Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
Recovering from alcoholism is a challenging process, one that requires rebuilding your life and establishing new and healthy habits and behaviors.
While an alcoholic, a person may have hid behind their alcoholism to avoid certain situations or used alcohol as a way to cope with difficult circumstances.
Being in recovery essential means removing the unhealthy coping mechanism of alcohol and finding other positive and healthy ways to deal with difficult situations.
The Underlying Anxiety That Interferes with Socialization
For some individuals, socializing with others can be difficult and anxiety provoking. This may be due to an underlying mood disorder, such as social anxiety disorder, social phobia, depression, etc., or it may be related to a past traumatic experience. Whatever the reason, some individuals may find it stressful and overwhelming to socialize with others.
This can bring about tremendous pressure. Some individuals who struggle with social situations may turn to alcohol as a means of coping with this stress and pressure. The act of drinking, getting “tipsy” or being drunk may seem a tangible way to take the anxiety away from these types of situations.
Other people may only socialize in circles where drinking is also the norm. It may just be that the particular group of friends you hang out with always drink – no matter the occasion. These types of scenarios can make it difficult to learn how to socialize while sober and while not under the influence of the drink.
Renegotiating Social Situations without Alcohol
Part of recovery is renegotiating situations that were associated with your alcoholic tendencies. Learning how to socialize while sober will be crucial to maintaining your sobriety. If you used alcohol to deal with stressful social situations, it is important to seek professional treatment to address any underlying mood disorders.
If alcohol was just the norm of how you socialized with friends, you may need to learn alternative ways to hang out with your peers that will support your sobriety.
Learning to socialize while sober can a difficult task initially, but with continued practice and dedication to the process, you will find a more positive solution that works for you.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What do you think are the most challenging aspects of socializing while sober as an alcoholic that is now in recovery? What encouragement might you offer to others who are in a similar place in their own recovery?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com