Alcohol calms my feelings

People pleasing. Not wanting to miss out on the fun. Restlessness. Overthinking. Scared to be me in company. Scared to be me alone. Frightened of offending someone. Feeling on the periphery of everything. Alcohol calms my feelings and makes it easier.

 

Alcohol softens the awkwardness

For these and many other reasons, I used to consider alcohol a convenient and acceptable drug. I used it to soften the abject awkwardness I experienced in certain social situations, and to feel less lonely during evenings at home when I couldn’t face human company and yet struggled to feel content in my own skin.

 

Realising I was different helped

There have always been aspects of the world that I don’t understand and that have resulted in me perceiving myself as different, slightly askew from the norm. I have, through trial and error, worked out that I am not what you might call ‘mainstream’. Somebody recently described me as ‘eccentric’ – a label that I would never have used but one that triggered a light bulb moment. It dawned on me that others might see me in this way too, and perhaps the perennial doubt I’ve always had about fitting in wasn’t just in my head after all. I was silently relieved.

 

A round peg in a square hole

For a very long time – too long a time – I tried desperately to squeeze my metaphorical foot into the glass slipper, a round peg in a square hole, moulding my personality to suit the requirements of others. But I never found it very easy unless I was drinking. Booze is a highly effective leveller and  alcohol calms my feelings.  And so subsequently, when I stopped drinking five years ago, I discovered that all the characteristics I’d taken for granted as being inherent to me – social butterfly, chatterbox, party animal – simply vanished like a puff of smoke.

 

Nights out with people I’d nothing in common with

Reflecting on all the things I’ve done throughout my life, there have been many occasions when I haven’t been true to myself, and many nights out that I’ve endured with people I had nothing in common with and who I didn’t, truth be known, actually want to spend time with. What I really love to do, the stuff that makes me feel like me and fills me up with excitement and reassurance that I do fit in somewhere – is the stuff that nowadays I aim to seek out wherever possible, instead of just waiting for it to land on my doorstep.

 

Be selective

It has dawned on me that there is a way to experience contentment and happiness on a fairly constant basis; it requires having one’s ‘rubbish filter’ turned up to the maximum setting. Don’t subject yourself to things that annoy you or make you feel uncomfortable. Do subject yourself to stuff that you love, that makes you feel amazing, that draws you close to like-minded people who reflect your own values. Be selective: the world has far too much to offer for any one person to experience it all, so don’t try to. Just pick out the best bits – for you.

 

Editor’s note

In Ireland, we find many clients report  “alcohol calms my feelings”  and this makes it hard to cutback on alcohol. We’ll have a  course on this soon, so sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.

This post was written by Lucy Rocca

Lucy is the founder of Soberistas. She launched the website in November 2012 after closing the door on a 20-year-long stint of binge drinking. She is Soberistas’ editor, and has written four books on the subject of women and alcohol (The Sober Revolution, Your 6 Week Plan (co-authored with Sarah Turner), Glass Half Full and How to Lead a Happier, Healthier and Alcohol-Free Life). Lucy lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

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