeled as, "off the wagon/on the wagon".

Thoughts?
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Re: How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby Reborn » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:01 pm

As someone who used to have a strained relationship with his father and who's father is an active member of AA and attends the same meetings as me I know how you feel. First I would like to tell you that because I have worked the steps and try to practice the principles of the program in my everyday life none of the things you mentioned above effect me at all anymore. I say that because I want to encourage you to get into the action of the program as quickly as possible so you can experience the same freedom.

When I came into AA I was very ashamed that I had sunk so low...I didn't want anyone to know what was going on with me at all. I told a few family members and a few friends and told them to keep it quiet(which they did). However after a few months and a few uncomfortable conversations I just let the truth fly. To tell you the truth that was a relief...some of my "fair weather" friends made a joke of it but for the most part everyone just wanted the best for me. You see I created this whole facade and believed that noone really knew I was an alcoholic...most people knew. Those "fair weather" friends that laughed at me...most are out of my life now...it used to be so important to be accepted by these people...today its just different.

Me and my father have a great relationship today...it was difficult in the beginning but I was told early on that nothing changes if nothing changes...and sometimes that change is difficult. I'm very grateful that I swallowed my pride and just did what was suggested....I hope you do the same...welcome to AA!
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby thegirlonthetrain » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:48 pm

Thanks for your reply. It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone with this scenario. I appreciate you taking the time to get back to me. :)
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Re: How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby Reborn » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:07 pm

thegirlonthetrain wrote:... I am afraid if I tell too many people and I fail, they will look at me differently and I will be permanently labeled as, "off the wagon/on the wagon".


Don't worry about what might happen...all any of us have is today. Stay where your hands are and take affirmative action in your own recovery. You will know when the time is right to tell people you are in recovery...and it won't be as big of a deal as you think it is :wink:
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby positrac » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:50 am

you'll get burned a few times and then you'll figure out who to and who not to tell is really what it comes down to.

be well.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
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Re: How/when to tell your family you are getting sober

Postby Larryp713 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:06 pm

I had a tough time when I was young. I didn't want people to know I was going to AA meetings, so I would park down the street and walk to the meeting. I made up all kinds of stories about where I was going that evening. Even today, I still don't announce to everybody. I only mention it when I think it is important that the other person knows.

But I hope you don't feel ashamed for long. Being an alcoholic actually is a great gift for me. Before I ever took a drink, I suffered from a spiritual malady that always made me feel alone in a crowd, that made me think everybody was judging me or talking about me, and I felt I could trust nobody. If my abuse of alcohol had not driven me to a point of desperation, I would never have sought a solution for these issues.

AA's program is not about quitting drinking so much as it is about living sober. That means with peace and serenity. I am learning about my insecurities and fears, all my character defects that have caused so many problems for me, and learning about a spiritual solution to these issues. I feel better about myself today than I ever have, and only a part of that is not drinking. That is what AA has done for me. It is hard to feel anything but gratitude for such a program and fellowship. I wish you all the best, and thanks for sharing!
Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny!!!
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