I recently made the personal decision to become sober. While my substance use never became life-threatening, it was very quietly taking its toll on my mental health. I tried unsuccessfully to limit my drinking and realized that the only way for me to do this was to stop altogether. I’m not ready to tell my family about sobriety. Our relationship is already a little strained, and their views on mental health make it difficult for me to talk about anything I struggle with. They tend to view mental health issues as character flaws or personal failings, and that in turn makes me shut down.
There’s also the issue of how my parents treat each other. My dad cut way back on his drinking after losing family members to addiction, and he calls my mother a “drunk” when she goes out to drink with her friends or siblings. My mom in turn thinks of him as a killjoy. I don’t want my own personal decisions to be leveraged in this ongoing argument. So far my strategy has been to politely refuse whenever I’m offered a drink at a family event and to leave early, but when I’m repeatedly offered drinks throughout the night (say five or six times), it gets exhausting. I’m not sure when or how or even if I want to tell them about my sobriety. Please help me navigate the family reunion.