Many moms are concerned that if they don’t drink alcohol, they won’t fit in. Fitting in socially and within society is human nature and when we feel we are not part of the tribe, it can potentially cause us mental distress.
I can completely resonate with this concept because I lived it. Back in 2016, I decided to give up alcohol, it was just no longer working for me and I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. I was alcohol-free for about 7 months when my willpower started to wane. I was feeling like I wasn’t fitting in socially with my friends and it was causing me to feel depressed.
I decided to try to moderate, knowing full well that I was able to give it up before and if my drinking started to get out of control, I would stop again. My moderation quickly turned back into heavy binge drinking and I didn’t honor my promise to myself that I would stop drinking (alcohol tends to cause us to break promises).
I finally decided to kick it to the curb in 2018 once and for all and I was able to rid myself of the idea that I am not going to fit in if I don’t drink.
How did I do it? I made a mindset shift. I realized that I was blowing it all up in my head. All of my friends drink and they were still inviting me to get-togethers and they still wanted to spend time with me. I am over 3 and a half years alcohol-free and those same friends are still in my social circle, while being alcohol-free has also opened doors to relationships with others who do not drink. You can in a sense say that I also “up-leveled” my social relationships because I have met some amazing alcohol-free friends who I have deeply connected with since I have stopped overindulging in alcohol. Friends who I am grateful for and who I would have never met if I didn’t decide to change course in my life.
On the flip side, there is the fear that your friends may reject you and no longer want to be a part of your life because you have decided to be alcohol-free. Are these people really your friends? Friends accept you 100%, no matter what. If this does happen, it is about your friend having an issue, not about you. Sometimes by us going alcohol-free, a friend may take it like it’s shining a mirror on them and their relationship with alcohol and it makes them very uncomfortable. Just remember, it’s not you, it’s them. And you may end up realizing that some of your friendships were based on alcohol and were actually frivolous friendships, not truly meaningful ones. I know when I find a friend who is in alignment with my values and completely supports me unconditionally, it overflows my cup.
Getting back to social events, it’s all about the energy you put out there. If you are going to feel sorry for yourself that you can’t have a drink when everyone else can”, that is the energy other people are going to pick up on. When you show up, to be your authentic self and to truly connect with others, people want to be around you. And you may be surprised…whether you know it or not, you may actually be impressing some of those around you, the fact you can enjoy a social event without an alcoholic beverage is real badass!
Yes, at the beginning of your alcohol-free life you may feel anxious and uncomfortable at social events, but I promise, this feeling wanes over time. What can you do to feel more comfortable at social events without a drink if you are feeling some angst? Start asking people questions. People love to talk about themselves! Get curious about others at the social event. “Tell me what you do for work? “If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?” “What was the last movie you saw?” “What do you do for fun?” are just a couple of ideas to start a conversation with.
That being said, there are some times when I am hanging out with friends or am at a social event and the drinking has gone past the point when it isn’t fun for me anymore, so I have boundaries around that. If I feel like I have had enough, I give myself permission to excuse myself and I head out. Nobody cares and half the time nobody even notices I am gone.
Just remember that if anyone has a problem with the fact you are not drinking, then it’s probably because they have some cognitive dissonance around their drinking. Your true friends will stay your friends and will support your lifestyle change without judgment.
When you think about it, it’s a liquid in a glass. We can all hold a beverage in our hand, why is it so important that it includes alcohol? Why must you have a drug in your hand to fit in with others? Something that numbs your senses, makes you not present, causes you to say and do things you regret, and makes you feel like garbage the next day.
You can still go to a social event and have fun while being fully present and remembering everything you did and said with a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand! You genuinely connect with others. It is such a shift and an amazing feeling and if you have never tried it before, I highly recommend you get curious and give it a try!