How to Cope with Very Young Abstinence

Old 09-04-2018, 05:44 PM
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How to Cope with Very Young Abstinence

Haven't posted on here in awhile. Essentially, have been avoiding alcohol since the first week of July. Aside from maybe a sip of wine or a mixed drink, I have successfully stayed clean and can feel the health benefits. That being said, I have yet to feel like my life is going to be fun and rewarding. I recently went on a trip with a group of people that I did not know but met and loved every single one of them. I can say that I also developed a crush on one of them too.

Most of the people on this trip were around 25-26, meanwhile I'm only 23. They also drank a lot. It pained me so much to have to avoid drinking with them. I also missed out on a lot of the connections that occurred because they would be off taking shots or drunkenly laughing while I was standing around awkwardly just trying to fit in. It made me so worried that this is how the next few years of my life are going to be. I was very close to relapsing on the last day, but a person on the trip that I had shared my sobriety with stopped me.

I know many say that being sober at a young age is rewarding but it just feels like punishment to me. I never even drank daily. I was just an unlucky binge drinker that fell victim to withdrawal and kindling. It all just seems very unfair and I want some advice on where to go from here.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:56 PM
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Hi, and I'm glad you have decided to not drink.

I think that when we're drinking, we think that everyone and everything involves drinking. But, that's not the case. And, the connections that occurred when your group was drinking, are likely not real connections anyways.

There are many activities and groups that don't involve alcohol. And, for what it's worth, I wasn't able to be around alcohol for many months when I stopped drinking. I think you will find that you'll feel much more comfortable as time goes on.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:14 PM
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Hi Katman

I had to work hard at building a sober life I loved - nearly all of my friends drank like I did, and drinking was the only glue that held us to they all fell away.

Fortunately I had old friends with whom I reconnected, and I made new friends who only know me as a non drinker.

I thought fun came from a bottle too but I'm sure if you look back on your life you'll find a time when you didn't need to drink to have fun.

Its a mental adjustment that takes a little time but I have more fun now than I ever did as a drinker and a busier social life too.

I know change is scary - I tried to live my old life just with me as a sober person - but it never worked for long - my old life was geared to drinking.

First you take a sip, then a little glass, then just one drink...then you're back in the web,

I don;t need to tell you thats pretty dangerous - it's probably more good luck than anything else that you haven't had a 'proper' relapse?

think about change...if you think about what you want from your life, you're already part of the way there to making it happen

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Old 09-04-2018, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by katman13 View Post
I also missed out on a lot of the connections that occurred ...

I know many say that being sober at a young age is rewarding but it just feels like punishment to me. I never even drank daily. I was just an unlucky binge drinker that fell victim to withdrawal and kindling. It all just seems very unfair and I want some advice on where to go from here.
Wow... what a really great post. Seriously. First and foremost you need to give yourself a TON of credit. Yep... treat yourself to something. You deserve it. The courage you showed... just wow.

Ok, here's some straight talk - as straight as I can make it - on a few things.

Living to your own standards - not someone else's - unconditionally, can be a very very lonely journey sometimes. It's just a fact. Just like being an effective leader can be the loneliest thing in the world sometimes. Problem is we live in this world of sensationalism and cliche. All these images of the glory of it. Well sometimes - more than I'd like to admit - it just falls short of the reality. Most people say they want to live that way or say they want to be a leader, but at the first sign of resistance they cave and their actions scream "nope, I didn't really want this at all."

Your feelings about all this are valid. It does feel punishing sometimes. It can be very frustrating. We all want to be connected and it sucks bad sometimes feeling like an outsider. But the payoff comes - often when you least expect it - when you realize down the road that you achieve some goal or someone says how much something you said or did made an impact on them. Think of it this way... every step up the mountain toward the summit of Everest is an exercise in pain and endurance. So why do people do it? Because when they meet their goal it makes it all worth it.

These are the things that really matter. They matter more than that deep longings we feel in the short term.

I hope this makes sense. What you described above is just so special and good, I hope you can give yourself some credit for it, and make sure you are compassionate to yourself while you cope with some of the challenge it comes with. In the meantime, you might think about setting some goals for yourself - personally, professionally, etc.. The fact that you are sober and this focused and independent really gives you an advantage to achieving some awesome things. And having those goals can be a way for you to hang onto something when you are faced with the short term struggles. It can make it all worth it when you hit those goals.

Seriously, set some goals. Make them lofty but achievable. Use this focus and independence you have...

It does me good to know there's someone out there doing the right things for themselves and overcoming really tough situations because they believe deeply in what they are doing. That kind of passion and fortitude are rare these days... and the world could use a whole lot more of it.

Keep trucking. You are so worth it.

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Old 09-04-2018, 08:10 PM
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Hi Katman,
I got sober at 22 and by 24 had a job which involved a certain amount of entertaining and drinking. It was not easy, as I recall, to fit in initially and I rmember being very nervous about my first sales conference given what I had heard about sich events. I need not have worried. I would have spilt more on my tie than most of them drank, and the whole thing stayed very social. It was completely different to how I drank. I also took a leaf out of the AA book about how I should increase the pleasure of others at such events. I was much in demand as the sober driver for example.

But I get the main pont you ask about, making sobriety worthwhile. There is a professor of pschology, Jordan Peterson, on line who has a great many lectures and talks on line about this kind of thing and he has a tremendous following among young people. What you are describing it seems, is not limited ot problem drinkers, but much more widely spread among young folk today.

I can relate to what he says because of my experiences in AA. The fundmental thing seems to be to forget about happiness and fun as an objective and try to find some purpose in your life. Be the best you can be, do something noble, take some responsibility, clean you bedroom as a starting point. It is really powerful stuff and I cannot do it justice here. He also has a book out, 12 Rules For Life, which has become a best seller. It is not at all related to the 12 steps of AA BTW, but has reportedly been pretty life changing for young people looking for meaning in their life.

I got my semse of purpose through the 12 steps of AA, and it really did change my insides, the chaos of feeling being replaced with a sense that I am on the right track at last. Check out JP. I have listened to maybe 10 or 12 hours of his work so far, and I will be listening to a lot more.
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:23 AM
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Hi Katman,

I think at first sobriety can be very lonely. IME, I cultivated a large group of drinking buddies and spent hours ďbondingĒ with them. The first 2 months were spent with me hanging out with them, soberly trying to fit in, and chain smoking like mad just to have something to do. I also stuck around late into the night because I didnít want miss out on anything.

Iím almost at 3 months now and I feel that Iíve relaxed into my sobriety. I still hang out with my friends, although not as much, and when it gets late and they move from tipsy to drunk, I leave. Often times they are at my house (my hubby is an alcoholic) so I find things to do, in my own home, away from the group. I know what types of situations occur when I leave and Iím glad to not be a part of them anymore. I know they talk about me when I leave but thatís ok too.

Long story short-ish, I think it takes some time to find comfort in sobriety. You will find comfort and peace.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:00 PM
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Thank You

Thank you everyone for your replies. Itís nice hearing from others who have learned to cope also with this. That being said, I still feel very lonely and punished. Iím really worried that this feeling is going to push me back into thinking I could have 2 or 3 drinks-then get withdrawal just from that. I hate that my brain has been kindled like this, and whatís worse is that it will be like this for the rest of my life.

I drank in order to feel a part of things. Now I feel distant from friends, and the loving connections that I missed out on during that trip.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:20 PM
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Hi Kathman,

You have so many wonderful things going for you right now, and sobriety at 23 is huge. I always started out thinking I could have only one or two drinks, and maybe for a few nights I could, but soon enough I was bargaining with myself about a third glass of wine, then I would start to think "I may as well have that last glass, there isn't much left in the bottle." And there were many times I was opening a second. I do not for a second miss how I felt later that night, or the next morning.

Have you thought about joining a walking or running group? Are there any activities you enjoy (reading, hiking, running,...) there are so many groups you can join to meet people.

You can do this.
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:21 AM
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Yesterday I was at a meeting talking to a young woman who got sober at 24. She is 15 years now, has a pretty wonderful life, a husband and family, a job she enjoys, and she has dealt with some hard issues in recovery.

The thing that really struck me was that she has so much to offer and being in her company and lstening to her experience was just an absolute joy and a privilege. That was not something that could be said of me in my drinking days.

Imagine that. The both of us were off the rails alcoholics that would not have survived past our mid twenties, and now we are useful human beings living highly satisfying lives. It is possible to find a way out of the crappiest of circumstances to something much better. You could too if really want to and are willing to make the effort.
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