Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SSAW - Helping Others Realize the Severity

My husband is a union construction worker - a tin knockin' Sheet Metal Worker to be exact.

He is surrounded by rough, tough, burly, spitting, cussing men - manly men, dirty men, men that find solace in a porta-potty. Pretty much, unless they are alcoholic's also, ALL the men he works with drink, and often excessively.

My husband, being the social little butterfly he is, is friends outside of work with a lot of his co-workers. For years, lots of guys knew that Rocky liked to drink. Some were shocked at how hard core he went, some welcomed the party, and some knew no different.

As his friends fall in and out of contact, often cycling around to wanting to hang out again - their reactions to Rocky's "not drinking" (Rocky doesn't just come out and say, I'm an alcoholic) is very mixed. Some don't know he went to jail, some don't know he attended AA (lots of AA!), and some think it's just a stage (he did have an 8mos down hill slide to failure).

But do they believe he doesn't drink?

Because, we as wives, live in our little secret society we are very careful about sharing our secrets. I know I didn't tell my parents that I had Rocky arrested until almost 2 years later! 2 years! I probably wouldn't have ever told him. But my dad, knowing Rocky liked to drink, would continually offer Rocky something everytime we saw him! Rocky would say, "I don't drink," but my dad NEVER got the point.  Finally one day, my mom and I sat enjoying happy hour priced appetizers at TGIF while she sipped on a HUGE cold beer - and I sat drinking my HUGE cold water - and she said, "You don't drink even when Rocky is not around?" So I decided to spill the beans on his arrest and my view on not drinking.

Once I explained the severity, my dad stopped offering Rocky a beer. The ridiculing, and joking stopped ("what? ball and chain got you tied down?). It was now understood that Rocky's addiction was serious. Rocky finally felt like he was heard, which took the stress out of saying "no thank you."

So my advice...

Do inform others about the severity of your husband's addiction, however, DO NOT turn it into something that embarasses your husband, be wise and cautious as to who you feel like spilling your beans to, and don't make it such a big deal that you become unwanted company.

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1 comment:

  1. Wise advice for sure my friend :) Glad Rocky is doing so well... I know Matt can relate for sure to the tough guy job and having a certain persona with the guys that is then hard to get away from when he tried to. He too had his slip and backslid but is doing well. With one addiction anyway and is working on the drinking now which is more than I could say just a couple of months ago so that is progress. For him it means not hanging around certain people or getting into certain situations. I am sure one day he'll be able to but for now recovery is a slippery slope and he is best to avoid them. Good for Rocky, and good for you to continue to share and support :)