Choosing a Different Path: From Constant Social Drinking to Zero Alcohol

As a child, I grew up around adults who were constantly drinking. My dad would have a few beers every night and my mom a glass of wine. The drinking never got out of hand, at least as far as I was concerned. As an adult, it was normal for me to drink regularly, but only when I was out with friends. Over time, I began to notice that I could not go out without a drink and this caused me to reevaluate my social life and my drinking habits.

Becoming addicted to alcohol can happen easily. I don’t think I was ever addicted to drinking but my habit was starting to wear on me. I couldn’t go out with friends without having a drink in my hand and I was forgetting what happened the night before the very next morning. I wasn’t simply having a cocktail or two. I was drinking too much and waking up with little memory as to what had taken place.

Why Social Drinking?

I don’t really drink at home so I was really unsure as to why I felt like I needed to drink socially. Maybe it started with wanting to feel accepted because everyone else was drinking. It may also have a little to do with loosening up. It’s easy to feel at ease when you have a few drinks in you. But what started as a cocktail with dinner quickly became a few shots or stronger drinks.

I would need a ride home or at least someone to make sure I got in a cab and was pointed in the right direction. This was no way to live and I really had to reevaluate myself. One Friday morning I woke up in my bed late for work. I realized I had no idea how I got home and barely remembered going out the night before. I was in big trouble and really needed to take a look at my life and what I was doing.

What was I going to do? Did I need to check in to one of those Luxury treatment centers? I really had to stop and take a look at my destructive behavior.

What’s Going On?

After being late to work that Friday I took the weekend to think. I shut myself in my apartment and started making lists and thinking about my life choices. After taking a few notes, I realized that I was drinking every time I went out to dinner, even for lunch. I was beginning to rely on alcohol or at least always order it when I was out with friends or family.

In one week, I had drinks at lunch and dinner on several occasions. So much so that I had spent several hundred dollars just on drinks alone! Not only was I not remembering nights with friends because I was drinking so much, but I was also spending way too much money.

I realized that I was drinking due to habit as well as anxiety and a need to fit in. I had to make a change. I decided that I would cut back on going out and focus on not ordering drinks at dinner or other occasions.

Challenge Accepted

My first challenge was the following Monday. I knew I would be going to dinner with my best friend and she would order drinks. I had to be strong and accept that I didn’t need a cocktail or shot. We went to our favorite place and she noticed right away when I didn’t order a drink. It was then I began to fill her in on what I was thinking.

She was surprised at my decision but glad because she felt I was drinking too much too. But, she didn’t know how to talk to me about it. Now that I had her support, I knew I could keep going. Why I was worried about judgment from anyone, I really had no idea.

Now, it’s been one year since I stopped drinking socially. I’m not going to say I haven’t had a drink but I am no longer having blackout mornings, not knowing what I did the night before. Any time I drink, I make a conscious effort to order just one and leave it at that.

I don’t feel like I had an addiction and need to attend a rehab center. However, I am grateful there are options open and I can talk to a professional if I feel that I am in need of assistance. For now, I am still taking things day by day and putting my best foot forward, avoiding over drinking and simply enjoying my time with friends and family.

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