How to stay sober when you live with another drinker!
If you went on a weight loss diet you probably wouldn’t fill the fridge with cakes and chocolate right?
Alcohol is slightly different but temptation can still be a problem. Sometimes learning how to stop drinking is the easy bit, then you have to consider how to stay sober, especially if you are in a relationship with someone else who drinks.
Yes, one of the biggest problems that people face when quitting drinking is where they have a partner or other significant member of the household who also drinks to excess.
In a perfect world, you would both address the problem together and make the sound decision to push this poison out of your relationship entirely.
However, that is a rare and unusual situation.
Normally one person in the house wakes up and realized how much damage is being done by the booze but their partner wants to continue drinking.
That’s okay, that’s how it’s supposed to be. I always tell people at Quit Drinking Bootcamp that this is a tightrope walk. Your partner can go ahead of you or follow behind but never at the same time.
So, how do you stay sober in a house full of alcohol?
First, it is worth mentioning that some ex drinking individuals are so committed to their sobriety that they have no issue with alcohol being in the home.
I have previously been in relationships with people who drank alcohol and their home featured the usual wine rack and bottle of half-drunk sherry in the cupboard.
At no point was I tempted to drink the stuff and after a while, I didn’t even notice it.
It was a bit like an ornament – you notice it initially but then it just becomes a part of the background.
Nonetheless, quitting any sort of drug addiction is a noble but challenging decision.
You deserve to have your choice respected and to expect those that love you to support and encourage your sobriety.
If you were trying to kick heroin into touch it would be considered highly irresponsible and selfish behavior for other members of the home to bring the drug (and use it in front of you) into the house.
However, despite killing a person every 90 seconds and being the second most addictive drug on planet earth (just behind heroin).
Alcohol has special permission to be viewed as a harmless social pleasantry.
Alcohol has managed to twist reality so aggressively that it is the people who don’t use the drug who are considered to be strange.
I believe it is reasonable to ask members of your household to support your decision to quit drinking by not having any alcohol in the home.
Ideally, this would be a permanent choice, and I will explain why in a moment.
However, I understand it is difficult to achieve this utopia when you live with other people who are addicted to alcohol and unwilling to address the issue. This can make it a challenge to stay sober.
In these cases try to agree a three or six month period when no alcohol will be allowed in the house.
This sort of time period will allow you to go through the chemical kick from the drug and establish some new routines and patterns.
Alcohol has taken up a lot of your time in the past and it takes a while to work out what you are going to do with all this free time.
There will be moments where you are bored, restless and don’t know what to do with yourself.
Don’t forget, you are used to drinking an anaesthetic each evening.
You have conditioned yourself to believe that being in a foggy, zombie-like haze is normal.
When you quit drinking you may be shocked by how much more energy you have – this can actually feel a little unsettling initially.
If your partner refuses to remove alcohol from the home, this may be an indicator of how significant their own problem with alcohol has become.
Couples who drink together tend to both bury their head in the sand and collectively choose to avoid the issue.
Of course, you can’t force your partner to comply with your wishes, but if they won’t then you should use this as further motivation.
This is pure evidence of how deeply alcoholism has infected your relationship and it may lead to bigger more challenging conversations in the future.
Why the ideal situation is not to have alcohol in the home:
My partner Daniela drinks, but extremely rarely. I think in the last year I have seen her have no more than 3 glasses of wine.
When we moved in together she had a couple of bottle of spirits, purely stuff to offer guests when they came calling.
While I was not worried I would be tempted to drink them, I asked her if she would mind if we threw them away and had an alcohol free house.
She agreed and it really does make a huge difference.
How to stay sober with alcohol in the house after you quit drinking?
Our home is a place of love and family. It is where we spend time together, where we eat, laugh, talk and enjoy our relationship.
When you have something malignant in the home I believe it’s presence leaks into the atmosphere of the house.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a gun in the house and I don’t feel comfortable having addictive drugs in the house.
That may make me sound like a wishy-washy new-age type but I can tell you from experience.
When you live in a household where alcohol never appears in any form you feel significantly more peaceful and happy.