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Honestly, I could dedicate my life to A.A meetings, support groups, rehab..everything. I could get the best advice, hit rock bottom and WANT to get better so BAD.

As long as you see it as "want to get better" instead of "must take control in other to get better" you are not at rock-bottom.

But what do I do when I go out to a restaurant with some friends and they absolutely won't take no for an answer when I tell them I don't want to drink?

Go to the front desk and have the staff call a cab for you.

But when your in a crowd, you can't always have control over who is there.

That is a lie. A person who is not physically or forcibly constrained can control whether she is in this hypothetical crowd, or not. That is the only control on "crowd" membership you are ever entitled to.

Even if I say NO the first time, all it takes is someone urging me to drink for me to give in.

In so doing, you teach the people around you that "No" really means "Yes."

I know myself too well.

...

How can I get over a seemingly hopeless cycle?

After such a thorough rundown of why you think you should be encouraged to stay an alcoholic, I don't see much use in answering a rhetorical question that has an obvious answer.

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You have to be master of your relations with people. Be firm. Tell them "I'm cutting out drinking. I expect you to respect my desire to stay healthy, thank you."

If they don't respect you, then they aren't the kind of people you want for friends. Truly.

Its not at all unusual for it to be difficult to say no to that first drink. After all, it's going to taste sooo good. The letting your hair down, laughing it up, enjoying the company... then that 3rd, 4th drink....etc.

Putting yourself in situations where you are going to fail is bad headwork. It may be people who pressure you to drink; or just being AROUND people who are drinking; or being in places that set the atmosphere for you to drink. You know what works and doesn't work for you. Choose wisely.

best. a.m.

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Is the problem your friends insistence that your drink, or that you're not committed to giving it up anyway? The two are separate. Your friends are not responsible for keeping you sober, YOU are.

I have to spend time occasionally with relatives who have alcohol issues themselves and are very pushy about drinking. I tell them that I do not drink, refuse to elaborate (if you give a reason it implies that you need to justify yourself and you're willing to negotiate) and if it is pushed, I leave. They don't respect my choice? They don't get my company. It's hard when your crowd are all heavy drinkers. But would you want such people in your sober life anyway? How would you relate, would they fit?

Better to figure out if you can socialize in a different environment where drink is not an issue, or if you need to spend your time finding new, sober friends.

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You can only control yourself. If you don't stand firm, you tell others that you're not serious about it. Believe me, you show others how to treat you by your actions everyday. If you abstain and don't falter, you'll know who your real friends are. Why waste time with people who won't support you anyway?

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