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managing the romantic feelings toward alcohol

Old 05-06-2013, 08:18 AM
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managing the romantic feelings toward alcohol

My addiction is pretty much completely mental, and I find what helps the most is rationalizing and trying to make sense of why I am so frightened by sobriety. I think about how I looked at sober people -- with pity, confusion, and disdain. I realize that was the addict in me, but still I'm nervous that people will look at ME that way now, that I will somehow be the reason they are not having fun, (and I am pretty much resigned to the notion that I will never have fun again). God, that's a pathetic way to think. I'm worried I will never meet someone romantically and develop a relationship sober. Again, I realize that is absurd. I'm 34 and have been drinking and/or doing some mind altering substance since I was 15. I also quit smoking four months ago, which I picked up around the same time. Happy to be here and appreciate your thoughts.

Brian
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:37 AM
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I know what you mean... For the past few years I sort of defined my social presence with alcohol. When I order a shot at the bar, I always hear a couple "Matt's getting SHOTS, now things will liven up a bit..." and etc.

Not a hardcore party animal, but I just got way more chatty and funny when drunk, and I worry that I won't be able to express myself in the same way without the liquor. I'm pretty shy and anxious when sober, so I also worry about trying to seek out romantic relationships while... stone cold dry.

The theory that I've been relying on is: alcohol doesn't create something in your personality that didn't exist before, it simply peels away the inhibition. So I've still got that potential for unleashing the chatty, outgoing, crazy FUN side of me. It's just a little harder to dig it out of the sand without some liquid courage.

Hang in there, rock and roll, take it one step at a time.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:47 AM
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Yes, same here. I also struggle with social anxiety, and I'm pretty reserved when I'm sober. When I drink, I verbalize what I only think when I'm sober, so I am a fun person even when I'm sober... I just keep it to myself out of fear, of judgement, or just fear in general. I lose inhibitions and the fear when I'm drunk, so I guess I need to work on how to do that when I'm sober once I finally quit.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:00 AM
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I really believed it was impossible to have fun sober or be able to socialise at all without drinking a few just to take 'the edge' off my nerves.

That really was my addiction talking. Since I got sober I've discovered that I'm actually quite a quiet person, not that loud drunk that I thought was highly amusing! I cringe now at the memories of how I must have appeared to others when I was out. I thought I was the life and soul of the party, but in fact I was a shy socially awkward woman who after drinking turned into a shamefully outrageous and unpredictable drunk. Not pretty.

I've accepted myself for who I am now. I'm just me. I don't like crowds, I find it hard to engage in small talk. I prefer being with 1 or 2 close friends where I can talk without having to shout across a room.

And yes, I really laugh, I have fun without waking up with gaps in my memory from the night before. No guilt, no trips to hospital to be stitched up, no embarrassing messages on my phone, no shame.

I like my sober self much better than I liked the drunk one x
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:22 AM
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Hi cb,
Just wanted to say I can related to worrying about what others will think about me not drinking. I realized that the only ones who notice or care are other heavy drinkers! Think about it, for "normal" people, it's not a central issue, and someone not drinking is considered completely normal. It's only not normal if you're an alcoholic, so only other alkies will notice. I know I always noticed if someone was a non-driner, and yes, I assumed they were no fun, but that's because I'm an alcoholic...no one else there probably even noticed the non-drinker! Anyway.
As far as the feelings towards alcohol...oh yes. It was part of all the good times, of course. BBQs, holidays, beaches, pools, vacations...of course we romanticize it. I'll share a link that was a life-changer for me. You may not relate to it like I did, but it's a very interesting description, in part, of the development of those "romantic feelings" towards alcohol. (Parts 5 and especially 6.) Factors
"If the person wants to celebrate, reward himself, console himself, party, flirt, have sex, etc, alcohol is used. The person also begins to recognise alcohol as a means to deal with emotions such as anger, guilt, fear, jealously, joy, by responding to them, giving vent to them or by repressing them. They learn that alcohol can facilitate and change emotions. It gradually becomes a universal tool. It is used as a stimulant, a comforter, a reward, an inspirer, a facilitator, etc. Where the person has deeply unresolved psychological problems from youth and adolescence, alcohol can be the means to anaesthetize and neglect their resolution. In the inappropriately individuated adult alcohol becomes a flexible vacuum-filler. The substance substitutes for the healthy resolution of unresolved conflicts and maturation needs e.g,. to integrate the mother and father figures, to overcome childhood traumas, deal with difficulties in social or intimate relationships, etc., alcohol steps into the breach. It becomes a friend, confidant, coach, lover. Gradually, it becomes part of the Self..."
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:34 AM
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Man, I can completely relate to every post on this thread! Thanks for posting, it's interesting to see what others say about it.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:36 AM
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Hi Brian, thanks for writing that down as I also struggled (and continue to) with those thoughts fairly regularly. I also had resigned myself to the fact that I would never again have fun without a drink and become some shut-in, antisocial, person who would not only never have fun again...but never have a romantic relationship again either. But what others above are saying is correct, especially Jeni's very insightful comments. I am only three months in but I have found that I am beginning to get a good handle on my real personality sans booze and, really, it's not so bad. I was never a party animal either but enjoyed the wonderful lubrication booze provided to get me to be just a little more wild, a little more funny, a little more...well, more, I suppose. But I am discovering that there are actually parts of myself that I like much more sober. Like the ability to really laugh and also, as said above, discover things about me that are more true than the things I thought about myself when I was drinking (such as liking being with fewer people rather than more, getting to really know someone without the alcohol filter, etc.)

As far as romantic relationships, I am also terrified because for at least the past five or seven years, I have not really had a relationship with someone that did not involve alcohol. But, looking back, most of the decisions I made to both get into and stay involved in those relationships were not always good ones. I never got the chance to know those people and never gave them a chance to know me without booze. I thought differently at the time, of course, but the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that I would like to have a chance at a relationship without the filter of alcohol. Sure, it's going to be harder to meet people because I am not nearly as outgoing when I am not drinking but I also know now that if and when I do get into another relationship, sober, that the person is going to be seeing the real me. Not the boozed up me. Somehow that authenticity has an appeal even if it is terrifying at times.

Hang in there and trust that you will be able to have fun and meet people sober. I never believed it in the beginning and even now there are times when I am terrified without my liquid armor. But the moments I have had getting to know someone and being myself without the booze? Pretty damn priceless. Like Jeni said, I am finding I like the sober me much better than I liked the drunk me.

Give yourself a chance, it is not nearly as scary as your mind makes it out to be.
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