The 8 weirdest things people have said to me while I’ve been recovering from Alcohol Abuse Disorder

To celebrate being nearly 18 months sober, I am writing my first “listicle” – reminiscing about the weird shit people have said to me because my not drinking makes them feel super awkward.

I would like to make the disclaimer here that most of these were said by friends who I love and also love me. I don’t intend any malice, neither did they intend any to me. I just thought us sober people could chuckle at the weirdness we sometimes bring out in those who still drink – apparently our NOT consuming this addictive, carcinogenic drug can make people talk complete poo at us. This ranges from plain awkward through just funny, to at times seriously endangering our newly hatched, fragile sobriety.

1. “I gave up meat to become a vegetarian, so I know how hard it is for you to not drink”.


Perhaps before you went vegetarian, you woke up every morning with a cow hangover from eating a whole cow the night before and every night for the past few years, hating yourself because you hate eating cows, and eating cows makes you act like a total bitch, but then by 4pm you feel like you will explode if you don’t eat a steak. Just one steak. But then you accidentally eat the whole cow. Again. And perhaps your obsession with eating cows nearly ruined all your relationships and finances.
Perhaps it was like that for you. If so, empathise away! Otherwise, be quiet and eat your bean salad.


2. “You used to drink a bottle of wine a day? Sometimes 1.5 bottles, occasionally 2 bottles? That’s not THAT bad. Like, I had an ex girlfriend that drank 2 bottles every night.”

Oh- I’m sorry, do I not fulfil your expectations of a recovering addicted drinker? I wasn’t aware this was an interview to see if I qualify to join the “fucked up shady drinking in the past” club. Go away.

3. “You obviously weren’t that much of a drinker- you’re far too slim”…

Ummm…. what are you talking about? No. I had actually weighed 25lb more when I was drinking, but that’s beside the point. People with drinking problems come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not unusual for alcohol abuse to reside alongside an eating disorder, be it anorexia/bulimia or compulsive eating. Once again, I’m sorry that I fail to present as your stereotype of an alcohol addict. If it helps you, picture me 18 months ago, slightly fatter, miserable as fuck, loathing myself and contemplating suicide. I hope that helps. You’re welcome.

4. “Oh my God- I’m sorry Violet – but this wine tastes absolutely delicious!”

This one was said to me by a close friend when I was about 3 months sober. While I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at this comment now, in all honesty, at THAT POINT I was teetering on the knife edge of relapsing into drinking during my first sober holiday. This was the last thing I needed to hear, as the voice of addiction roared in my ears that “COME ON it’s weird not to drink on holiday. Have one, go on….!”. It was nearly the straw that broke the sober camel’s back. Don’t say that shit to newly sober people, people! Zip it!


5. “People that don’t drink are boring. I don’t trust them.” Oh good. Well, thank you for showing me you are a tit so I don’t need to waste time talking to you. Bye.

6. “Becoming teetotal is quite extreme. You are quite “all or nothing”, aren’t you? Why not just …..cut down?”.

Aw, thanks! Genius. I’ll just cut down on the substance that I’m addicted to that I’ve been trying and failing to moderate since I was a teenager. Thanks so much for intelligently shedding light on my problem! Oh, did I mention, it was my doctor that said this to me when I told them I was becoming teetotal because I couldn’t moderate my drinking? Hmmm.


7. “It’s fine to drink alcohol with these antidepressants” (same doctor as above).
It wasn’t OK. I became suicidal, self harmed and blacked out every night for six months. It was possibly the worst advice I’ve ever been given, and nearly cost me my life and marriage.

8. “Who wants some champagne! Bubbles make everything better for everyone! Oh dear- except poor old Violet!”

Wow, I don’t even know where to start with this one! The thing to remember here is that there is a huge difference in feelings around alcohol for sober people in recovery, depending on how long they have been sober, and of course on their own personality and past relationship with alcohol. This was said to me quite publicly last week when I was 17 months sober. I found it a) funny (as in, I was laughing AT the person that said it) b) ridiculous c) felt embarrassed for the person who said it. I was able to laugh and say, “Hey, what’s with the “Poor old”? I’m super happy. I love being teetotal. I did not love being hungover every morning. I do NOT feel deprived. However, 17 months ago this would have been difficult for me for sure”.

Yeah. People say weird stuff. But I mainly forgive them because:

a) I get the major social awkwards myself and say all sorts of weird stuff

b) I acted like an unmitigated bell-end for years whilst drinking, and my friends are still here for me

c) we’re all learning. And I’ve learnt now that if someone says something super weird, it’s possible to gently point them in a less weird direction (see No. 8 above).

But that doctor needs to sort their shit out, right?



28 Comments Add yours

  1. drunkvslife says:

    Literally every time I go out it’s the usual “I’m sure you could just have a couple now that you’ve proved to yourself you don’t need a drink. Why don’t you just have one and see how you feel?”
    Riiiight. One drink? I’ve never even understood the point in one drink. My brain doesn’t work that way. One bottle maybe but one drink? Why stop there?! If I have one, I’ll still be drinking 5 hours later…or until I pass out. Fuck off with your just one drink damn it!
    Friends can be such arseholes 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL I guess people who haven’t battled addiction just don’t understand. I have to remind myself we all have our own judgments, like I always think it’s weird when ppl totally give up refined sugar. But truly that’s the same, of course for some people that’s like wine used to be for me.


  2. annastk76 says:

    LOVE this! I’ve had the genius suggestion of “just cut down” too. “Oh, I see – so THAT’s what I need to do, gosh, didn’t realise!! If only I’d known and it would have stopped me having black-outs on an almost daily basis for over a decade – THANK YOU!” I also totally agree with you that none (or almost none) of these mad things people say come from a bad place. Like your friend who gave up meat, it was probably the only thing she could think of and tried to find common ground and relate. My dad was (and is) over the moon that I stopped drinking and immediately decided to draw his sword and help me fight off the dragons. So he decided to be the Wine Police! Poured some bubbly for my hubby, then for whoever else and when he came to me he stood with the bottle like a freaking soldier with a bayonet pointing to the heavens proclaiming AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR YOU!!!! It’s super irritating but I don’t have the heart to say so (in fact, it almost does the opposite and makes me actually WANT to drink!!!) because I know it comes from him caring about me and it’s his way of showing that he’s got my back. It’s too funny though, isn’t it? But as you say, it’s just because they love us and want to be supportive even though they get it a little wrong! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, OMG your dad- misguidedly sweet. My friend suggested that she tell everyone she was having a booze free 40th b’day meal out because she knew I’d lost a close friend to cancer that week so she thought I would struggle to be around drinking. Just a few weeks ago, I was like, I’d feel so awkward to tell others what to do, do what you want! Also, I don’t mind being around drinkers these days. But very sweet of her to think of me. Lol my parents were the opposite. Even though they’d told me they were worried about my drinking in the past, when I was a few months sober they’d offer me wine, assuming that the sober thing was a phase… They also gave me a weird lame wine joke b’day card when I was 6 months sober. Wtf?!


  3. That doctor needs to sort his shit out for sure. 😦
    Just spoke with my therapist how hard it is to find good help and he answered what everybody knows but somehow does not change anything: “You are only an alcoholic if you drink more than your doctor.” Which is difficult because a lot of doctors, dentists and psychiatrist are in the top hard drinking category.
    If ever I do anything ‘alcohol and help-the-world’ related I would like to visit GP’s and inform them on alcoholism, what to say and what not to say to people with a drinking disorder and how to spot them.
    Further: I am sorry all those people said this tremendously stupid things to you. And I have to add: in my drinking times I could have easily been one of them. 😦 I am sorry. 😦
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure I could easily have said similar things when I was drinking, too. I’m sure a teetotal friend would have freaked me out, I would have assumed that they’d judge me etc etc. Whereas the truth is that most sober people are empathetic rather than judgmental. Yeah I hadn’t thought about this but yes, I’m not surprised- my medical friends at university were the biggest party-ers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on 18 months of sobriety. I too have heard many and/or variations of your list. Some folks just don’t get it no matter how hard they try! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poet Black says:

    Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really inspiring. Congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much! 🙂


  7. Swartacus says:

    Ugh. I am dreading my first party with my drunk friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always have an exit strategy/excuse. Once people are drunk, they’ll hardly notice you slipping away anyway xx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ps just read your piece about your grandmother’s funeral. I love your writing style. I just couldn’t stop reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Swartacus says:

        Wow! Thanks so much! That’s high praise. Was just going to journal a bit on here and that poured out one night. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to replicate …lol. I so appreciate you reading it though!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved it. Felt like the start of a novel, dude, keep writing, please!!


  9. HA HA, number 1. I am a vegetarian, it was so easy. Wake up one day and just quit. This is nothing like that. This is an uphill struggle that brings me to my knees sometimes and tears to others. But it made me laugh, and that is what I need. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, I’m glad you agree, hehehe! You’re welcome x


  10. Ok, I’m a newbie at sobriety so I have a dumb question…what does teetotal mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No such thing as a dumb question! Just means you never drink. Some ppl prefer it, because ‘sober’ (perhaps?) suggests you have had a drinking problem in past. Whereas teetotal just means you don’t drink.


  11. ridinginplace says:

    I always like the “you don’t look like an alcoholic”. … since I didn’t look like one from your 6 minute observation I must not be! All this time I’ve been imploding my life and creating my own chaos thinking maybe there’s an issue brewing but since I managed to put on a pair of jeans and mascara this morning I must be have just been overreacting. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂😂😂 so true!- the problem is that in certain moods it can be easy to think, yeah, I wasn’t that bad was I?! (Note to self, yes I was!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I want a “love” button for this. Or 5 stars. Love your style!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh, thanks so much!!! Xxx


  13. (kris)tinaboucher says:

    OK – I just discovered your blog – this is hilarious! I love it! I heard so many of the same things. I actually had someone tell me I was more fun when I drank…um thanks? This person hadn’t seen me sobbing at the bar or starting arguments with my fiance for absolutely no reason. I also mixed alcohol with anti-depressants and had two suicide attempts – mixing those two substances is a huge no-no. I was lucky enough to have a “high bottom” so a lot of people didn’t (and still don’t) understand my reason to stop. But it’s been the best decision I have ever made. Thanks for sharing this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Oh I know what you mean…. like yes, I might have been “fun” at times but how about the moments when I was self harming and exactly like you said you did, I’d pick the nastiest arguments with my poor husband for no reason other than I hated myself and was projecting this onto him. Frankly I’ll take less fun over that any day!!! Xxx


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