Alcoholism During and After Recovery

Sobriety, Recovery, Working the Program, AA
Curated By
Therese Basham

Therese Basham is an independent marketing and communications consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom to her son and daughter for the past 20 years, she has remained engaged as a freelance marketing communications writer, photographer, and videographer. Recently, she joined the Association of Professional Photo organizers, and is now helping individuals bring order to their digital and physical photo and video collections. Therese is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied marketing and psychology.

In This Guide:

Taking the first step toward recovery is merely the start of a very long journey. Remaining sober is a life-long commitment that requires determination and the continued support of friends and loved ones. Read on to find out what those in recovery might be thinking and how you can offer words of encouragement to help them feel supported as they navigate their way along the path to sobriety. 

They Might Be Thinking

  • I’m afraid I will relapse. 
  • My family and friends won’t know what to say to me. 
  • My friends won’t want to hang out with me anymore. 
  • I won’t be able to have fun anymore. 
  • I won’t be as social anymore, and it won’t be as easy to talk to people as it was when I was drinking. 
  • Will my family and friends forgive me for the things I did and said while I was drinking?
  • I’m worried I will be completely overwhelmed. 
  • I’m afraid I’ll actually feel something and will have to deal with things I don’t want to deal with. 
  • My life will be so boring when I’m sober. 
  • What if I’m still unhappy even after I’m sober?
  • How will I manage my stress without alcohol?
  • How will I manage my pain without alcohol?
  • I won’t be able to sleep without alcohol. 
  • What if nobody likes me once I get sober?
  • Will I be able to face the issues that caused me to drink in the first place?

Words That Might Be Encouraging

  • You have my unconditional support. How can I be here for you during this time?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
  • Don’t give up. Take it day by day. 
  • You are not alone.
  • I believe in you.
  • I care about you.
  • I’m proud of you. 
  • I really respect you for doing something about your drinking problem. That takes a lot of courage and I support you. 
  • Thank you for confiding in me. 
  • I miss spending time with you. Would you like to go to a movie/for a walk/for a cup of coffee?
  • I’m here to listen if you want to talk about it, but it’s okay if you don’t. 
  • Are you comfortable telling me why you no longer drink?
  • I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I’m here for you.
  • I haven’t heard from you for a few days and wanted to check-in. How are you?
  • It’s wonderful that you found a program that is working for you. 
  • Would you like me to drive you to your therapy session/support group meeting?
  • May I come to a meeting with you so I can understand what you are experiencing?
  • I've been thinking of attending an Al-Anon meeting. How would you feel about that?

Words That Might Be Discouraging

  • So, are you sober because you’re an alcoholic?
  • Alcoholism runs in families. Did your parents drink too much?
  • Are you in recovery? What kind?
  • Are you sure you’re an alcoholic?
  • How long have you been sober?
  • Why aren’t you drinking?
  • What was your rock bottom?
  • I feel really bad that you are going through this. 
  • Do you miss drinking?
  • It must really suck to have to give up alcohol. 
  • I admire your willpower.
  • Have you felt like drinking today?
  • Alcoholism is a terrible disease and really hard to beat. 
  • Since you can’t drink, we won’t either.
  • Are you strong enough to stop drinking?
  • I had no idea you had a problem!
  • You should talk to my friend. He/she is an alcoholic too. 
  • Can you really never have another drink for the rest of your life?
  • Did you ever get a DUI?
  • You were more fun when you were drinking. 
  • I could never give up drinking. 
  • Let’s just have one. This is a special occasion!
  • I know exactly how you feel. 
  • Why do you still go to those meetings? Aren’t you better now?
  • When can you stop going to therapy/meetings?
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