Fear of Missing Out in Sobriety
Is alcohol essential for a good time?
Not necessarily I have found. On some occasions, for me, it was true. The only way I could have a good time in certain scenarios was to drink. Yet at almost 5 years sober I know that I can have, and have had the best fun when I don't drink.
This got me thinking harder about me and why it is that in certain situations, I am uncomfortable and unhappy sober and alcohol used to seem to solve that.
The truth is, I am an introvert. One of my struggles, and a struggle for most introverts, is that we live in a world that exalts extroverts. They are the popular ones and introverts tend to be misjudged as sad, lonely and having nothing to say.
Certain situations simply drain me, to be more specific, big parties it turns out are just not my thing. Living in a culture where parties and doing things in big groups seems to be the “in thing”, I spent much of my life trying to be that which I am not…an extrovert. It is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
Yes, I find alcohol essential to enjoying myself at big parties if I have to stay longer than a few hours. Truth. But there are things I can do to care for myself.
I now decline big parties/gatherings if I can. If I must go… On top of my survival list is to drive separately. My husband has gotten used to it. I think some people see it as a problem within our marriage but it is quite the opposite. It allows me to go home when I am drained, and my husband who is an extrovert and enjoys drinking, can stay and continue to be energized by all the people. Win/win for us and it is an example of us honoring who we are.
If that isn’t possible, I find a space to which I can retreat. My kindle fits nicely in my purse and sometimes goes with me. That way, my husband can socialize and I can relax.
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But What about the Fear of Missing Out ? or FOMO in Social Events
I rarely get triggered now but when I do it’s usually when I feel ‘left out.’
For example – When the focus of the ‘do’ I’m at is solely on drinking alcohol.
It’s not the alcohol I really want it’s the camaraderie that seems to happen between drinkers when they drink if that makes sense.
But I know it’s a false vision.
You don’t see the same people when they 3am awaken with dry mouth, anxiety, fear and self-loathing of what you may have said or done.
So I shrug off these triggers and see them for the false promises that they are.
I had a huge trigger earlier this year in a restaurant as I looked around the room and saw everyone drinking alcohol.
I realised that I would never have that ‘boost’ to the enjoyment that everyone else has at the swig of a glass.
That change in brain patterns that a drug can give you.
The change of mood that alcohol can bring in an instant.
And for a moment I was sad about that.
So what I was really missing was the change of brain pattern the drug alcohol brings.
Because the truth is – that’s what I drank it for……..
But I was simply hungry and a little grumpy. And so I ate my meal and I had the most gorgeous pudding/sweet to end my meal.
And I was fine again and the trigger hadn’t killed me.
I know now that you can change your own mood by shifting stance, smiling, telling yourself you’re ok, and focusing on something good, feeling good about what you’re doing.
Or you can just accept that on this occasion you can’t change your mood and remove yourself from the situation.
What I’m trying to say is that I accept that whenever I’m triggered it’s the change in mood I’m looking for and rejoice in the fact that I have self-taught myself to change my mood or accept it for what it is without a drug.
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