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Why Can’t I Make My Non-Sober Friends Understand?

There will always be friends, coworkers, or family members who don’t understand the process and importance of our recovery. We may have a friend who is completely baffled and turned off by the 12-Step program, or a coworker who questions why we can’t just have one drink.

If we are comfortable with our peers knowing that we are in recovery, we may try to explain how substantial our program is and how it all works. Unfortunately, we live in a society where drinking and drug use are considered commonplace and even encouraged


Our friends and other people close to us may try to argue that our use wasn’t that bad. They might believe that if we just take a break, maybe for a few months, we will be fine in the future.

The concept of staying sober for an entire year or the rest of your life may seem completely foreign or unbelievable to them. When you tell them the importance of meetings or when you go to them, they make jokes about their own ideas of 12-Step programs.

Some of our loved ones don’t even want to hear anything about our recovery. They can’t understand at all and reject any discussions about it.

Our coworkers may tease us at work events, mocking our choice of non-alcoholic beverage or pretending to give us alcohol instead. In any case, these people in our lives have some level of discomfort with the idea of sobriety or are possibly miseducated. 


It can be very frustrating to entertain these ideas and jokes from the people we see all the time. No matter how desperately we want them to understand, and how extensively and detailed we explain our recovery, they just don’t get it.

Feeling sad or angry in these situations is reasonable. It would be a perfect world if everyone around us just understood and supported us exactly the way we wanted.

We must remember that we cannot control others. We can’t force them to understand. In reality, those who aren’t in recovery or have no experience with sobriety, either themselves or their loved ones, cannot fully relate to us. They haven’t had the same feelings of hopelessness or desperation, the same fear and shame as we have, at least not in this capacity.

Accepting the idea that some people will be more compassionate and empathetic than others is vital to surviving these encounters. Coworkers, friends, family members do not have to understand it for it to be a working miracle in your life. 


Be proud of your accomplishments, and do not let the judgment or ignorance of others dissuade you from living a healthy life in recovery. Keep doing the work and you will see that you are the true miracle. 


The Guest House is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 855-483-7800.