Choosing to live sober.
Choosing to live sober?
Social Acceptance of Alcohol
Alcohol flows through the very fabric of our society and culture and we are seldom more than a few hundred yards from an alcohol supplier or a few moments away from the next celebration. We will find alcohol offered at practically every social occasion we attend, from birthdays to funerals. It is so much the norm, that people often find it strange when someone chooses NOT to drink (You mean, not even beer?.... I get this a lot).
Alcohol is available in a staggering variety in practically every supermarket or grocery shop we visit, despite being among the leading factors of ill-health and injury across the globe. TV, newspapers and more so on the internet periodically provide the “good news” that some study found alcohol may reduce the incidence of one medical complaint or another.
But when taken as a whole, alcohol is bad for us even in small quantities It is a poison after all). Advertising, films, TV, books, even birthday cards, cement a link between alcohol and joy. They tell us this despite alcohols links to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and trauma recovery. Ironic.
So, no, if you are trying to change your approach to alcohol or in recovery from it and you feel a bit out of place in the world, little wonder. It isn’t just you. “Most people think it is crazy not to drink. Isn’t that crazy?
Choosing to be a non-drinker.
Individualism is Hard Work! As much as we may like to see ourselves as individualists, going against the grain is actually quite hard work (personal struggle of mine).
Being the social animals that we are, we are happier when running with the crowd. When we are fitting in! Alcohol’s role in forming and bringing together groups of friends makes taking a SOBER approach quite tough. In recovery, having to find ways to overcome awkward social situations is hard, and finding a way to explain you have a negative view on alcohol without alienating yourself further is not easy.
I you have a tendency to be a ‘People Pleaser’, worries about becoming an outsider can make the early stages of recovery from alcohol dependence harder than it needs to be.
Meeting the Challenge
The key to overcoming this feeling of “alcohol disconnection” is to find alternatives to and take the good parts of drinking culture. Joining sports clubs, gym, social groups all have the social aspect and personal connection without the hangovers.
Surprising to hear but, our increased ability to connect (even digitally) with one another seems certain to be playing a big part in slowing the rate of alcohol uptake. Alcohol consumption has fallen dramatically among our more digitally-connected young people. Us oldies can learn from this.
We do not need to go to bars to meet people if we do not want to these days. We can now form groups and relationships centred around other interests. Alcohol will, of course, remain embedded in our society for a long time to come. And, inevitably, this will bring problems. But we have more tools than ever to understand them and overcome them.