Going public:

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Going public:(08/28/13)

I often hear “I don’t want people to know that I have a drinking issue.” Sorry, but somebody probably already knows, maybe a family member, a friend, coworker or employer. Most important, YOU already know or you wouldn’t make a statement like this. There could be countless reasons as to why someone doesn’t want to go public; being viewed as flawed or weak, looked down upon as an “addict,” the disclosure of alcohol or substance misuse may be harmful to your job status or career, whatever. Truth be told, some people will use this information against you, not everyone is going to be supportive of you. So there can be valid reasons for not going completely public. But some type of public or semipublic statement may be the tipping point for you.

I believe that the scariest part of going public is that when you do you must now be accountable for your future behaviors. If you say, “I overuse alcohol and I need to quit,” then you are obligated to keep your word. That’s scary because now you will have to live up to what you said.

The flipside to your concern of “embarrassment” is that I feel there’s nothing wrong with publicly saying, “I want to better myself. I want to be better for my family. I want to be healthy.” How is that embarrassing?

I’m not suggesting that you run an ad in the newspaper or buy a billboard saying: “I am a drunk and I’m going to quit drinking.” It isn’t necessary to disclose all of your dark secrets and carnage to the general public. There are appropriate places and appropriate people with whom you may want to discuss your alcohol (or substance) issue with. You must determine how public you want to be. Does going public also mean attending some type of meeting and making the proclamation, “I am an alcoholic.” That’s solely up to you.

Subtle words can be used when revealing your intentions and your new lifestyle to people. Something like, “Drinking usually doesn’t turn out well for me so I’m not drinking. It’s not a good thing in my life. I want to improve my health and get rid of all my drunken bullshit.”

“But people might gossip about me.” They probably already do, regardless of whether you’re a drunk or not. I’m sure people gossiped about me and my drinking. I’m certain that some people (if not those same people), continue to gossip about me regarding my sobriety. However, I have noticed that for the most part, people don’t really care or pay attention to whether I’m drinking or not, they’re a little busy with their own life.

I have deliberately gone public with my status, history and philosophies. I understand that people will disagree or criticize me. But I have at least created something other than just criticism. My decision to go completely public is helpful in continuing my status as a non-drinker. By having gone public I feel that I have an obligation to keep my word to YOU, with no expectation of anything in return from you. So what if I stay sober for someone else—the pressure is on ME, not on YOU. And thanks to you, I’m still sober.

My point in all this is that you don’t have to announce to the entire world that you’ve stopped drinking and you don’t have to explain to anyone why you’ve stopped drinking. I also believe that telling someone, “I want to better my life and being a non-drinker is part of it,” isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

Some type of public or semipublic announcement regarding your status may become your tipping point. Just be certain that it’s what YOU want to do because I don’t have to live your life—you do.

If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my website. It’s LivingSoberSucks.com. If you want to help me cover my costs of putting this site out for free, please make a donation to my site securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site

Thanks again for spending some of your very valuable time with me. My name is Mark Tuschel.

One Response to “Going public:”

  1. czabka says:

    I love this blog….I needed to read this today so once again thanks for what you do

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