Would you heed this letter if you were a liquor store manager?
September 13, 2017 4:30 AM   Subscribe

I would appreciate any suggestions on this letter I intend to send to the 6 bottle shops within a mile (1.5km) of my abode that I frequent much more often than is good for me. Doing this was suggested by the facilitator and encouraged by my group therapy pals.

Without Prejudice

Dear Manager

I would like to ask for your assistance in banning me from patronising your premises and purchasing alcohol or tobacco from your outlet.

I have attached a picture of my face and would like you to share it with all of your current staff, some who are likely to recognise me, and also including any new staff, who may not recognise me.

Displaying my picture where other patrons could see it would cause me embarrassment and be harmful to me personally and professionally as I am a local and live nearby. Please do not do that.

So I am appealing to your good nature as a neighbour and citizen, your good judgement as a manager and as a responsible purveyor of alcohol, to aid me but without humiliating me in a public way, including on social media, by using your discretion in the practical application of this ban and ask the same of your employees.

For your information I like to drink alcohol and smoke but have medical advice that it is causing me real physical harm and I must stop.

Please assist me in being a healthy person by enforcing this voluntary self-ban.

Please do not sell me liquor, wine, beer, any alcoholic beverages, or cigarettes or tobacco products, ever again. Please instruct your employees to refuse me service under any circumstances.

This ban is perpetual, total and takes effect immediately.

If I am in your premises you or your employees must:

*Refuse to serve me;
*Ask me to leave and expect me to do so without any fuss;
*Cite this message if necessary;
*Call security if I refuse to leave or am reluctant, or appear intoxicated in any way.

I would like to say I have appreciated the good service of your employees over the last several years and wish you and them all the best.

I do not now or will ever hold you or your employees responsible for any health issues, or other issues, arising from my consumption of alcohol or tobacco products, including if or when this ban should fail to be enforced for any reason.

Please confirm your receipt and understanding of this message in good faith by way of reply.

Yours sincerely
My name
My phone number
posted by UnoDosTresEsto to Health & Fitness (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I received that letter - even if I wanted to do everything I could to help you - there's no way in hell I would acknowledge receipt and say I would assist you. That opens me up to too much potential liability.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:52 AM on September 13, 2017 [60 favorites]

This is too much to ask someone who is either running a business and working long hours or their (likely minimum-waged) employee. You are asking them to do unpaid work - adding an extra layer of “checking” to what they already do (assess that a customer is of age and not already intoxicated) which isn’t as easy as it sounds. They have to inform and train new employees on how to deal with you. You are adding a layer of anxiety - what do they do if you ARE intoxicated? What if you try to fight or argue? It’s not their job to police your drinking.

And you’re also asking them to add a permanent image to their working space. I wouldn’t want someone to put a photo or image on my desk that I didn’t choose myself, especially if it came with extra work and responsibility I wasn’t being paid for.

Don’t do this - it won’t work anyway, unless the owner of one of these shops is a friend already or owes you a favour, they’re not going to take on this responsibility and they shouldn’t have to feel guilty about telling you no.
posted by cilantro at 4:59 AM on September 13, 2017 [27 favorites]

Best answer: OP, I sympathise with you. I had similar problems in the past, myself. But I don't think this is appropriate. This is something you can probably -- probably -- ask of your SO, or closest friend but it's really not fair to ask random employees to police your purchases. You are putting everyone in a very uncomfortable position, especially if you decide you want to buy alcohol or tobacco.

Liquor store employees probably have a protocol for dealing with intoxicated or belligerent customers, they don't need your permission to call the police. Statements absolving staff of responsibility are similar; a note from you does not otherwise make this their problem. And asking the owners to include you as part of new employee training is really inappropriate.

I understand why your fellow group members would go along with this idea but I'm very surprised this was suggested by a professional. Rather than put this on the stores, I'd suggest calling one of them if you have the urge to drink or smoke.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:00 AM on September 13, 2017 [43 favorites]

There is no way that you should expect other people, basically strangers, to keep you from buying alcohol and tobacco.

Also, you say that you are a "local", and you have a reputation to uphold. What do you think the town gossips would do with a letter like this when it gets out? (and it WOULD get out!)

Good luck in your journey in sobriety, and better health, but stick to doing it on your own, and with your support group.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 5:02 AM on September 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I... don't know. It feels like a lot of burden to put on strangers.

I think I would be very hesitant. How do the shops know it is sent by you and not someone angry at you?

I'm not experienced with this, but I am not sure it's effective and maybe not even fair?
posted by frumiousb at 5:03 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wouldn't expect a response back.

Also note due to turnover, this may not be reliable, even if the person reads the letter and acts on it in good faith.

The question is for you what do you expect? What does this do for you?

If you are expecting others to stop you from drinking ultimately it will fail. You'll go to a different store , try different employees, break in, whatever. You stop you. You drink when you want to.

If you want to shame yourself into never showing up at those liqiour stores again because you would have feelings after sending that letter go for it. Maybe it's social anxiety for the win.

If you want to give yourself some time into thinking about drinking if a sudden urge strikes, this is a way to go about that. So five minutes later you can realize your on a bad path and get things sorted before the first drink.

So realistically, what do you expect? What do you want to be the ideal outcome to be?

Again, Even if you send the letter, don't expect anyone to actually stop you. Ultimately you do that, no one else.

As an LCSW (not currently doing substance work or group therapy) I would be hesitant to actually recommend this. But I'm not your therapist, and there are tons of different approaches. If you think this is going to work for you the important part is why? What feelings does this give you ? What security? Continue to talk to your group and therapist. Best of luck!
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:13 AM on September 13, 2017 [13 favorites]

If you were asking something like this of a day care worker or UPS driver, I'd be loath to endorse it as these workers are underpaid and overworked and their work is high-risk and pretty important. Liquor store workers aren't getting rich, necessarily, but the industry is high margin and not as crucial to society as child care or logistics, so I'd feel completely OK about asking the owners to shoulder a slight additional burden, especially for someone as highly motivated as you seem to be.

They can still say no, of course. However, the chances are good that there are workers who have already thought about refusing to sell to certain clients. This gives them permission to listen to themselves.
posted by amtho at 5:22 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I'm wondering whether a specific course of action is a good idea, I sometimes do a thought experiment: what would happen if not just me, but a lot of people did this? Would it be effective and not cause any harm? Would I feel good about the results?

If one person did this, and assuming that the store folks are willing to oblige... the employees might or might not remember one face.
If tons of people did this, store training for new employees would now include looking at photographs of tens or hundreds of people and memorizing their faces. Personally, I would not feel good about making them go through that trouble, for something that's ultimately for my benefit alone, and really my problem to solve, not theirs.

in other words, I would not send that letter... and if I were a store manager and received such a letter, I would feel sympathetic but probably ignore it anyway. I might think or mutter 'Buddy, I feel for you but this is your thing and I'm not up for making it mine, best of luck to you.'
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:23 AM on September 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

Best answer: If you are in the UK, there is a alcohol self-exclusion voluntary program that will provide a form for you to use if you live in one of the locales it serves. In the US, there is no such thing (although there is for casinos), and I think unless you live in a pretty small town, liquor store owners/managers are not going to want to engage with this.

I would Google "self-exclusion [your location]", it's possible your country or locality has a program like the UK's. (Maybe a local hospital known for its addiction treatment programs works with local liquor stores to exclude patients, for example.) But without an organized program like that, I think most store owners will be very, very reluctant to engage unless it's a very small town or they know you well.

I assume the idea and language is taken from voluntary self-exclusion programs for casinos in the US and/or alcohol in the UK. It's a fine idea! But those programs work because the databases are maintained by the government or a recognized charity, which takes a lot of the onus off individual shops and shifts the burden of tracking individuals to the government/charity. It also lets all stores act together, so one isn't disadvantaging itself competitively or opening itself to unusual liability. An individual acting alone doesn't provide those advantages.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:31 AM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I appreciate all the advice about "putting this pressure on strangers", but come on, these are shops that sell alcohol and have a legal requirement to supply it responsibly.

Liquor Act 2007
Page 55:
Self-exclusion of patrons from licensed premises
(1) A person (the participant) may request a licensee to enter into an agreement (a self-exclusion agreement) with the person under which the person agrees to be prevented from entering or remaining on the licensed premises specified in the agreement.
(2) A self-exclusion agreement is to be in the form approved by the Authority. The approved form may contain specified requirements that must be complied with in relation to such an agreement, including specifying the circumstances in which licensees are required to comply with a request to enter into an agreement. The approved form may also include provision for the manner in which a self-exclusion agreement may be terminated by the parties to the agreement.
(3) If a request is made by a person to enter into a self-exclusion agreement, the licensee must enter into the agreement if the circumstances in which the request is made comply with the circumstances specified in the form approved by the Authority.
(4) A self-exclusion agreement may, if the licensee who enters into the agreement is participating in a liquor accord, also apply in relation to any or all of the other licensed premises that are subject to the accord, but only if those other premises are specified in the agreement. In any such case, the licensee of each of the premises is taken to have entered into the agreement concerned.
(5) Each of the parties to a self-exclusion agreement is required to comply with the terms of the agreement.
Part 5 Regulation and control of licensed premises
(6) It is lawful for a responsible person for licensed premises specified in a self-exclusion agreement, using no more force than is reasonable in the circumstances:
(a) to prevent the participant from entering the licensed premises, and
(b) to remove the participant, or cause the participant to be removed, from the licensed premises.
(7) No civil or criminal liability is incurred by a responsible person for licensed premises to which a self-exclusion agreement relates (or, in the case of club premises, by the registered club itself):
(a) for any act done or omitted to be done in good faith, and in accordance with this section, to or in respect of the participant concerned, or (b) if the participant enters or remains on the licensed premises to which the agreement relates.
Disclaimers - I'm not a lawyer. I'm not Australian. The document is for NSW and may be different in your area. I'm not sure a bottle shop is covered by this but it's worth checking out.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:40 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I would think that the liability issues alone would dissuade any smart store owner from even acknowledging receipt of such a letter. What if, hypothetically, they do that (not even necessarily agreeing to go along with it, just acknowledging that they read it) and then you do manage to buy liquor there, drink it in the parking lot in your car, and then squash a pedestrian on the way home? Do they want to be named in that lawsuit? Do they want to expose their employees to that kind of risk? Hell no.

Any liquor store owner who knows what they're doing would shred such a letter immediately and never speak of it to anyone.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:42 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you want something to reinforce your commitment not to drink, there are other ways. You could go into an outpatient program that tests for alcohol, or attend AA meetings and announce your number of days sober. They won't ask you at AA to do this, or even ask if you have been drinking, but being part of a local group will put peer pressure on you. Someone will see you out there buying the alcohol. Plus, you will be able to give back by helping others stay stopped too.
posted by BibiRose at 5:46 AM on September 13, 2017

Best answer: I'm very sympathetic to the urge to send this, but I do not think you should send it as written. There's really no reasonable way for the stores to comply - you cannot expect them to train all employees reliably and in perpetuity on a special set of procedures for one specific customers. (And what if they do try, and one of them messes up - is that person going to get in trouble at work? Do you want to be responsible for that?)

I think the very outermost limit of what you could do is contact each store individually and ask to set up a meeting or phone call with the manager. You could express your general goal - to be forbidden from purchasing there - and ask them whether there's a way they can accommodate this. Maybe they already have their own self-exclusion process. Maybe there's some sort of "customers banned for bad behavior" list that could be adapted slightly to include you even though it's not quite meant for that. Each store's answer is probably going to be different but maybe some of them will have some way to make this happen based on their existing practices.

But you cannot expect them to put a new process together and accept new liability just for you, and I think it's unlikely that all the stores will be able to accommodate you with existing processes, so this can't be your first line of defense. I would put more of your effort into strengthening other lines of defense instead, in your shoes.
posted by Stacey at 5:47 AM on September 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

It's completely inappropriate to send this letter. The burden on managing your alcohol intake rests on you, not on businesses that sell alcohol. I mean, shit, should I write to my local Container Store and tell them to stop selling me fancy trash cans and filing systems and little bins that I don't need? Should I ask the people at my local Dunkin' Donuts to only sell me skim lattes and never more than one donut? After all, these things are bad for my finances and my health.

If you insist on violating social norms and sending this letter, you really need to tweak this part:

This ban is perpetual, total and takes effect immediately.

If I am in your premises you or your employees must:

*Refuse to serve me;
*Ask me to leave and expect me to do so without any fuss;
*Cite this message if necessary;
*Call security if I refuse to leave or am reluctant, or appear intoxicated in any way.

It reads as WAY too pushy right now. Language like "This ban would be perpetual and would take effect immediately" and "If I am in your premises it would mean a lot to me if your employees would..." could help soften it.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:55 AM on September 13, 2017 [16 favorites]

I think you're shifting responsibility from yourself to a stranger. This is not a good strategy for fixing your problem. Even if they all complied, you could just walk another mile further to a shop you didn't send a letter to. What then? Send a letter to every liquor store in the state? You need to find a system that works for you, where success is achieved by you, and the responsibility is not placed on a third party.
posted by trbrts at 5:58 AM on September 13, 2017 [27 favorites]

> I appreciate all the advice about "putting this pressure on strangers", but come on, these are shops that sell alcohol and have a legal requirement to supply it responsibly.

I appreciate your legal approach but come on, you're talking about adding a perpetual extra burden to already frazzled and probably ill-paid employees. Like most people are saying, this is not a good idea. The OP should find another way to keep from buying booze.
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on September 13, 2017 [9 favorites]

If you live in a place with self-exclusion laws, I think that's a great way of accomplishing what you want to accomplish with this letter (and I agree with others that it's unlikely to accomplish a larger goal of not drinking, however).

If you don't live in a place with self-exclusion laws, then you're asking store owners and employees to learn an entirely new protocol, which isn't really fair on them, and you're also asking them to become new holders of your secret without any prior training or expectation that that's part of their job, which isn't really fair on you, because I would suspect at least one employee at one store would share information (intentionally or not) that you didn't want shared. Without a larger normalized structure in place, you're relying entirely on the discretion of a lot of fairly random people with no stake in your privacy, and you're also doing the common alcoholic thing of asking other people to manage your secrets for you so that you don't lose face.
posted by lazuli at 6:15 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

FWIW, the poster is in Australia, which does appear to have self-exclusion laws.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:21 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think you're shifting responsibility from yourself to a stranger. This is not a good strategy for fixing your problem.

Agreed. And I sympathize that it's hard to find solutions to these sorts of problems. I would also add that it's a pretty common trait of problem drinkers that they can reflexively blame others for their problems which makes treatment such a tricky beast. I lived with an alcoholic parent my entire life. Near the end of his life, when his wife had left him, he would sit on the couch and angrily rail about how he had offered to stop drinking "for her" but she said no and what else was he supposed to do anyhow? I see this approach as

1. impractical - liquor stores have turnover and it's asking them to do more work because you have a problem
2. likely to get you into a "It's THEIR fault I continue to drink" mindset which isn't healthy.

I get that this is hard. I get that your conscious sober mind is grasping at straws trying to find ways to make this work for you, but ultimately finding a personal responsibility path (in whatever form that takes) will be the only realistic way you can make lasting change. I wish you luck moving forward with this but I don't think this is the way.
posted by jessamyn at 6:22 AM on September 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

If it is legal where you reside (and it appears to be, though I am in no way qualified to speak to that) then I would ask a professional, lawyer or otherwise, to help you draft your request in a way that complies with the law and does not potentially expose the employees or owners to any liability.

Do it right, have it greenlit by a lawyer or an addiction specialist who has done it before. As it stands you might be placing an unfair burden on those stores, depending on the verbiage of your letter.
posted by lydhre at 6:32 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the poster is in Australia, which does appear to have self-exclusion laws.

Then OP should file the appropriate form with the liquor stores. For example, here's the form NSW uses. Sending this letter is just... bizarre.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:34 AM on September 13, 2017 [14 favorites]

FWIW, the poster is in Australia, which does appear to have self-exclusion laws.

Most of them seem to be for casinos rather than liquor stores, though, so I'm not sure that's a given, depending on which state the poster's in.
posted by lazuli at 6:50 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's not bizarre, it's a natural idea to have after struggling with a problem for some time and trying to think of something, anything, that might help. So natural an idea, in fact, that it's been formalized and streamlined into the self-exclusion laws mentioned.
posted by amtho at 8:04 AM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

So natural an idea, in fact, that it's been formalized and streamlined into the self-exclusion laws mentioned.

And in Australia those self-exclusion laws come with approved forms for people like OP to use. Sending this weirdly overbearing and antagonistic letter to local businesses en lieu of an approved form is strange and unlikely be effective.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:32 AM on September 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have tended bar in several different establishments, in posh neighborhoods and in burnt out rust belt neighborhoods. I was never given a list or told of people not to serve.

Despite that I don't think the letter will change the behavior of these establishments, go ahead and send it. Almost everyone will just toss the letter, but it might give you the sense that people could be looking to toss you out.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:22 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think AA would be more help than your current therapy. This strategy will never work. Even if all the local places banned you, you can always find another and another way to get alcohol (e.g. bars, restaurants, etc.). Even if you really were able to make it impossible to buy alcohol where you live, what happens when you travel? The discipline has to be inside you.
posted by w0mbat at 9:33 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

OP, you're in incredible luck that a protocol for doing what you want actually seems to exist where you live. The letter you've drafted is outside this protocol, so don't do that. Use the self-exclusion protocol for your jurisdiction, if you're going to go this route. (I agree with several other posters that seeking to assign responsibility to others for your drinking is a losing proposition, though.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:49 AM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Let's imagine for a minute that this "works" insofar as the store owners posting this information where all their employees can see it.

Displaying my picture where other patrons could see it would cause me embarrassment and be harmful to me personally and professionally as I am a local and live nearby. Please do not do that.

You are relying on every employee of each liquor store to keep this secret for you. How much turnover is at these stores, and how professional do you feel each individual employee is? This isn't like health care where there's some sort of training on dealing with private info. What happens if one of them thinks it's funny to share a picture with friends? It could easily reach someone who knows you personally or professionally.

Just because you are sending an actual letter doesn't mean this can't end up on the internet.
posted by yohko at 9:49 AM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I agree with schroedingersgirl's comment on the tone issue. E.g., if you do send it, I'd change "This ban is perpetual, total and takes effect immediately" to read "I would request that this ban be perpetual..."

My question about it is, it's natural for humans to test boundaries, especially for some people. If you're relying on them to be your boundary, is it in your nature to want to try a purchase to see if the boundary is in place, or even to think "ooh, I wonder if I can get a purchase past the new person?" And wouldn't you just then find a new approach, like driving to the next store further out? But as AlexiaSky said, it kind of depends on your own psychology and reasoning.

I also wonder about how this would go over with the people who know you already. Having worked at a bar, I'd have felt really weird if one of the regulars wanted to no longer be served but then showed up one day asking for a pint. I'd probably have been less likely to say "no can do" and more likely to say "c'mon man, you said you didn't want to drink anymore." But if he then said something like, "I know, I just want one beer. It's been a long time so I'm a lot better now, and I need to celebrate this good thing that happened," I'd probably have given it one last "are you sure?" and then served him. These regulars became like friends, so I'd have been susceptible to trusting and respecting their statements. Every clerk will be differently of course. And now that I know more about addiction, I might handle it different than I would have back then. But since it was a voluntary thing, I'd probably have let him voluntarily undo it.

In any case, good luck! I hope you find a way to protect your health.
posted by salvia at 10:04 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I understand the impetus behind this, and I sympathize, but as others have said, this looks a lot like you are trying to make external entities responsible for your own personal decisions, and that's just not on, friend. Sometimes I think my life would be easier if I didn't have the freedom to visit the legal marijuana store as often as I do, or if I couldn't overdraw my bank account by spending money I don't have on frivolous things I don't need. But because I am an adult in sound mind, who doesn't meet the requirements in my area for taking away someone's free will by blocking access to their assets and putting them under a legal guardianship for mental health reasons (you know, like they've done to Britney Spears), the responsibility for these things falls to me.

If there is a self-exclusion mechanism in your area that you can use to achieve this, as has been mentioned upthread, then by all means follow the established pathway to get that in place for yourself. But this... no, friend. And maybe consider a different therapy group that doesn't encourage folks to evade responsibility for themselves like this, because this is frankly a terrible method of problem solving.
posted by palomar at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: For a slightly different perspective, I work in a coffee shop, with a lot of regular customers. Many of them are concerned about calories and often go on diets, and tell me about it. But if one of them asked me not to sell them lattes even if they asked for them, I'd be very uncomfortable, and wouldn't want to do it. Because it's not my job to manage their diets, it's my job to sell them what they order. I would be annoyed to even be put in the position of having to say "I can't do that," even if it's a regular customer I chat with every day.

I don't think you should send that letter, certainly don't send it cold. I think it would be reasonable to call these stores and ask if they have any sort of self-exclusion policy, or if something like that would be a possibility, but don't do it just by sending that letter, and then putting the burden on them to respond to you, and don't be at all surprised if they aren't willing to do something like this.

And I'm sure you well know, if you want to drink, you will find a way. You really need to put the responsibility squarely on your own shoulders.
posted by catatethebird at 11:23 AM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've managed establishments that serve alcohol and I would never, ever acknowledge receipt of this letter or attempt to heed it, and neither would the owners of said establishments. I understand why you'd want to do this, but I gently suggest that this is the wrong path to go down.

If you really want to be banned from these establishments, you'd have to go into each one, and do something really terrible that would also get the police called on you, and even then it wouldn't be a guarantee. I don't recommend that, though!
posted by destructive cactus at 11:43 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I absolutely understand the desire to do this. When I was in the early days of sobriety, I really wanted there to be a way to put "Don't sell me alcohol" on my license. (Never could find it in the US; it's neat that this is an option in some locations.) I still don't think you should send this letter, for all the reasons cited above, but I totally get the impulse. If there is an alcohol exclusion procedure where you live, than that's a great alternative.

One other idea:

IANAD/IANYD/IANYTherapist or anything like that, but when I finally got serious about being sober after some not so successful previous attempts, I begged my doctor to put me on Antabuse (generic is disulfiram), and I've been taking that for years now. It won't help with cravings or anything like that the way a drug like Naltrexone would, but it will make you incredibly sick if you try to drink while you're on it. It's something to think carefully about with your doctor/sponsor /therapist etc, because the consequences of drinking while on it are very serious (from wiki):
Disulfiram plus alcohol, even small amounts, produce flushing, throbbing in head and neck, throbbing headache, respiratory difficulty, nausea, copious vomiting, sweating, thirst, chest pain, palpitation, dyspnea, hyperventilation, tachycardia, hypotension, syncope, marked uneasiness, weakness, vertigo, blurred vision, and confusion. In severe reactions there may be respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, acute congestive heart failure, unconsciousness, convulsions, and death"
Of course, you could stop taking it any time, but for me, I know that I can be very impulsive, so my big fear was getting into a situation where in that moment I said, "Screw it, I'll have a drink" which is how my last relapse happened. Honestly, the main reason I take it is for peace of mind. It's comforting knowing that even if I wanted to drink, I couldn't. It also can stay in your system for up to 2 weeks, so it's not like skipping it for one day means you can go out and drink.

Anyway, once again, IANAD, IANYD, I don't even know if this is available wherever you live, or if it would be contraindicated in your situation, but I just wanted to mention it.

With that being said, even if you could get yourself banned from all the bars and liquor stores and even if your doctor does prescribe a medication like antabuse, none of this is a silver bullet. There will always be a way around these roadblocks, and none of this will make quitting drinking easy. But it's definitely possible, and it gets easier. I've been sober for a little over 6 years now, and even though I still take antabuse every day, drinking is just not something I think about hardly ever. So it does get easier.

Quitting smoking took a little while longer than quitting drinking for me. I did quit smoking several years ago, but I've fallen in and out of the nicotine gum habit, so I can't claim to have fully kicked that habit. Of course, my lungs are much happier now, but depending on your health issues, I don't know how well nicotine replacement would work for you.

Good luck!
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:06 PM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I wouldn't heed the letter either, because what you're dealing with is an issue of personal responsibility as already mentioned.

It doesn't really matter how unhealthy the booze and tobacco is for you. They are your problems. No one else's. So if you're serious about staying away from the shit, you have make different choices.

What I would recommend, as a recovering alcoholic myself, is to figure out a way to stay out of the liquor stores to begin with (however you want to do that). Because you will continue to drink as long as you are around the stores. It's inevitable. There's a saying among drunks, "If you keep walking into a barbershop, you're gonna get a haircut."
posted by strelitzia at 12:07 PM on September 13, 2017

Best answer: One other danger occurs to me: What if a store agreed to this, and then an employee refused to serve someone who looks like you? Can o'worms there, whew!
Check into Naltrexone. Some AskMefi discussions, if I recall. Also on the web, in particular the Atlantic article about the Finland method. It's not a magic pill, but if its goal of transitioning from heavy to moderate to minimal drinking is acceptable, it could be your best bet. It is for me.
posted by LonnieK at 1:02 PM on September 13, 2017

Best answer: I would ask a professional, lawyer or otherwise, to help you draft your request in a way that complies with the law and does not potentially expose the employees or owners to any liability.

While I'm not your lawyer, OP, and I'm not licensed to practice law in Australia, I am licensed in the United States and I'm willing to venture a guess that legal practice in Australia is similar enough that any such lawyer will tell you right off the bat: "If you're hiring me, then I'm your lawyer, not the liquor store owner's lawyer, and I'm more concerned with how this letter could affect your liability."

You apparently have a drinking problem. Okay. Do you drive? Do you have any kind of temper, that might result in property damage or even violence? Nobody expects to be charged with a crime or sued for damages resulting from their misbehavior—but it happens, and it happens more often to people with drinking problems. If it happens to you, and you find yourself charged or sued...on that day, are you going to be glad this letter is floating around out there?

I hope you get help, and personally I think alcohol-related misbehavior is woefully underpunished so I have no interest in encouraging you to "get away with" anything. But you're asking in good faith for AskMe's help, and somebody suggested that you consult with a lawyer, and I suspect this is a topic that lawyer will quickly broach: might this letter hurt future-you?
posted by cribcage at 1:28 PM on September 13, 2017

As someone who was a bartender, I used to field requests like this from patrons. I clearly and categorically refused because I've seen patrons get belligerent, abusive, and violent when kindly reminded that they were not welcome at their own request. Frankly, I had no way to tell who was going to be a danger to me or other patrons as everyone who asks this sort of favor is so earnest and genuine when they ask. That's no guarantee that they won't turn on a dime when it comes time to be confronted. There's a level of potential risk that you're asking a stranger to take on that's just not reasonable. Even if you're not the type to get angry or violent, how does a clerk know that for sure? They don't.
posted by quince at 3:29 PM on September 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I do want to comment I live in a place where self exclusion is unheard of.

Even if you don't send the letter, this excersize can be really valuable for you. It can reflect what you want from the world. What you want society to be like, how you want to be treated. It also shows what type of responsibility you expect from yourself and others.

So I encourage you not to put this down, but to critically think about it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:45 PM on September 13, 2017

Best answer: i bartended for quite a while. i know only two guys who cut themselves off. both were ten-year+ regulars and made private one on one requests to the bar manager.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:29 PM on September 13, 2017

Best answer: I would suspect an enemy of yours is trying to defame your character and I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I agree that the exercise of writing such a letter is really for you. Maybe reflect on all of the reasons why none of those people can ever really be counted on to help you; only you, perhaps with moral support from friends, can help you.
posted by Miko at 5:21 PM on September 13, 2017

Response by poster: Great advice, thanks everyone. I'm not sending any letter but the exercise has been beneficial as has going through your replies.
posted by UnoDosTresEsto at 12:48 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

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