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Peer Pressure/Social Skills

Old 09-20-2008, 07:56 AM
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Peer Pressure/Social Skills

On these boards, and in life, I often hear people speak of peer pressure: "Well, they were all drinking, and it would have been weird if I didn't", etc.

Let me tell you something. It has NOTHING to do with alcohol. It comes down to a matter of social skills.

If you have poor social skills, people will give you a hard time if you drink; they will give you a hard time if you don't drink.

If you have superior social skills, people will respect you if you drink; they will respect you if you don't drink.

AND, if you have very well developed social skills, and I've seen this happen, you can choose not drink, and the other drinkers will want to copy you. They'll copy appropriate other elements of your personality for themselves.
This, however, comes only with true social mastery.

For most of us, the simple problem of abstaining while others are drinking can be solved if we will take a systematic approach to overhauling our social skills. In the end, this will make sobriety that much more likely.
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Old 09-20-2008, 10:03 AM
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When I arrived in recovery it was after 24 years of drinking and 22 of those alcoholically. The last 1 1/2 years I lived the streets, and by the time I entered the rooms of AA the only 'friends' I had left were my homeless drinking buddies and I had NO social skills left at all, I was literally an animal.

Fortunately for this alkie, back then AA was the only game in town, and they LOVED me unconditionally back to health. They TAUGHT me how to act again, how to communicate without every other word being the F word. They taught me how to dress again, jeans and tank top really aren't appropriate for job interviews, rofl and...............I stayed close to my new friends, very very very close.

The further away I got from my last drink, the more I started to realize that NOT EVERYBODY drinks, lol Started going to nice restaurants, would watch other tables and see many like ours where no one was drinking alcohol, or tables where someone had ordered a glass of wine with their meal and only drank 1/2 of it, lmao. The skills I was raised with ere returning and continued to return.

I also learned that I had CHOICES today. I could choose to go to a wedding or not, I could choose to go to a concert or not (yes have been to many in sobriety), I had CHOICES. Got a job I liked, still felt uncomfortable, so did a lot of WATCHING of those I admired, and saw what I admired, and started putting it into practice.

Sobriety to me is not about stopping drinking and/or using. Sobriety to me is about staying stopped and living LIFE on lifes terms without chemicals that alternate my thinking capabilities. Sobriety is practice, practice, practice, of those 'social skills' that we all need to be 'civilized.'

Sobriety has also given me a life I NEVER DREAMED WAS POSSIBLE.

J M H O

Thanks for this thread.

Love and hugs,
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Old 09-20-2008, 06:07 PM
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I started using when I was 13, when I stopeed I had no developed social or other skills.

What I know today is that I have a disease of addiction and that by applying a simple daily program I am free from thr chains of addictiona nad am now learning to live life (skills) on lifes terms, as well agetting to know myself and accept life as it is at the moment.

Kevin
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:03 PM
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Thomassober, what a great post! Confidence is the key. I swear, people can smell it when they know you're waffling. I put up a good front when I need to. Sometimes I'm feeling so good I don't have to put up a front. It took me a long time to gain confidence in my social skills. I'm not perfect...I still have a long way to go. I find that humor, when used effectively, helps me greatly.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:39 PM
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you know i've been in recovery 16 mos and being wishy washy is one of my book of charactor defects thats been the hardest to break.i developed my confidence to say know by changing whats in front of me. if anyone asks if i want a drink?(i picture the drink as one of my exes)so when i say no-thank you!it comes across clear and confident (plus i'll have a are you nuts smile on my face that that tells them dont even ask agian im definately not interested)this helps me threw situations im awkward and wishy washy in.and im glad in the end because it works when my social skills havent.thanks 4 letting me share.good topic.
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:32 PM
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If I was blessed with average or above average social skills I wouldn't have needed Alcohol in order to socialize. Alcohol was a confidence builder that I needed to face the rest of the world. When Alcohol stopped working I withdrew from society because I felt that I didn't belong.
I seriously doubt that there's many Alcoholics that are of the Social Butterfly caliber when they're not drinking. Mainly becaues high self esteem isn't an asset that many Alcoholics have.
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Old 09-21-2008, 06:50 AM
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Yeah, Pinkcuda. I actually have very low self-esteem. I've spent the last several years (drunk or not) working on my confidence. I've come a long way, but I still have miles to go.

Mostly I drank to deal with depression (which of course alcohol makes it worse in the end).
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:55 AM
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With 2 exceptions, I drank every single day for 35 years....at home, alone. My social skills were fine! In fact, noone knew/knows how much I'm capable of downing.

I was my own worst enemy.

Jeez, that's hard to type!
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:36 AM
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After a few months of sobriety, I told my sponsor that I was getting frustrated, feeling like I did not fit in with the AA fellowship. His immediate response was "of course, that's why we used to drink!"

More and more, for the first time in my life I am feeling comfortable in my own skin. I am a part of the human race, not outside looking in. At ease in social situations, just being myself, speaking from my heart. It's an amazing feeling! Quitting drinking was the necessary beginning but for me, it requires patience and practice. Still a work in progress!
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