I ask this question of myself fairly regularly to keep myself in check. Why? Because I want to treat others the way I want to be treated. Ya know, the golden rule and all that entails.
I don’t mind someone sharing in a passive way their experiences with anything really.
But when a person turns the corner to apply pressure without my overtly asking for more information or my expressed interest, whether its lifestyle, religion, consumer choices, health, or whatever, I immediately resist. I may passively shut down, politely excuse myself to walk away or it may be a complete but polite rejection, but either way my first instinct is to resist.
I will say it’s great going through this with my wife. To go through this experience with someone, sit down every once in a while and say I’ve noticed x about being sober or that y has changed, it is such a positive reinforcement when I hear her thoughts and perspective.
Another great thing I appreciate is that she isn’t proselytizing to me. She shares her personal travels through this experience and what she has learned, but our entire life of conversation doesn’t revolve around the one thing of being sober.
Her viewpoint is actually much more informed, in part due to the fact she has connected with Women For Sobriety, which has been a great resource for her and indirectly for me through her sharing. She has conveyed a lot of helpful insights from them.
I like sharing the positive aspects of being sober. I’m turning a corner of comfort with why I am dry. I try not to wave it in someones face as a means of expressing superiority or demeaning someone else. However I think it’s a productive message to be shared. I try to couch everything with ‘this is what I experienced’ rather than saying ‘you should do this and that’.
It wasn’t very long ago that a family member asked me, “so what made you decide to quit”. In keeping my response brief and to the point I shared that I didn’t want to be like my Dad with all his health issues.
Of course, my rationale at that time was highly simplified and abbreviated. But rattling off the litany of positives could easily been interpreted as proselytizing or a direct criticism and I really want to avoid that.
So some of you may debate whether this blog entry is proselytizing. I contend that, since the reader has the choice to tune in or turn away, it’s not.