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I quit drinking, now what?


ycmanvs
NO ALCOHOL FOR 5 MONTHS - Do I Feel...
NO ALCOHOL FOR 5 MONTHS - Do I Feel Different?

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I stopped drinking alcohol almost 2 months ago. I am not sure how to deal with all the changes that will mean in my life. I have gone to a couple of parties and managed to have conversations and not drink, but I felt like an outsider. Do you think this feeling will end at some point?

How about dating? I have not gone on any dates since I stopped drinking and I am not sure how I will handle myself.

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Congrats!! 2 months is a long time for a drinker. The feeling of being an outsider will end eventually. You will adjust to the changes, and it will be a common thing for you to pick up a pepsi. I'm not saying that having a beer won't cross your mind, but you won't feel akward about drinking something nonalcoholic. It will just wein its way into your head that you no longer do that any more. And as the dating thing, that will get better too. You just have to get up enough self esteem to do it. Try something generic.. like a movie, or dinner... something that doesn't really involve alcohol unless you want it to. The good girls that are the keepers normally don't fall for the fall down drunk anyway.

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you will get used to it. unfortunately, i'm not sure i could live without drinking sometimes.

 

Exactly, that is what got me to this point in the first place. There are certain times where you bond with people over a drink in a way that does not happen without it, and I am not sure how I will ever feel that way, but I am hoping that it is possible. I come from a culture where people drink all the time, so it is difficult to completely give it up....but I think it is the best thing to do in the long run.

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Where you a problematic drinker or did you decide it just shouldn't be a part of your life? I belong to that latter category and haven't drunk alcohol since (ehm... ) 2003? Usually people will think I am a bit odd for not drinking, but generally they really respect it. I am in a relationship for a couple of years with someone who has a similar opinion about alcohol, so it never affected by dating life. I really like it that we have the same ideas about it though. I used to have a bf who would 'brag' about getting drunk.

 

To come back to feeling an outsider, I have sort of gotten used to leaving evenings out at the stage where people get a bit annoying (when they are more than just a bit tipsy). The thing is that when you're drinking along with people, it's great fun, but to be the only sober one is just boring. I remember having 'very interesting' conversations about 'all kinds of topics' when tipsy, but now that I am the sober listener to similar conversations... hmmmm they seem quite boring. It's interesting to watch it as a process though. But definitely it will make you feel like an outsider. I don't mind that in fact. I don't have the morning after with the hangover, or the side effects it has on my liver and brain.

 

A couple of practical tips:

* order a drink that is not obviously non-alcoholic if you feel insecure. It's funny, I usually drink water or ice tea and people will generally think I am having some interesting cocktail (now this won't work on a date of course, just in bigger groups)

* don't focus on it. Make it your 'nature' not to drink, if you act weird about it, that will trigger more questions than when you act like it's the most normal thing in the world.

* and in a way, take pride in it. If people ask you why you don't drink, return the question with why they do. It has led me to interesting discussions, and you'd be surprised how defensive people get when they reveal how often and how much they drink.

 

Good luck!

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How could you not live wihtout alcohol?

 

I don't drink but all of my friends do. It's really not a big deal like you think it would be. It's easy not to drink--you just don't do it. When you go out with your friends, order a soda. If you're at a bar, order a soda. I do it. You won't be laughed at or ridiculed. I've been this way for years and none of my friends care. In fact, they really respect it.

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Exactly, that is what got me to this point in the first place. There are certain times where you bond with people over a drink in a way that does not happen without it, and I am not sure how I will ever feel that way, but I am hoping that it is possible. I come from a culture where people drink all the time, so it is difficult to completely give it up....but I think it is the best thing to do in the long run.

 

Your real friends are the ones you don't have to drink with.

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Exactly, that is what got me to this point in the first place. There are certain times where you bond with people over a drink in a way that does not happen without it, and I am not sure how I will ever feel that way, but I am hoping that it is possible. I come from a culture where people drink all the time, so it is difficult to completely give it up....but I think it is the best thing to do in the long run.

 

oh i know. i live in a busy city. it's a social thing more than anything. i've gone out without drinking. it was fricken boring.

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If you are not able to control your alcohol intake, then you have to put your health first and recognize that drinking a little is a slippery slope onto drinking a lot which brings a whole host of really negative things into your life.

 

You need to relearn how to be happy without alcohol. It is very common for you to feel 'flat' and like things aren't as enjoyable for a while, because you are used to being looped during all social activities. But you will learn how to be happy and have fun without alcohol, and to go to parties and have interesting conversations wtih people without a drink in your hand.

 

The truth is that a lot of people leave parties early before people get really drunk and stupid, because really drunk/stupid is only interesting to other drunks. So go enjoy the early parts of a party, then excuse yourself at 9 or 10 p.m. or whenever people get sloppy drunk.

 

Also start filling your life with healthy things and people. You can develop a lot of other hobbies that drinking precludes, like exercise, getting up early to enjoy breakfast (when you would have been hungover) and a host of other things. You will also find yourself making friends whose lives don't revolve around alcohol, and spend less time hanging out in bars etc.

 

There's a whole world out there to discover as a sober person, once you get out of the habit of drinking and pass the 'numb' stage that follows giving alcohol up. You have to wake up all your other senses and the ability to enjoy life straight on. It will take a while, but you will adjust.

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oh i know. i live in a busy city. it's a social thing more than anything. i've gone out without drinking. it was fricken boring.

 

Tht's b/c of the mindset you have. I have fun all the time without drinking. I live in a busy city as well and it's nothing. I always say I need to drink so I can have an excuse for the dumb stuff I do when I'm with my friends, b/c I always have fun!

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Well, for many years drinking was a very large part of my life. Most of my relationships, friendships, family events...etc...always revolved around drinking. I have taken breaks from alcohol before, but always knowing that I would drink again. This is the first time where I have decided that it is best not to drink at all, ever, if that is possible.

I am not sure how long it will take before I get used to it. I am naturally a very anxious, introverted person, who seems very cool, calm and collected on the outside, but who is a mess on the inside.

When I drink my personality changes and I become extroverted and outgoing. I also get more emotional. The problem is that in the past, I met my SO in that kind of state, so their expectations of me were set based on my behavior under the influence.

Somehow, I have to learn how to socialize and interact without drinking. I have never been single and sober before, so this is a big change for me.

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It sounds like you were 'self medicating' with alcohol to relieve social anxiety and shyness. That is very common, but alcohol of course has such a huge downside that it isn't a good solution.

 

Have you ever been evaluated by a counselor for the anxiety? perhaps you can learn techniques to manage the anxiety, and if it is severe enough, get the proper medication for it rather than self medicating with alcohol. so the answer here might be learning some techinques to manage your social anxiety, so that you relax enough to have fun, but not with the negative effects of alcohol attached.

 

There are anxiety disorders, and perhaps you might need a little help with that, and it might be a great thing to get checked out.

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Tht's b/c of the mindset you have. I have fun all the time without drinking. I live in a busy city as well and it's nothing. I always say I need to drink so I can have an excuse for the dumb stuff I do when I'm with my friends, b/c I always have fun!

 

i like when i have to get up early in the morning and i go out with the plan on having a beer or two. then i end up getting like 5 shots, 15 beers and being blasted. eesh.

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I stopped drinking alcohol almost 2 months ago. I am not sure how to deal with all the changes that will mean in my life. I have gone to a couple of parties and managed to have conversations and not drink, but I felt like an outsider. Do you think this feeling will end at some point?

How about dating? I have not gone on any dates since I stopped drinking and I am not sure how I will handle myself.

 

The feeling wears off definitely. I am at almost three months, and while at first it was kinda hard to socialize, you become used to it. It really helps your conversational skills too. Dating is probably best to do sober at first. Would you really want to meet someone drunk, and then realise you can only deal woth them while you are drunk? Naaaah. Hang in there and dont over analyze things.

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i like when i have to get up early in the morning and i go out with the plan on having a beer or two. then i end up getting like 5 shots, 15 beers and being blasted. eesh.
that happens to me. But i go out saying im only gonna have a beer..then i end up having a crap load of vodka
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The feeling wears off definitely. I am at almost three months, and while at first it was kinda hard to socialize, you become used to it. It really helps your conversational skills too. Dating is probably best to do sober at first. Would you really want to meet someone drunk, and then realise you can only deal woth them while you are drunk? Naaaah. Hang in there and dont over analyze things.
Very true, i tried to fix things with my ex but got drunk before she got to my house for a party we had, and she told me not to drink, lets just say i runied everything and we havent talked since. but i have nobody to blame but myself
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I have never had a problem with drinking. But, when I was younger, I used to drink at parties and such. I just decided to stop drinking at all a few years ago, just like I stopped smoking. It wasn't hard. Life is SO MUCH BETTER SOBER! I make less mistakes, I know how to socialize even better than I did before, people know the real me and like it much better, and I never have to apologize the next day for the stuff I did while drinking. I came to the conclusion that I would never drink again, and I haven't.

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Yes, I have been diagnosed with anxiety and I have had prescriptions for medications such as valium, xanax, ativan, etc. but these are highly addictive and I prefer not to take them, unless there is a major crisis or something that would be almost impossible to handle. The drinking was more "socially acceptable" than the meds, so I got away with it for many years. Now, I decided to stop. I've had cognitive therapy. I have the tools. I just need to use them and have faith that I will be able to function. It is a transition period for me, in many ways, but I am hoping that it all works out in the end.

As some of you know, from my other threads, I have been dealing with various stressful events for the past few months and trying to deal with them in a healthier way. This is not fun for me.

I will be ok eventually, but getting there is difficult.

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yc, we are somewhat in the same position... I stopped drinking a little over a month ago. I'm saying it's for a year but it may be permanent.

 

I am not socially anxious per se. I think I drank more out of boredom and solidarity. So social events have actually been better for me because I am comfortable talking anyway, and I feel more in control when I don't drink.

 

I also went out on my first sober date ever a couple of weeks ago. It went better than any other date has in a long time, and I attribute that to drinking. I didn't have two glasses of wine and start putting the guy on some pedestal, for instance.

 

From what I've read of your other posts and this one, I think you are making a really great decision. I think this will give you a clarity that you seem to be looking for.

 

Good luck, if you want to pm feel free!

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Thankfully, I've never been one to fall victim to alcohol. I've always thought getting drunk was a pretty stupid, pointless exercise that just made you look like an idiot. The fact my X was a nasty, mean, binge drinker only solidified my feelings.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like alcohol but I've never used it to lubricate social awkwardness or anything. I can give or take, really. I drink mostly when I'm visiting family, but even then, no one abuses it. My dad always offers me a beer or a nice chilled shot of good tequila. I love wine and wine tasting but we haven't had a bottle of alcohol in the house in months. But if I have beer in the house, I usually would have one in the afternoon with dinner or while working on my motorcycle/car.

 

I think it's a problem when someone NEEDS to have it to get through ANY situation.

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