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How Do I Stop Drinking and Still Be Social?

Group Therapy: I Want to Stop Drinking

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I have a problem with alcohol and I want to stop drinking.  I tend to drink too much and I don't like the way I act or the way I feel the next day.  

The problem is I'm 23 and most social situations with people my age involve drinking.  It is very noticeable when someone isn't drinking and people always ask them if they're sick or if something is wrong.  I don't want my sobriety to become a big deal or for other people to feel odd drinking around me.  I moved to a new city a few months ago and don't know many people here yet, so I don't want to alienate myself too much.  I know my closer friends would be fine with it but I don't want to limit meeting new people.

We take public transit everywhere and I don't have a car, so offering to be the DD isn't an option.  I've tried the trick where you order a soda or virgin drink and just let others assume it's mixed, and that usually works great.  But there's always a situation where someone orders a round of shots, wants to split a pitcher of beer, or something like that.  How can I stay sober is social situations without making things awkward?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it, anonymously, to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.


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DazzleDe DazzleDe 6 years
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, you shouldn't put yourself in a position where alcohol is readily available. You said it yourself, "I have a problem with drinking." You need to figure out exactly what your issues are and work on those. Whether it's AA, DD or any other acronym, you should be your own BF and put yourself first. Don't let anyone on this board disway you from what you feel within. There's no such thing as a garden variety alcoholic.
MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
Just say you don't like drinking/don't like alcohol and leave it at that. I don't drink, and I went out plenty in my late teens/early to mid twenties with friends and had to say it every time. It didn't bother me, because I'm confident in my decision. When people did push, and I felt like responding, I always made a comment about making an ass out of yourself while drinking in reference to the person, and that usually made them back off. No one NEEDS to know why you've made the decision. It's the same with any rude question people ask (when are you getting married, arent you going to have kids soon?? should you be eating that..., etc)
corcar86 corcar86 6 years
Who knows, maybe you are worried about something that wouldn't really even be a big deal to others but your insecurities over it are allowing you to feel that to others it would be a big deal. I commend you on your desire to curb you drinking and if you really feel you need an excuse for your not drinking (which please please don't allow others to pressure you in that way!) you can always tell people that you want to cut down on the empty calories since there are ALOT of them in liquor and beer alike.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
My AA recommendation was a reaction to the first sentence: "I have a problem with alcohol and I want to stop drinking."
megemlala megemlala 6 years
When I read this post I felt like I had written it myself, as I'm going through the exact same thing in my life. I strongly relate to all of the things the poster said and sought out AA as a solution. In turn, I've met a wonderful group of happy, supportive, fun women. I would suggest going to a CLOSED, WOMENS meeting first, it will make you feel much more comfortable. I was overwhelmed with support after sharing my story with the ladies; after the meeting I had four new numbers in my phone of potential new, sober friends. It is important to remember that there are different kinds of alcoholics, and we are not the "traditional" kind. It's incredibly intimidating to go into the meeting and introduce yourself, I promise it is EXACTLY like it is on TV. "Hi, my name's Megan and I'm an alcoholic," a month later it's still weird to say out loud. That being said, AA is not for everyone, or every "alcoholic." I've tried going out with friends and not drinking alcohol, but I always seem to get pulled in with shots or rounds, it's hard for me to turn down free drinks. I get lost in the fun environment and end up hungover the next morning. This may or may not be your case, but knowing that I have AA as a support system is very helpful. If AA isn't for you, there's also Al-Anon, an all-womens group with a similar structure to AA. These would both be great ways to meet new people in your new area!
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
Yep, the 'Nah, I'm good' should be enough, no need to explain. If they ask just say that you don't feel like drinking tonight. And having that iced water/iced tea/non-alcoholic beverage in your hand also a good buffer, every time someone is offering you a drink. I did make a fool out of myself the first couple times I started to drink at 21(b/c I wanted to 'experiment' with all sort of alcohol). But afterward all through my 20s, I hardly drank. I was the DD 99% of the time. No one made fun of me, yah, they offered me drinks, but no one ever forced me to drink, no that they could anyway.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
^^ I 100% agree with you, spacekat. This is not a case for AA. OP, I also feel like AA is an overreaction. You are making a decision that is very normal for your age. I am 23, I rarely drink, and when I do, it is not to excess. Granted, I do have some medical reasons, but people who don't know that never care. I had some wild times as a teenager, and some wild times for about a year or so after I turned 21. Now, I just don't like to. It makes you feel gross the next day, it's unnecessary calories, it costs a lot of money, and is potentially embarrassing. Just be confident in your position and don't overexplain. Nobody bothers me about it or prods me for answers. Runningesq described exactly what you should do (and exactly what I do). A simple, "Nah, I'm good!" is perfectly appropriate.
theCatsPajamas theCatsPajamas 6 years
@SpaceKatGal: AA is not all about the sob stories of people who hit rock bottom, it's not at all like what you see in movies and on TV. There are many types of ways to abuse a substance, and people with all kinds of problems go to AA.... most people are there so they can be in control of their relationship with alcohol. The poster has come to this forum for support because she feels like she wants to make a change--the very first line of her post says "i have a problem with alcohol". She gotten herself into a situation where she feels like she needs to drink to be accepted. That's not a healthy relationship with alcohol. Checking out an AA meeting is a great place for someone who feels this way to start.
marcied23 marcied23 6 years
she didn't just say that she doesn't like drinking, she says she doesn't like the way she feels or behaves when she drinks...who knows what that could mean, she may need AA just so that she can meet with people who have similar problems (and have had success in fighting their addiction). that being said, if she really doesn't have a serious problem and really just doesn't like to drink, she should just say that. I don't drink and happen to be in social situations where drinks are served, I simply decline/drink soda...i've been done that since college and rarely get any comments. the poster will be fine as long as she stands her ground.
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
you can say you're dieting, or taking a medication that prevents you from having a drink. i remember being in that scene. i'm betting there are several other people who would like to have the activities center a little less around booze.
sahieszhya sahieszhya 6 years
Whenever i go out, my friends drink so i used to feel weird. but whenever i go to the bar, the only difference is i order lemonade, and theres no pressure. No one minds either, because they'll have something u wont, a hangover :p
juicebox07 juicebox07 6 years
It sounds like you might have some sort of confidence issue if you're afraid what others might think of you not drinking. I used to drink/party a lot years ago, but now I rarely do. There have been plenty of times when I've gone out and everyone was drinking. Of course they asked "why are you not drinking?" and kept trying to get me to at least have one drink. While it is very annoying (and can be uncomfortable), you have to realize that it doesn't matter what they think. Stand your ground and tell them that there is nothing wrong for not wanting to drink. I agree with BrownEyedBabe that a lot of people who make comments about you not drinking are often the ones who end up very drunk and acting a fool.
theCatsPajamas theCatsPajamas 6 years
If you choose to go to AA, a sponsor can give you ideas of how to deal with potentially difficult situations. Also, the more mature your friends are, the less they will pressure you to drink or do shots. Another thing to keep in mind is that your friends will take their cues on how to react from you--if you treat not drinking like it's no big deal, then they will take it that way. If you make it into a thing, then they will too. At 23, you are probably not the only one of your friends who is feeling ready to transition away from heavy binge drinking. You may find that once you curtail your intake, other friends will start doing the same. Good luck girl!
MySecondLife MySecondLife 6 years
I agree and disagree with various comments so far... You sound like you have a confidence issue, not a drinking problem even tho your issue involves drinking. Going to AA is absolutely a good idea. I go -- and I don't drink, nor have I ever been an alcoholic. I go because I support an addict. (You'll discover that there are "closed" meetings intended ONLY for alcoholics/addicts, and there are "open" meetings which are for anyone. You'll want an open meeting. Just google it for your zip code.) AA will teach you how to have the confidence to be you, without worry about what other people think or say. It will also introduce you to an entire group of people who you will likely find to be enjoyable. AA has a bad (and erroneous) rep for housing "bums." Anyone who has ever found a good AA group, though, will tell you, It's not a room full of bums. It's a room full of people like you and me, people who want something more from their life than another hangover. Not all AA meetings are alike. If you don't "fit" with the first group you encounter, go to another one, and another, until you find the one that makes you feel comfortable. If you are DEAD SET against AA, you need to get some self-help books (or online material) to teach you to build your confidence. Making excuses, such as, "I'm on a diet", is not being honest and excuses ultimately lead to failure. The comment that said, "Just say, "No thanks, I'm good" is the BEST response. (Just think of when you do drink and when you HAVE had enough; what do you say?) The very fact that you realize the idiocy of the typical young lifestyle with its constant partying shows you are heads above the rest -- someone who has the potential for genuine success and happiness. But that, too, takes confidence. You're on the right track, hon. Just stay the course! Good luck to you.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Short term, you could always say "I'm trying to make it to 8am yoga tomorrow" or you have a work thing in the morning or something if someone is pressuring you. Long term, you really should look into AA, where you'll meet new people whose lives don't revolve around drinking and will be a support system.
runningesq runningesq 6 years
Having something in your hand (soda water, soda, juice, etc.) is a good idea.. if someone wants to split a pitcher of beer or do a round of shots, just say "no, thanks, I'm good." No need to explain further!
BrownEyedBabe BrownEyedBabe 6 years
You shouldn't feel bad for not drinking. Just have fun and brush off people's comments when they say something. When you're around people that are drinking there are always a couple that like to make comments for some reason. I know it gets annoying. Your drinking or not drinking does not affect them in anyway so I don't understand why they have to harp on it. Just state that you don't drink and change the subject. I've noticed that most the time the people that make comments are the ones that get too drunk and make a fool of themselves.
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