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Old 02-08-2016, 09:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I drink to cope with social anxiety


Hello,

I am wondering if anyone else drinks for this reason? Drinking to cope with social anxiety means that I am drunk all day. Even during fitness classes! The main social situations in my life are college classes, extracurricular fitness classes like tennis and yoga, and occasionally going out on weekends with friends. I carry a plastic water bottle filled with vodka everywhere I go. No body knows the extent of my problem. I have been drinking like this for 3 to 4 years. I am 24 years old.

The 'positive' part of my drinking is that it makes me more social and outgoing so I have made friends and boyfriends, whereas in my previous sober life I never had those things. The negatives of my drinking is that I now have to be secretly drunk around these people every time I see them (if they call me I'll actually ignore it, get drunk then call them back), my health is deteriorating, I have no direction in life, failing classes, and my anxiety and depression is getting worse. I am currently going through withdrawal from a heavy night of drinking last night, and I'm noticing withdrawal symptoms getting worse and more common in recent months. You could say I'm a 'functioning' alcoholic on the outside but on the inside I'm a very hurt, insecure and anxious person with many issues. I know most of them are caused by drinking and that the only way to improve my life is to stop.

But how do I face social situations sober? I can't even imagine going to class without drinking! I even drink when I go get my car serviced or anywhere where I know there will be prolonged talking. I get drunk to ease embarrassing situations like walking in late to class, I especially drink around people I'm intimidated by or that I find attractive. I am so insecure that I want to come across as a fun loving talkative person at any cost. Without alcohol I am extremely shy and awkward. My friends have no idea that I'm drunk when I'm with them, they have in fact never seen me sober. I feel like it is harder to be sober when drinking is caused by social situations because my triggers are everywhere, including places I can't avoid (like school).
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think if you read around this forum a bit, you will find that many alcoholics blame their drinking on social anxiety.

A social setting might be a good way to overcome your anxiety and alcohol problems. Have you ever thought of going to an AA meeting?
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR! This is a great place for support.

Many of us have been drinking to deal with social anxiety, myself included. It worked for a while, until it didn't anymore. With the amounts of alcohol you are consuming, I think it might be a good idea to reach out for medical help to detox.

You're saying that "a positive note" is that you're getting more outgoing. Well I was too, until I instead isolated myself competely and had to relearn how to interact socially. Maybe you also would like to talk to a councelor about your social anxiety and find some help to be able to go to school sober.

You are young and can get through this to lead a good and sober life! Stick around!
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A1000,

Hi.

Anyone above the age of 10 knows what booze smells like.

Especially other drunks. You are not fooling most.

Vodka reeks strongly.

If you need a dr., see one. Then... consider yourself lucky you found this place at such a young age. It will save your life if you let it.

Alcohol is poison. Don't believe the hype.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome Alcoholic1000, glad you are here & posting. I suffer from social anxiety & am sure I used alcohol as a way to feel more at ease in social situation which worked for awhile until it didn't & clearly caused me more trouble in social situations than was helpful. It's a learning process now in sobriety but my life is far, far better than in active addiction & im learning who the genuine me is & know that I will be liked & loved for the genuine me. Heavy alcohol use certain wasn't helping my anxiety, I still experience it, but much less extreme than when I was drinking. Read & post here....you will find much support & encouragement here!!
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome Alcoholic
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A1000,

Hi.

Anyone above the age of 10 knows what booze smells like.

Especially other drunks. You are not fooling most.

Vodka reeks strongly.

If you need a dr., see one. Then... consider yourself lucky you found this place at such a young age. It will save your life if you let it.

Alcohol is poison. Don't believe the hype.
Really? Goodness, the embarrassment thinking that people might be smelling alcohol on me really stings. But no one has said anything to me about it in all these years unless they have seen my 'water' bottle. But regardless it's all the more motivation to stop. I would rather be awkward socially and know that at least I'm sober than be the most popular person in the world at the cost of my life.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome Alcoholic 1000

I think a lot of us drank, at least partly, because of social anxiety.

The problem for me was I couldn't stop drinking and I often ended the night an obnoxious embarrassment.

as time wore on I not only had the original social anxiety but also the anxiety of 'needing' a drink to contend with.

I don;t think there's any quick solution to social anxiety - I've had some success with exercise and breathing techniques, a little counselling, and simply growing older and a little more sure of myself.

I think you'll surprise yourself with what you can do with a little dedication and effort - I did

I do know one thing tho and that's that alcohol is no answer. I'm glad you've joined us

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Old 02-08-2016, 10:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Being drunk doesn't make you better at socializing, it just kills the anxiety (temporarily) which allows you to feel as though socializing is easier. The bad thing is that drinking is unpredictable and dangerous to our health and mind and its not a sustainable way to live your life.

I also drank to ease social pressure (initially).

In the end I just drank at home, alone, a lot. So it was fools gold.

Socializing sober is awesome. I feel like I have a super power when I am at a dinner, a bar, or a club and everyone is mentally slow and I'm just full force myself and who I am and loving it. It takes time, and maybe some practice, but you can get there.

I absolutely PROMISE you it can be way better.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Failing classes, deteriorating health, and no direction in kife doesn't sound very "functioning" to me. Some alcoholics, like myself have never actually dealt with the regular stresses of life because instead of actually feelimg fear or insecurities we drank instead. The good news is that it is normal to feel like that. I am also sometimes shy, but that is what makes me ME. As I move forward in my recovery I feel more and more comfortable in my own skin and you will too as long as you put down the drink and make a decision to change your life(and have enough honesty, openmindedness, and willingness) to work a program of some sort, whatwver that is. Have you considerered going to AA? I myself go to AA meetings and I also come onto SR to check the forums. That's what works best for me. Would love to see you give it a good shot. Sobriety is wonderful and if I can do it so can you.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just to add to the already excellent responses here with a reminder that alcohol addiction is progressive. It never gets better over time -- only worse.

Need more and more alcohol to achieve the same amount of relaxed feeling? That's called tolerance. The withdrawal symptoms you're starting to experience when you abstain will only grow more severe the longer you drink. That's called dependence. Neither gets better on their own. They don't even level out. They only get worse the longer you drink.

The good news is that it's totally possible to stop drinking and to combat social anxiety without artificial aids like alcohol. Read around this site and you'll find many examples of successes. You can do it!

Glad you're here -- you've come to the right place.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Being drunk doesn't make you better at socializing, it just kills the anxiety (temporarily) which allows you to feel as though socializing is easier. The bad thing is that drinking is unpredictable and dangerous to our health and mind and its not a sustainable way to live your life.

I also drank to ease social pressure (initially).

In the end I just drank at home, alone, a lot. So it was fools gold.

Socializing sober is awesome. I feel like I have a super power when I am at a dinner, a bar, or a club and everyone is mentally slow and I'm just full force myself and who I am and loving it. It takes time, and maybe some practice, but you can get there.

I absolutely PROMISE you it can be way better.
With me too I'm noticing I'm starting to drink alone too to cure boredom. But for a while I thought I had control because I purely drank alcohol in social situations, never alone , not to have fun or go crazy (I have to act sober) and I never craved it...I thought of it like medicine...but it's getting worse. And what really is pushing me to change is realizing that I don't even really like these people that I call friends. My friendships are often shallow and fall apart eventually and I fail at all romantic relationships. I don't act like myself and I'm not relaxed. So wtf is the point? But then again I'm worried I may revert to my old sober life where I had no friends and never left the house. Of course it's a risk I'm willing to take just so I can have some dignity. It's so ridiculous and embarrassing to be an alcoholic...
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just to add to the already excellent responses here with a reminder that alcohol addiction is progressive. It never gets better over time -- only worse.

Need more and more alcohol to achieve the same amount of relaxed feeling? That's called tolerance. The withdrawal symptoms you're starting to experience when you abstain will only grow more severe the longer you drink. That's called dependence. Neither gets better on their own. They don't even level out. They only get worse the longer you drink.

The good news is that it's totally possible to stop drinking and to combat social anxiety without artificial aids like alcohol. Read around this site and you'll find many examples of successes. You can do it!

Glad you're here -- you've come to the right place.
I had my first withdrawal when I was about 18. Complete with DTs and hallucinations. I come from a country where alcohol is sold to people as young as 14 even though it's illegal. So I've actually been going to bars and clubs since I was 15...at my first sip I became obsessed and couldn't believe how perfect and fun it was. Since then I've experienced pretty bad withdrawals maybe 6 times in my life....it happens when I binge, even without a period of sobriety beforehand. I am currently twitching and having very bad anxiety, felt like fainting when I left the house. I can't wait for this to be over and I can start living sober! I hate this.

And yeah I feel a tremendous amount of shame when it takes me three times more alcohol than everyone around me to feel drunk. Lately I've needed to drink just to feel normal. Terrible stuff
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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But then again I'm worried I may revert to my old sober life where I had no friends and never left the house. Of course it's a risk I'm willing to take just so I can have some dignity. It's so ridiculous and embarrassing to be an alcoholic...
Dying a slow, painful death from alcoholism doesn't strike me as being terribly dignified.

If it came to it, I think I'd choose having no friends and never leaving the house.

Fortunately, however, these are not the only choices available to you.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Dying a slow, painful death from alcoholism doesn't strike me as being terribly dignified.

If it came to it, I think I'd choose having no friends and never leaving the house.

Fortunately, however, these are not the only choices available to you.
Sorry maybe my wording was weird...I meant that I'd rather have no friends and be sober than be an alcoholic because at least I would have my dignity.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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With me too I'm noticing I'm starting to drink alone too to cure boredom. But for a while I thought I had control because I purely drank alcohol in social situations, never alone , not to have fun or go crazy (I have to act sober) and I never craved it...I thought of it like medicine...but it's getting worse. And what really is pushing me to change is realizing that I don't even really like these people that I call friends. My friendships are often shallow and fall apart eventually and I fail at all romantic relationships. I don't act like myself and I'm not relaxed. So wtf is the point? But then again I'm worried I may revert to my old sober life where I had no friends and never left the house. Of course it's a risk I'm willing to take just so I can have some dignity. It's so ridiculous and embarrassing to be an alcoholic...
Honestly you sound so much like me.

Five months ago I shut off my phone for a week, shut down my facebook, and just went silent. I walked around town for a while alone and tried to figure out what the helll was wrong. I was getting drunk constantly, meeting people I didn't want to meet, doing things I didn't want to do.

I took some time to myself. I got sober. I met a nice girlfriend. It wasn't easy. I was alone, anxious and filled with a whole new set of challenges. But now I can tell you its all getting better. The friendships based on alcohol are a leaning tower that is going to come crashing down sometime whether you like it or not.

The friendships and social skills and circles I am building now are harder, but stronger.

Perhaps it is time, that you stopped worrying about everyone else, and began to really take time to care about yourself? That most likely means, getting sober and mentally healthy.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I hope the support here can help you get sober for good.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:50 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I do exactly the same thing. I dont think friends have seen me sober. I am a fun chatty person with drink and im scared they wont like the quiet nervous person without it who stumbles on words and is a nervous wreck constantly trying to impress people. I feel like 99% of the world are confident chatty people and 1% are shy. All i meet are confident people and my counsellor says they might have anxiety too but i would rather their form of anxiety any day over mine. At least they come acrosssocialable. Im sick of deinking and worrying about even leaving the house. Im about to quit my job i cant take it anymore. I just want to feel normal and not worry about pathetic things and if im liked or not!
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to SR ,

The old saying "you cant put an old head on young shoulders " comes to mind here . If I was your age with what I know now my life would have been so much different . I was a shy easily embarrassed teenager and alcohol it seemed to be the answer to all that . It did help for some time but please be aware that it will all change if you continue to use alcohol as a crutch . It seems you are struggling with almost anything outside your comfort zone which I really understand and am sorry you are . People WILL know you are drinking whether you think you are acting normal or not . Do you turn away from people to avoid the smell of the booze ,I done that a lot .

By coming here for support you will find many people currently or historically who have been affected or still affected by social anxiety .

In my experience drinking never took this away long term even after 40 years of drinking I was still a shy person in company .

My advice is to seek counselling or try AA and talk to your doctor but I guarantee you will go on a downward spiral if you continue to believe alcohol is the only way to function normally ,it will eventually take everything from you bit by bit .

Good luck
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