Flashback to a time when I was a party girl. And when I say party girl, I mean I was theee party girl. I was out almost every night of the week, I hosted and threw parties around town. I was rarely seen without a drink in hand. While my drinking problems were more of an issue at home, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t also a social anxiety drinker as well. Does that make sense? Meaning, I couldn’t really be truly comfortable out and about, or in social situations without a drink in hand. A large portion of our society is not. But, when push came to shove, continuing to drink was not an option for me anymore. Regardless of how I might feel in future social situations.
However, giving up drinking was the easy part. Sounds weird, I know. But, it was easier to put down a drink than to come to terms with being comfortable in my own skin. And that’s what is really the struggle here.
The hardest thing to come to terms with is that I wasn’t always like this. There was a time in my life (obviously before I discovered the wonders of booze) when I was completely, 100% comfortable throwing myself into strange social situations and unfamiliar territory. For example, at the age of 16ish, I went away on a teen tour to Israel/Poland for 6 weeks with not one person that I knew. How crazy is that?! The idea of doing that now sounds a bit frightening. I’d go away to new summer camps without anyone I knew, and just throw myself into all sorts of could be very scary social places. When I went away to college, I always chose the random option for my roommates. I couldn’t imagine doing that now! I was extremely outgoing from the start, even with strangers. Hell, especially with strangers. I’d walk into a room and could talk to anyone.
Now….not so much.
At some point, something changed. I became more reserved, and quiet. I lost my outgoing self and move towards being shy and uncomfortable. If I didn’t have a drink in hand, I’d rarely circle around a room meeting strangers or starting conversations. So, you can imagine where giving up drinking has placed me in social world. It’s a constant struggle to want to go out and be social. I’m constantly wondering if I’m still fun, or with how to even began conversations, or how to even make new friends at this point in my life. It’s completely bizarre. It’s basically starting over.
As I’ve tried to really look at the situation, and what social anxiety is all about, I’ve come to realize it’s directly having to do with self-esteem and confidence. And while for a large portion of my life, I’ve been very comfortable in my own skin, and with high self-esteem. I’m not sure how I lost that.
And while I enter into almost a full year of sobriety, this is the next step in my life for me. Trying to figure out who I really am without a drink in hand, what I want out of my life, and how to build that once self confidence that I did have for so long.
Giving up the alcohol was the easy part, now I just need to figure out who I am without it.