How Transparent Should I Be?

I’ve told my husband that I am an alcoholic.  He was quiet.  He didn’t know what to say.  He just gave me a hug (he’s an engineer).  I told my neighbor I am an alcoholic, who is a non-drinker.  She was surprised but so supportive.  She also gave me a hug.  I announced “My name is Trish and I am an alcoholic” at my AA meeting.  They all said “Hi Trish.”  I go a few hugs afterward.  I emailed my friend in Florida who is also an alcoholic but has not said the word yet.  She wants to be like me.  She wants to quit drinking, but her husband says she doesn’t have a problem (she’s his drinking buddy).  Anyway, she is very supportive of me.

I’m not going to tell my 90 year old mom who lives independently, but counts on me for most everything.  She was also an alcoholic but never admitted it.  She doesn’t drink anymore because she was hospitalized for pancreatitis caused by drinking (she won’t admit that).  If I told her this she would be up nights thinking about me and wondering how she didn’t know.  Not worth worrying her.

I need to tell me two grown daughters.  They have a right to know that their mom has this disease.  We all seem to know that our parents are alcoholics don’t we?  My girls know I love(d) my wine.  They give me gifts related to wine (pretty wine glasses, cut little wine glass charms, wine bottle openers.  They are grown women with families of their own and life in different states, so I don’t get to see them often enough.  I don’t want to send an email, and I don’t really want to tell them over the phone.  What to do.  One daughter knows I quit drinking, but the word “alcoholic” has never been mentioned.  Perhaps I hesitate because deep down I feel they have the same disease and I’m not sure where the conversation will go.  Hmmm – any words of wisdom are appreciated.


3 thoughts on “How Transparent Should I Be?

  1. My thoughts are this…. check your intention. What is your intention in telling your daughters? Is it for you, or is it for them? What good will come, what maybe not good? It seems to me that once people label themselves, it sticks. Forever more, they/we/you/whoever are labelled as…. “oh, yeah, she’s an alcoholic.” not, she’s a really great woman, she’s a great friend, oh.. yeah, she’s great. Then, not only is the label carried around on your shoulders, but the guilt/shame and societal opinions that go along with it and you have to add that to your bag of dragons, Call it a cop out, or whatever, but that’s my thoughts on it. I like what Johnny Depp said ”I just decided that I pretty much got everything I could get out of it,” he said. “I investigated wine and spirits thoroughly, and they certainly investigated me as well, and we found out that we got along beautifully, but maybe too well.” yup. I support you in doing/telling and being exactly what you need to do for you!

  2. Interesting tfay. I’ve always kept to myself in the past, never told anyone “everything” about me, just the bits I wanted them to know. But if this truly is a disease…like a cancer or heart disease that can be inherited, isn’t it my responsibility to tell those who might be affected?

    Still troubled by this.

    • I can only speak from my own heart, so here you go. I believe that when you are no longer troubled by it, the question will answer itself. This goes back to checking your intention. The truth is you are not drinking. The truth is, you’ve chosen to do this. The truth is your drinking isn’t serving you anymore. There are many forms of cancer and just as many forms of heart disease. There are also many ways to define your choice to not drink. As I said before, choose the path that’s right for you. I’ve found when I’m uncertain of that path, I need to sit with it a bit longer. And sometimes sit some more. I’m in your corner whatever you choose to do. hugs.

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