Recovering alcoholic reveals the questions to never ask her

However well-meaning, some questions can make the situation worse for someone dealing with an addiction 

Kashmira Gander
Saturday 13 May 2017 11:39 BST
Alcohol is still linked to cancer, high blood pressure and other types of strokes
Alcohol is still linked to cancer, high blood pressure and other types of strokes (iStock)

A recovering alcoholic has revealed the questions others should never ask someone coping with their type of addiction.

In the UK alone, more than 1.4million people are dependent on alcohol, according to Government statistics. However, the stigma surrounding alcoholism means that those not coping with addiction may be unwittingly hurting those who are.

Writer Anne T. Donahue - who has been sober for four years - has laid bare what she wishes people would stop asking her, in her newsletter That’s What She Said.

Asking her at a bar “oh my god, is it okay if I drink?" is among the questions that grate on her the most, she wrote.

“I get it. You are trying to be accommodating. And thank you!” she said. But Donahue added that the question is futile as she won’t ask another person to stop drinking and that it makes her feel “hyper-aware” that she can't.

“If I really wanted to drink, I would walk into any restaurant, bar, liquor store, or supermarket and buy alcohol.”

Quizzing a recovering alcoholic on why they don’t drink is also a big "no", adds Donahue. This question can lead to uncomfortable answers - not just for those with alcoholism, but anything from health issues to a secret pregnancy. “Don't ask me or anybody this, please. No one's reasons are the ones you want to hear,” she warns.

Probing a recovering alcoholic with questions to find out if they miss drinking and if they’ll ever drink again are also unacceptable, she argues.

Donohue’s warnings chime with the views of a recovering alcoholic identified only as Tracey who told Newsbeat that asking someone why they need to drink can be upsetting.

Tracey told the website that she started drinking because it numbed the pain of her husband leaving her. But when her children asked why she needed to drink she became resentful and drank more. Eventually, as she started to fear her addiction after it consumed her life, she asked for help.

According to the NHS, a person should visit their GP or contact a local support service if they often feel the need to drink; get in trouble because of their habit; if others warn them they drink too much; and if the amount of alcohol they are consuming is causing problems.

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