Alcoholism: Why I tell strangers I’m a recovering alcoholic

Admitting that you are an alcoholic is an incredibly hard thing to do. It’s about as personal as it gets. It’s also one of the bravest things a person can do. And the only way you can avoid an early grave if you have a drinking problem.

The best decision I ever made in recovery was to be completely open with everyone, and I mean everyone, about the fact that I was an alcoholic in recovery.

A lot of people keep it private and only tell a trusted circle. That was my initial approach, and for me, it didn’t work.

Image on the left: Me in recovery. Image on the right: Me on the brink of death from alcoholic liver disease in 2015

About 4 years ago I decided to turn my approach on its head. I decided that I was going to tell everyone.

  • I wrote my first blog post and stuck it on the internet for all to see.
  • I started telling strangers about my battle with drink – even if they didn’t want to hear it!
  • And I decided that ‘’from now on, I’m going to be proud of the fact that I’m beating this illness. I want people to know what I’ve achieved’’.

It was a game changer. I discovered that most people actually know, or love, someone who is battling addiction.

When I told someone about my battle with alcoholism, nine times out of ten, that person would turn around to me and tell me about a loved one who had a similar battle on their hands.

It made me realise that 90% of people respected me for my openness and were proud of me for beating addiction.

Those reactions were like constant kicks in the backside to stay on track.

I bought my first home over just before Christmas. The gift of recovery keeps on giving.

But that’s not the only benefit of this approach. It also means that there is nowhere to hide. If everyone in my life knew about my history of alcoholism – it would be harder for me to forget it.

Forgetting how bad it was in my darkest days could be dangerous.

I’m not saying that everyone HAS TO take my open approach. Everyone in recovery is different. And different things work for different people.

Some people carefully pick and choose who they tell about their alcoholism. And for many people, that approach works really well.

I completely understand why people go down that route. In some corners, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction as a whole.

But this blog is about me sharing my experiences of alcohol addiction. And what I do to stay sober.

And for me personally, telling everyone works.

Thanks for reading and stay safe,

Toby

One thought on “Alcoholism: Why I tell strangers I’m a recovering alcoholic

  1. Just shared this with Lloyd.
    Such inspiring words.
    Lloyds 2 weeks clean my dedication to help him beat this has come from somewhere I can’t explain.
    He’s staying in temporary accommodation which is definitely working at the moment.
    I realise this can change tonight or tomorrow but for now things are good.
    God bless my friend.

    Like

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