Getting a DUI may mean you need to stop drinking. But what if your partner still wants to drink? How do you stay sober with alcohol around? Does your partner need to stop drinking too?
Here are a few tips to think about as you consider these questions.
Talk about it.
Don’t assume your partner will insist on drinking as usual. If you think no alcohol in the house would help you stay sober, talk about it with your partner. Maybe they will continue to drink but can do it when you aren’t around, or only when you go out so there are fewer temptations at home. Or maybe they are willing to stop drinking too! You may be surprised how they are willing to support you in this. Get clear about what will help you and talk to your partner about it.
It’s important to have more than one person to lean on when you want to drink but know you can’t. It can be hard to listen to advice about staying sober from partner who has a glass of wine in their hand. It doesn’t mean they aren’t being supportive, it just means it’s hard to hear that advice from them in that moment. Connect with friends who want to help you stop drinking, go to a 12-step meeting and find a sponsor or other members willing to help.
See your strength.
Remember that staying sober with a partner who drinks can also remind you of how strong you are. It can be good practice to be around alcohol and not partake yourself. But be honest with yourself. If it’s too hard to be around someone who is drinking, especially in the early stages, don’t try to tough it out. Set yourself up for success, however you can, even if that means not being around alcohol at all for awhile.
If most of the activities you and your partner do involve alcohol, use this time as an opportunity to try new things. Check out activities that don’t require alcohol but are fun and exciting to you both. You may discover new things you have in common! If you’re wondering what to do, check out the RDF blog posts “Hello Weekend!” for great ideas of things to do around Portland.
Being newly sober can be tough. It’s fair to want compassion and understanding about that. Offer the same understanding to your partner. While their struggle may be different from yours, it is still a change to get used to. You certainly don’t have to apologize for this change, after all, you are learning to live a healthier lifestyle and taking care of yourself. Make sure you and your partner both have the time and space to talk about how you feel, what is a struggle and what you’re grateful for.
Written By Derica Waller, MSW, LCSW, LICSW
Derica Waller has been a coach and therapist for over 20 years. She is a master level therapist and is one of Reynolds Defense Firm’s Window of Clarity Coaches. Derica is also our Window of Clarity Coordinator. She sees her role as helping clients to manage life’s challenges with her clinical expertise and compassionate support. Window of Clarity is a scientifically validated program and helps others take charge of their lives by making positive, lasting changes. For more about Derica and the Window of Clarity Program, visit www.windowofclarity.com.