It’s Sunday morning here, amazingly all the kids are out, and judging from the noises from downstairs, my partner is chopping  wood. I’m in bed 🙂 which is really unusual past 8 am … And feels fab ! 

Ive got loads of thoughts running round my head on this peaceful morning, but not in a stressful angsty kind if way, more a  reflective, questioning kind of way. 

I’ve written a couple of draft posts, about the deeper thoughts I’ve been having; but what I’m really thinking about is ‘ Explainations’ 

Yesterday I went out for the day with my closest friend – K. K and her husband J live down the road from us, and they are our best friends. We do lots together, as couples and families. We’ve done a lot of drinking together over the years too. About 15 months ago J was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer. The emotional fall our from that is for a later date, suffice it to say it’s been huge.

So, K knows (obviously) that I’m not drinking and yesterday, being a special day out for us both I think she was expecting me to have a couple of bottles glasses of wine, and she asked me “why not?”

What to say ….

The truth?

  • In the last year I had countless blackouts and many many unexplained bruises
  • I had abnormal blood tests
  • I was drinking well in excess of 70units a week
  • I missed work due to drinking
  • I wet the bed when drunk – twice
  • There’s more but I’m too ashamed even to write it ..

I settled on “once I started, I just can’t stop”. Of course she let it go, but I could tell she didn’t really get it.. 

What do you say? 

What conveys the importance of the decision, and that it is absolutely essential that I am successful, it’s non negotiable. Without ‘oversharing’; without seeming to be over dramatic … Without making others feel ‘bad’ …uncomfortable or judged for continuing to drink ..


  1. My perspective, if that’s any help, is that others take you more seriously about not drinking the longer you’ve been doing it. Perhaps because a longer period of abstinence speaks for itself in how important it is to you, how unlikely you are to be swayed by a momentary mood? Which seems desperately unfair since in fact it is when you are in the early days that you most need understanding and support from others… I am sorry to hear of your friends’ tragic situation. It may be a truism that you will be best placed to support them in what lies ahead sober, but it’s the truth. Prim x

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    • I agree with this. I think ‘dry January’, lent etc have made short periods of not drinking fairly common , now that it’s been > 4 months , it looks more serious. I really know that I will be better able to support k if I am sober … And I will be X lily 🌷

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  2. I’ve struggled with this, too, how to answer the question. I have used the “once I start I can’t stop” myself. I worry about alienating people, who think I might judge them for their drinking, or worse, try to get them to stop. It’s bad enough we’re struggling to stop and then having to explain without offending or starting an unwanted conversation just adds to the stress. xx

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    • I don’t want be thought of as ‘good’ ; I don’t want anyone to change their drinking for me – I guess really I just want my sobriety to be ignored by everyone except my partner ! Lily 🌷 x

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    • Hi Sam, thank you. Does this work even with people you know well? With acquaintance I’m S quite happy to give no Explainations … It just feels hard with so one I know so well.. Lily 🌷x


  3. I can understand that, a friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I now think I owe it to him to live a good healthy alcohol free life, and not waste my life and ruin the life I’m blessed with, drowning in alcohol, xx


  4. There is only one person in my life who makes the topic difficult, my alcoholic sister. We are poles apart in personality and the only connection we had was alcohol. Now we don’t have that it is just uncomfortable. At my daughter’s wedding I pretended to be drunk just to keep her off the trail…. Pathetic really. She already thinks I am self righteous because of my spiritual beliefs, not that I throw it in her or anyone’s face but she just despises me for it. Christmas will probably be the next big event we share so hopefully by then I’ll have more confidence to be honest.

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  5. This is a tough one. I agree with everything everyone else said. And to add to that, it’s easy to tell people you don’t know well “it’s not for me”, or “I don’t drink”. But even then, it can get weird. I was on vacation in May and told a person that I quit smoking — geez, over 10 years ago — and this person thought I judged them because they were smokers. So, I know it can be hard to work around in any case.

    But for people I don’t know, I’m sticking with, I’m not a drinker or anything that makes you feel good about it. I’ve gone as far as telling someone I was pregnant when I’m not. They won’t know either way.

    For people I do know, and really well: I have a really hard time with because THEY make it hard. Everyone I know is an alcoholic and thinks it’s cool to consume to extreme limits. They also feel judged by my not drinking. My A-Hole father in law has gone as far as telling me I’ll end up divorced if I stop drinking.

    But aside from all of the negativity, I just say I’m not drinking this month because I’m working toward this _____ (insert goal). In May it was running a 5k, in June it was preparing for my 50 mile bike ride. I need to come up with something else for August.

    But in all honestly, if they are a good friend and you trust them and love them like family. Just say you need to not drink for your health. Not even a glass. And if they can’t accept that, then it’s on them, not you.

    You were honest by saying when you start you can’t stop. But maybe an addition of “my health is at risk” would help?


  6. I just went through this on my first trip home. Everyone looked at me quizically and asked more questions than I wanted when I said I wasn’t drinking. It is much harder with those we are close to and they ask questions out of concern and curiosity – “are you ill? is something wrong?” Not drinking just seems so odd to them either because they drink too much or it is just not an issue for them so they can’t quite comprehend why. I said I was on a health kick and don’t metabolize alcohol very well anymore. I am not sure anyone believed me, but they left it alone after a while.


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