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The social life of a non-drinker...

Old 06-27-2018, 06:43 AM
  # 101 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lessgravity View Post
Although I knew I wasn't going to drink, I felt the anxiety and frustration.
I stopped letting the alcohol I wasn't drinking manage my emotions for me. It was horrible at it!

Anxiety and frustration in those situations is a choice.
If you don't know how to make another choice, then you have some learning to look forward to!

Keep rocking that sobriety LG. You are on the verge of amazing yourself.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:42 AM
  # 102 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
I'm noticing it more and more here in La La Land. Also sobriety has a certain trendiness to it now. Because celebrities, etc.

If I'm at a good restaurant and their only non-alcoholic beverage choices are soda or lemonade, I generally won't return. I really don't want a coke with my truffle pasta. If they can't even manage to have a good brewed ice tea. Fortunately I'm off keto at the moment, which made it REALLY tough, as I couldn't have sugar either.

One of my go-to's is ginger beer, which I'm also noticing is more and more common. One place I went to even made their own. Sometimes I'll have them mix it with club soda and a splash of fruit juice. If I'm sitting at the bar, the "mixologist" is usually game to come up with a mocktail for me.

I am a certified sommelier, and am really good at identifying and pairing wine with food. This is a frustration that I have with eating out sometimes, I know how enhanced certain dishes would be with a wine or beer that they have on the menu.

My drinking was generally bifurcated. I'd sip wine and beer out with friends, then come home and pound vodka shots. Sometimes I tell myself that I could just do the wine part. Or taste wine and spit it out. But that is mostly just AV. I love my sober life so much that it's simply not worth the risk, even if I COULD separate the enjoyment of wine from the alcoholic isolated drinking. Which is NOTHING I would ever want to test, because the data indicates that glass of wine would lead to daily drinking and then blotto oblivion sooner or later.

Also, more tellingly, I DON'T miss the feeling of alcohol inebriation. At all. If I visualize the feeling of being tipsy, it's dysphoric, not euphoric. A bit sleepy, sluggish, and removed from the moment. No thanks!

These realizations didn't come on Day 1 of sobriety. I think the most important thing mentioned in many of these posts is sobriety time. I feel very differently now about not having wine with dinner than I did a year ago, when I was brand spanking new to sobriety. I've had a year of enjoying the presence, mental clarity, physical well-being, and peace of mind that I have in sobriety that was missing when I drank or drugged, even during periods of near or complete abstinence.

My social life is pretty much what it was when I drank. I see nearly all of the same people and do nearly all of the same things. I've even gone wine-smelling twice, I end up being the designated driver and it's good to see some of the people at the vineyards that I'd gotten to know over the years...the business of wine still fascinates me. The only thing I'd turn down is something where getting obliterated is part of the point of the occasion...like bachelor parties in Vegas. The point there is to get as wasted as possible with the groom, take him to strip clubs, and hit the slots or cards. I'm gay, don't gamble, and don't drink, so there's kinda no point to any of that! Time has also allowed observation, the most telling is that most other people don't focus obsessively on drinking at social events. Normies can take it or leave it. I've become a normie that just always leaves it.

Everybody's journey is different, there are some that simply cannot be around alcohol and drinking at all, ever. I respect that. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, and to an addict, NOT using has to be the primary focus of happiness and well being, however you do it. For myself, it's a pretty easy decision to attend functions and not drink. I've made the decision that I am no longer a drinker under any circumstances, and when I look at what drinking feels like, I don't feel deprived not doing it, other than in very rare occasions like bachelor parties (also drunk people, REALLY drunk people, are extremely annoying to me if I'm not drinking myself...almost as bad as a bunch of people doing coke!). Those are occasions that would ONLY be fun if I'm drinking, and those are pretty easy to say no to, and are really rare.

LG, I think you'll get to the point where it just won't matter to you. Interestingly enough I found eventually that not having alcohol to fall back on if I felt nervous at a social function actually helped with any social anxiety that I might have had. Sober dating is the new challenge for me!

Time made it pretty easy for me, and will do so for you.
All really good stuff MM, and everyone I think who responded.

I've been at social gatherings and dealt with the booze - this was the first time my AV threw a pity-party that resulted in the anxiety I felt. It's what it is, and I'm not going to miss the events and times my friends and family get together and enjoy alcohol in ways much more responsible than I ever did. This is my life and my relationship with booze - I'm not going to have it make me miss out.

Now missing out on those wasted bachelor party type experiences? Sure, I'm happy never to be around that again.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:56 AM
  # 103 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ladysadie View Post
What I am hearing from Less is that he is keeping a strong resolve, for himself, doing his sobriety his way as he sees fit. Remember everyone reading this that there is No One Size Fits All.

Less, thank you for posting. I appreciate where you are coming from and that your path is confirmed by your willingness to put your sobriety first. That is coming from a position of strength and I commend you, Sir!
My dad used to tell me ALL the time that if I was even trying to be sober, I insisted on doing it My Way.

That used to royally p*ss me off, I cannot tell you how badly.

Turns out - he was right. What he meant was that there's a reason recovery programs work - mine is AA, others choose another active path- but something they have in common is CHOICE. And I keep thinking of Shakespeare here....methinks, protesting too much, if you will...

Regardless of your protestations, we do aim to help Less. No one wants to see another one of us suffer- or make things harder than they have to be for a recovering alcoholic!

I hope your thoughts keep shifting to what's best for you, in all ways- I find that my self-talk, my emotional stability, if you will, is something I deliberately work at keeping in the green.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:02 AM
  # 104 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StellaBlu View Post
lg - I just read an article in the Food and Drink section in our local weekly newspaper. The article discussed the high demand now for booze-free cocktails and how bartenders were being creative in coming up with Mocktails.

The article goes on to discuss the reasons why people seem to be cutting back on their alcohol intake (more mindful lifestyles, alcohol losing its appeal to a more health conscious individuals) and the need for restaurants and bars to provide a way for "..nonimbibers to participate in the bar experience".

A new trend perhaps?
Absolutely, speaking as some employed by a large Southeastern/Mid Atlantic (US) restaurant group. We have 18 restaurants and all of them have "zero proof" drinks on the menu - and they are great. Our owner is a recovering alcoholic - but we have great wine lists, sakes at our sushi concepts, all the shebang a good restaurant does. Other restaurants have such also , and more and more mixologists are creating non-alcoholic versions of their specialties- O'Doul's is not the only NA (almost) bev choice in a lot of places these days!

I lead the Atlanta location of the F&B recovery group our owner founded. The message about sobriety, recovery, mental health awareness, and yes better health overall has become SO much more public, discussed....and IMO, IME, this is good for everyone - of course in F&B, but beyond, since food & drink are cultural norms for all of us.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:45 PM
  # 105 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
I'm noticing it more and more here in La La Land. Also sobriety has a certain trendiness to it now. Because celebrities, etc.

If I'm at a good restaurant and their only non-alcoholic beverage choices are soda or lemonade, I generally won't return. I really don't want a coke with my truffle pasta. If they can't even manage to have a good brewed ice tea. Fortunately I'm off keto at the moment, which made it REALLY tough, as I couldn't have sugar either.

One of my go-to's is ginger beer, which I'm also noticing is more and more common. One place I went to even made their own. Sometimes I'll have them mix it with club soda and a splash of fruit juice. If I'm sitting at the bar, the "mixologist" is usually game to come up with a mocktail for me.

I am a certified sommelier, and am really good at identifying and pairing wine with food. This is a frustration that I have with eating out sometimes, I know how enhanced certain dishes would be with a wine or beer that they have on the menu.

My drinking was generally bifurcated. I'd sip wine and beer out with friends, then come home and pound vodka shots. Sometimes I tell myself that I could just do the wine part. Or taste wine and spit it out. But that is mostly just AV. I love my sober life so much that it's simply not worth the risk, even if I COULD separate the enjoyment of wine from the alcoholic isolated drinking. Which is NOTHING I would ever want to test, because the data indicates that glass of wine would lead to daily drinking and then blotto oblivion sooner or later.

Also, more tellingly, I DON'T miss the feeling of alcohol inebriation. At all. If I visualize the feeling of being tipsy, it's dysphoric, not euphoric. A bit sleepy, sluggish, and removed from the moment. No thanks!

These realizations didn't come on Day 1 of sobriety. I think the most important thing mentioned in many of these posts is sobriety time. I feel very differently now about not having wine with dinner than I did a year ago, when I was brand spanking new to sobriety. I've had a year of enjoying the presence, mental clarity, physical well-being, and peace of mind that I have in sobriety that was missing when I drank or drugged, even during periods of near or complete abstinence.

My social life is pretty much what it was when I drank. I see nearly all of the same people and do nearly all of the same things. I've even gone wine-smelling twice, I end up being the designated driver and it's good to see some of the people at the vineyards that I'd gotten to know over the years...the business of wine still fascinates me. The only thing I'd turn down is something where getting obliterated is part of the point of the occasion...like bachelor parties in Vegas. The point there is to get as wasted as possible with the groom, take him to strip clubs, and hit the slots or cards. I'm gay, don't gamble, and don't drink, so there's kinda no point to any of that! Time has also allowed observation, the most telling is that most other people don't focus obsessively on drinking at social events. Normies can take it or leave it. I've become a normie that just always leaves it.

Everybody's journey is different, there are some that simply cannot be around alcohol and drinking at all, ever. I respect that. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, and to an addict, NOT using has to be the primary focus of happiness and well being, however you do it. For myself, it's a pretty easy decision to attend functions and not drink. I've made the decision that I am no longer a drinker under any circumstances, and when I look at what drinking feels like, I don't feel deprived not doing it, other than in very rare occasions like bachelor parties (also drunk people, REALLY drunk people, are extremely annoying to me if I'm not drinking myself...almost as bad as a bunch of people doing coke!). Those are occasions that would ONLY be fun if I'm drinking, and those are pretty easy to say no to, and are really rare.

LG, I think you'll get to the point where it just won't matter to you. Interestingly enough I found eventually that not having alcohol to fall back on if I felt nervous at a social function actually helped with any social anxiety that I might have had. Sober dating is the new challenge for me!

Time made it pretty easy for me, and will do so for you.
Fabulous post. And so many other great posts here. I remember calling that AV 'woe is me' chatter, the 'Bratty Voice' in early sobriety. That resentment/false jealousy of others drinking led to a few bumpy relapses. I do think that a big part of the work in sobriety is centred around managing that 'voice inside' and a big reality check around what drinking really results in for us.

I used to feel like the odd one out, wistful, envious of summer drinks and all the other 'happy associations' that alcohol does to trick us into taking another drink. I read a study that does actually show that is the rub with alcohol - it actually tricks our brain into thinking experiences with it were better than they were - a sort of heightened happiness effect. When that really wasn't the case.

I love that you have persevered onwards. My social life is wonderful now...no regrets, I show up, I can drive myself home, be truly present for others and listen to what they have to say - and not ruin my next days plans at all. Life is actually pretty manageable now, so it's easy to forget all the garbage that came with drinking. Best wishes on your journey and continued bonding with sobriety. It does get better, believe me.
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Old 07-24-2018, 09:17 PM
  # 106 (permalink)  
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I notice that under your moniker you list that you're from a Big City. I live in L.A. There IS a lot of emphasis on booze here - and pot. If you're a person who used to drink, out and about socially, then many of your friends - and they can be very good friends, great people - are drinkers, and so is your spouse. So to me I read your OP kinda like the lament of someone who is newly single and keeps getting invited to social events where everyone is married/has a partner. Sure, there are single people out there too, and they have great lives, but YOUR lifestyle was based around being a twosome and now you're a lonesome in a world of twosomes. And that can suck for a while until you make a new single life. My husband, who quit drinking before I did, used to tell me that it really was not all that fun watching me and our other good friends drink. He enjoyed himself, but he was ready to go home a bit sooner than he used to, and sometimes he stayed home and I went by myself if he was not "feelin' it."
I turned down an invitation this weekend that I knew would involve a bit of drinking along with the planned activity, and while I have determined not to drink, I haven't mastered the skill yet of having fun when every other person in my group is drinking and I'm not. It feels weird talking to someone who's inebriated when I'm sober. I'm sure in time I'll develop a social life that has more non-drinker/non-drinking activities and gain some distance from alcohol being in my life and it won't be "sucky." But sometimes, I have to agree with you, it is , and I mean no insult to anyone else's life, just a reflection on my experience at this particular stage in the journey.
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:19 AM
  # 107 (permalink)  
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Hi guys, just wanted to restart this thread as it's a relevant topic for me.

Well, can I first caveat that I'm not completely sober yet. I have been having 1-2 drinks here and there, but not typically on a regular or weekly basis. The idea of drinking alcohol seems more and more perverse to me, and the times I do have a beer or two are more infrequent as a result.

I've found that the majority of my friends from school and university still like to hang out and drink. The problem is that they will typically have more then two drinks at any given time, so allowing myself to drink with them is allowing myself a very likely opportunity to continue drinking. That moment when a friend says 'come on, one more!' and your defences are already down.

I have found that trying to do sober things with that group of friends is challenging for me. It's weird that if we were 'just' going for a coffee, or a juice, or a pizza, that it would feel strange. And my friend would ask me why I wasn't drinking etc.

So to be honest, it's definitely harder. I missed a 30th birthday yesterday. It was an all day boozing session. Why would anyone want to drink all day long? You would be feeling tired on Sunday, and tired for the rest of the week. And why as a sober person would you want to join in that sort of event?

So certainly, it does create a bit of a rift. I like the idea of going out and not drinking but somehow I do struggle with dare I say it social anxiety - although the social anxiety seems to only crop up when I'm sober in a drinking establishment etc. Perhaps I could experiment a bit more with going out to events that I really want to go to, i.e. live music and stuff and see how it goes. But going to events where there are a lot of people I don't know and it's effectively just talking, I find those events difficult. Which is probably not surprising.

I know there are tons of hobbies out there but it's finding the right ones outside of working full-time and being able to integrate them into your life.

I was doing a fine art course at a school, and the second half of that fine art course starts in September. I met some great friends there, and had a really good time. I would have gone onto a course over summer but I had no job and hence couldn't afford the instalment. Outside of that, I was also planning on joining a community choir. Singing is of course a really positive thing and doing that in a group could be great fun, and of course a great way to meet new people.

I guess my social life has been in a bit of a rut recently. I know there are a couple of things I could sign up to and start to turn it around, but somehow I was stopping myself from actually making the steps.

There is indeed a world outside of drinking if we pause and think of all the ways we could meet new friends through hobbies and so on.

I may also create a mindmap of things I could do outside of alcohol to brainstorm and see all the ideas that come to fruition.
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:26 AM
  # 108 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Branches View Post
I notice that under your moniker you list that you're from a Big City. I live in L.A. There IS a lot of emphasis on booze here - and pot. If you're a person who used to drink, out and about socially, then many of your friends - and they can be very good friends, great people - are drinkers, and so is your spouse. So to me I read your OP kinda like the lament of someone who is newly single and keeps getting invited to social events where everyone is married/has a partner. Sure, there are single people out there too, and they have great lives, but YOUR lifestyle was based around being a twosome and now you're a lonesome in a world of twosomes. And that can suck for a while until you make a new single life. My husband, who quit drinking before I did, used to tell me that it really was not all that fun watching me and our other good friends drink. He enjoyed himself, but he was ready to go home a bit sooner than he used to, and sometimes he stayed home and I went by myself if he was not "feelin' it."
I turned down an invitation this weekend that I knew would involve a bit of drinking along with the planned activity, and while I have determined not to drink, I haven't mastered the skill yet of having fun when every other person in my group is drinking and I'm not. It feels weird talking to someone who's inebriated when I'm sober. I'm sure in time I'll develop a social life that has more non-drinker/non-drinking activities and gain some distance from alcohol being in my life and it won't be "sucky." But sometimes, I have to agree with you, it is , and I mean no insult to anyone else's life, just a reflection on my experience at this particular stage in the journey.
I completely know what you mean about not mastering the skill yet of having fun when everyone else is drinking. I guess partly because internally we've decided alcohol is not good for us, and we don't want to drink, yet we're surrounded by all these people drinking alcohol, and perhaps that very fact makes it difficult for us as we can't be completely at 'peace' with the surroundings.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:37 AM
  # 109 (permalink)  
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If drinking alcohol is incidental to the occasion (dinner out with my folks, my dad has a beer with his meal), I'm fine. Activities wherein drinking alcohol is the focus of the gathering? Fuggedaboudit...what possible reason would I have for being there? If every one of my friends and family were alcoholic and drank all the time, then Netflix and SR would be enough for me. Thankfully, that's not the case...
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