So I’ve been told when you’re trying to cut out drinking from your life that it is a good idea to also cut ties with the friends you drink with. Theoretically, I completely understand this, but I’m sorry but…hell no. Do you know how long it fricken takes me to find a group of people that I can be completely comfortable around? Sure it has been tough, but I am willing to put myself in that difficult position to maintain important friendships. Not to mention, I also have a major FOMO complex. There are, however, definitely acquaintances of mine that I only feel comfortable around if I am drinking/drunk…. they can go. To be honest, acquaintances are the vain of my existence anyway. So if I’ve hung out with you at a bar or party in the past month, congratulations….I must really like you!
It has been a strange experience going from binge drinker to non-drinker. Some of the changes have been really enjoyable, for instance helllllo no hangovers! And not gonna lie, it is pretty cool to remember your whole evening. When I go out now I put much more emphasis as to why I’m leaving the comfort of my couch and Netflix. Whether it is to watch your band play or celebrate your birthday, I am actually going out to support and be there for you. Before any excuse to drink was a reason to go out and the occasion always played second fiddle. I was a very selfish drinker and I really didn’t care about anything other than when I was going to get my next drink. It feels good to actually be present. It is also reallllllly funny to watch my boyfriend get wasted which, after over 10 years of dating, I have rarely seen because he’d always have to be in charge of taking care of my drunk ass.
Now for the downside… it’s really hard. Imagine wanting nothing more than relaxing with a nice cold beer, preferably a microbrew (because I’m pretentious like that) but not being able to have one AND THEN subjecting yourself to several hours of being surrounded by said micro-brew. Ugh, honestly it is the literal worst. It is a craving like none other. I have found that my anxiety lessons a bit once I put any form of beverage in my hand. If I am at a brunch type of event, chamomile tea helps to calm my nerves and relax me. If I am going out at night I will usually stick to water or if I want to get really wild a diet coke/ sugar-free energy drink. Also… lots and lots of kudzu (and occasionally kava)root. I’m actually going to make a post soon about supplements and which ones I take for a more natural mood support, so stay tuned!
Another pitfall? Having to explain (over & over) why you aren’t drinking. Sometimes people do not even ask but I feel compelled to tell them just because I assume they are wondering (even if they probably aren’t). If my anxiety makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb than not drinking at a bar makes me feel like I am naked and painted hot pink. My friends are completely fine with it though and very supportive. If you are going through something similar and your “friends” make you feel weird about it, that’s when I fully support the idea of cutting ties.
The only other challenge I’ve come across so far is answering the question “So how long are you doing this for?”. Word of advice, do not ask somebody who’s struggling with drinking that because IDK hopefully forever? In my head that is like trying to calculate how long it is going to take me to fail. Could I learn how to drink in moderation and start partaking again? Maybe….but probably not. Will I ever just say f*ck it and start drinking again? I honestly can’t answer that. For now, it’s safe to say the “Sween Machine” is in a coma. It’s possible she’ll stay asleep indefinitely. It is also (hopefully significantly less) equally possible she’ll wake up. Instead of worrying about when that may or may not happen, I am just going to continue to enjoy my new found clarity.