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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Being Sober

I'm grateful to be sober, I really am. I am a grateful, content recovering alcoholic. For the past year and few months that I've been in recovery I've been sober throughout most of it (two relapses, but I've gotten back on my feet). But while it's good for the most part, it can be tough.

The hardest part of sobriety, I think for many people, is how it affects your social life. I'm 20, and for most people in their late teens-twenties, socializing revolves a lot around drinking, clubbing and recreational drugs. For someone who doesn't do that, it can be very difficult and isolating to be around others. University involves a lot of clubs and parties, and standing around sipping water or lemonade or dancing surrounded by drunk/high people can feel lonely.

I don't go out much for these reasons I guess. But then I've never really been a major 'party-goer'. I always wanted to be, but in sixth form (aged 16-18) I seldom got invited out, and then when I went to York uni I did party a lot but people worried about me because of my drinking and depression. So it was never really 'normal'; I think those who went out with me always felt a bit unsettled, like they had to 'take care' of me. My cousin would feel like that when I'd go out with her and her friends, or when we went travelling together. Besides drinking, going out for me has (and still is) mostly about getting with guys (unless I'm in a relationship), but other than that it doesn't fulfill much of a purpose for me. I don't enjoy the shitty clubby music or being surrounded by drunk people while I'm the sober kid in the background.

Moreover, I don't have a major social circle to really go out with. If I see friends it's usually different friends in twosomes or little groups, and we'll meet for lunch or coffee or go to the movies or each other's houses. It's nice, I like doing that kind of stuff; going for walks, going for food, watching a film or going to a gig or just hanging out and chatting. I do like going to gigs; people don't drink heavily at gigs and I'm usually seeing music that I actually enjoy, plus I'm a musician and live music is always better. Besides that I'm mostly alone; reading, writing, practicing music or writing songs, going to AA meetings or watching one of the zillions of TV shows I love. (That's my life in a nutshell, without additional personal details). I guess due to my anxiety it's also easier for me to avoid heavily social situations - I'm not antisocial, I'm actually pretty confident, but being highly anxious and generally weary around others due to past negative experiences with friends makes it harder to be out too much.

So yeah, for a person that doesn't drink or use life can still be fun and fulfilling. But of course I get wistful of others that can drink without consequences; without ending up in A&E, worrying their friends, becoming hysterical and talking about wanting to commit suicide, becoming lazy and miserable, etc. I have to accept that I'm just not one of those people. For someone like me, my life is A LOT better without weed and alcohol. But it's tough seeing people my age out together; girls dressing up, lads doing shots and knocking back beers, and people laughing and having a good time.

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