If you know someone who is recovering from alcoholism, chances are you’ve wondered if it’s okay to drink in front of them. Alcohol is such a huge part of American culture that even things like bowling and wedding dress shopping have become reasons to drink. It seems completely normal and natural until you take a step back and really look at the act, which automatically happens when you have a recovered alcoholic loved one.
You don’t ever need to drink, but sometimes you really want to. So, is it okay to do so in front of a recovering alcoholic, or should you refrain from drinking for their sake? The best way to determine what is best for their alcohol addiction recovery process is to talk to them. If you have any questions about how to do this, we welcome you to reach out to our alcohol addiction treatment program. Call *DM_DirectNumber format=period linked=true* today to speak to one of our treatment experts.
Be Direct, But Also Casual
The only way you’ll know for sure how your loved one feels about people drinking around them is if you ask. However, many don’t know whether or not it’s even okay to bring up the discussion topic to a recovered alcoholic loved one. Most people in recovery will appreciate your consideration. However, there’s also a line between asking and being obsessive about it. Alcohol as a continuous discussion topic probably isn’t a good idea. However, asking directly is the right idea.
Try to frame your question directly but casually. What you want to know is if your recovering alcoholic loved one is okay with you having a drink in front of him. So, ask that, but don’t make a huge deal out of it. This doesn’t necessarily require carving out a chunk of your day to really sit down and discuss the situation, although, in some cases, that might be so. In most cases, you’ll ask the question, hear and accept the answer, and move on. Many people in recovery don’t like to be singled out because of their struggles with addiction, which will happen if you’re constantly asking them questions about it.
However, this is not a rule that is set in stone. While those in recovery share the same disease, they don’t share the same stories and preferences. Your friend or loved one might want that constant consideration. They might appreciate you asking if it’s okay to have a drink each time the option presents itself. You’ll have to know your own loved one and approach the situation accordingly. Put some thought into figuring out if you think your loved one wants that constant consideration or if they would feel singled out because of it.
Know the Difference Between Early and Long-Term Recovery
It’s rarely okay to drink in front of an alcoholic loved one who is in early recovery. Alcohol will always be somewhat triggering for those in recovery, but it’s exponentially more triggering in early recovery. Early recovery can mean that the person is still in treatment or has just graduated from treatment. People who are still in treatment are being given tools to live a normal, sober life. That said, they haven’t had any practice doing so. It’s one thing to receive therapy and work through your various afflictions in a residential or outpatient program. It’s another thing entirely to have real-time experience utilizing the things you’ve learned in your daily life.
If you live with a person who’s in early recovery, not only is it not okay to drink in front of them, but it’s also not a good idea to keep alcohol in your home. Seeing vodka bottles around the house is both triggering and disrespectful to your loved one’s efforts.
Long-term recovery is a bit different. You should only really consider drinking in front of someone if they have a solid, strong foundation in recovery. The same goes for keeping alcohol around them. Additionally, this isn’t exactly just a matter of time. Someone can have five years under their belt and still find the presence of alcohol triggering. Only your recovered loved one can tell if they’re established enough in their recovery to feel comfortable around other people who are drinking.
Show Your Support
If you don’t need to drink in front of a recovered alcoholic loved one, then it’s probably better not to. There are certain situations where it’s widely considered acceptable to drink, such as at a wedding, in a bar, or maybe during a Super Bowl party. But if drinking isn’t a significant part of the social event, you might consider silently supporting your loved one’s sobriety by not drinking. Not only will you be completely coherent during the event, but your friend or loved one will also feel less socially isolated merely by not being the only one not drinking.
Problem Drinking Is Never Okay
There’s a big difference between having a beer in front of your friend in recovery and problem drinking in front of them. One may be okay in certain situations, depending on the person. Problem drinking, however, includes activities such as:
- Heavy drinking
- Binge drinking
- Alcoholic drinking
- Constant drinking
These activities are likely to be triggering to a recovered alcoholic loved one. That’s true no matter how far along they are in their recovery. Seeing someone else drink problematically can push someone in recovery to relapse. It’s also the very thing that the person got help for in the first place.
If you’re unsure if your drinking is problematic, reach out to our team to discuss the difference between casual drinking and alcoholic drinking.
Consider Seeking Support at New Start Recovery
At New Start Recovery, we are here to help those suffering from problem drinking. We offer a range of alcohol addiction treatment options, including:
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Outpatient programs
- Sober living
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, New Start can help. Call us at *DM_DirectNumber format=period linked=true* or reach out to us on our live chat.