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Advice? Coping with boredom & effect on social life/self perception

(25 Posts)
000olongtea Sun 06-May-18 19:45:51

I have stopped drinking alcohol for a while just for a break. It's been great for a mass of reasons but I'm really struggling now with a few things

-I find most social events really boring (cocktail parties, drinks after work type things). I'm not a shy person and don't find socialising with strangers difficult. It's almost as if with alcohol other people are more interesting or maybe I'm more tolerant. It all seems really dull and I want to leave early to get home.

- in turn this is making me want to avoid social events and also I no longer look forward to them. A friend is having a big 30th birthday next month at a fabulous location. Prior to my dry spell I'd be really looking forward to it. I am going to go but in my head it's about as likely to be as much fun as detention in a library.

- Part of the reason for giving up alcohol for a bit is that I love drinking, really love champagne and cocktails and normally go to many interesting/glamorous social events. Often they are the type of events that "impress" people when I talk about it. I've suddenly realised that this is a bit part of my own self perception of myself - as living a stylish glamorous life with lots of champagne drinking and and interesting social life. I've cut back on the events I go to for the boredom reason above.

The no-drinking has affected my self perception - I now see myself as a bit boring and as if the sheen on my life and the glamorous image has gone. I really don't like myself or my life without this and feel as if its John Major grey when it used to be Joan Collins sparkly.

Has anyone who has given up alcohol got any advice for any aspect of this?

Feel bored, avoiding social events, and now seeing my social life and myself as dull.

The other benefits of not drinking are great so I'd like to keep it up but if this stuff ^ is going to be here forever I'm not sure I can last much longer.

OP’s posts: |
000olongtea Mon 07-May-18 11:22:17

Please anyone?

OP’s posts: |
Anglaise1 Thu 10-May-18 21:32:19

I can't help personally as my social life is the opposite to yours, but I can recommend Catherine Gray's The Unexpected Joy of being Sober. She was a huge social drinker, with work as well as privately and she has some great tips on how to cope with the problems you mention. It's a good read as well!

000olongtea Fri 11-May-18 20:12:32

Thanks Anglaise1 I actually hadn't thought of looking for books on the subject.

I suppose I was hoping for some practical tips but maybe the lack of replies means that basically being sober is dull and also makes you dull!!

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andadietcoke Sun 13-May-18 07:27:58

I try to focus on the positives - I can drive home, I will feel wonderful when the DTs wake me up the next morning, my skin looks like I've had some kind of expensive facial, my night out was cheaper.

Anglaise1 Sun 13-May-18 19:15:15

000 If you only enjoyed your social events with alcohol that shows there is a problem - maybe they, and the people who attend them aren't really that interesting. Or, now that you are sober, you no longer find socialising with drinkers very interesting - they soon get boring!
Can you find some hobbies or activities which you enjoy and which don't require alcohol? I do loads of sports and belong to a couple of clubs, my social life revolves around that, some people drink but a lot don't, but we all have a shared interest in running and so it is fun.

Anglaise1 Sun 13-May-18 19:16:22

The Catherine Gray book could really help you - she had your type of lifestyle and had the same problems with social events when she gave up drinking. She has lots of tips

crackerjake Wed 16-May-18 23:42:44

This is interesting. NC for this btw.

DH and I have stopped drinking for a month just for financial and health reasons. We're going on holiday so it was a nice deadline and something to look forward to.

Well - being sober has been a revelation. I just feel so much better. I also seem to make better decisions and am generally calmer.

I'm now wondering whether to try and either stay sober or drink on moderation on holiday. And then afterwards? What then?

Like you OP much of our life is social drinking. I obviously was sober when pregnant so I just have coped then? But I totally understand your position anyway!

DonaldsTrump Wed 16-May-18 23:51:37

First, congratulations for cutting out alcohol, you’ve done amazingly well, some people never manage it no matter how hard they try.

Secondly, it is a complete myth that alcohol makes ANYTHING better. I read Jason Vale’s book on alcohol and it (along with an Allan Carr one) has completely changed the way I see alcohol. Basically whatever positive thing you think alcohol is doing for you - it’s not. When you’re drinking all that is happening is your senses are dulled - and this is my interpretation at the moment - it potentially makes you think you are more relaxed (actually just in a stupor) and that’s why you perceive the situation as more fun or interesting than your sober self would.

I can completely sympathize and understand how you are not seeing things like this right now but having spent a lot of time reflecting on my own past ridiculous drinking habits this has really helped me to see what’s really happening. I think it’s good to analyze yourself and your life and your habits, and I can almost guarantee you will like yourself more once you take away the layer of whatever it was you thought alcohol was “adding” to your persona. For me I thought it was helping me be more social and relaxed. It wasn’t. It made me into a total arsehole and I wasn’t anymore relaxed, I was more anxious until I was basically blackout drunk.

No idea if this is any help to you but hopefully someone will find it useful.

WomaninGreen Wed 16-May-18 23:57:38

" am going to go but in my head it's about as likely to be as much fun as detention in a library."

Maybe this means it's not for you

Playing devils advocate for a minute, if someone said "I won't enjoy X event without drugs" what would you think? Thing is I get some people really enjoy both but I wonder if you're at a crossroads. I used to have a glam social life too, then suddenly began to hate it. It probably carried on a while from habit. I was driving mostly so drink wasn't a factor.

Maybe alcohol isn't an issue but you have changed and not realised. Just a thought.

000olongtea Fri 18-May-18 01:28:57

Anglaise1

000 If you only enjoyed your social events with alcohol that shows there is a problem - maybe they, and the people who attend them aren't really that interesting. Or, now that you are sober, you no longer find socialising with drinkers very interesting - they soon get boring!

I know that there is a problem here but I can't work out exactly what it is or what the solution is - which is why I started this thread - looking for help!

I've given it a lot of thought and my best guess as to the reason why is two fold - one is that a lot of people are truly boring and that alcohol makes them more interesting so you don't notice (a dumb joke can be hilarious if you are pissed), and another is that I enjoy the feeling of being slighly inebriated to quite drunk (I'm not talking about falling over/black out drunk btw). This feeling and the journey to it is something I enjoy and part of enjoying a party - so I miss that.

DonaldTrump

Aren't these two things contradictory?

Basically whatever positive thing you think alcohol is doing for you - it’s not.

When you’re drinking all that is happening is your senses are dulled - and this is my interpretation at the moment - it potentially makes you think you are more relaxed (actually just in a stupor) and that’s why you perceive the situation as more fun or interesting than your sober self would.

So if that is right, alcohol is doing something positive - in fact massively positive - it is putting enjoyment into something that your sober self finds dull!

I can guarantee you will like yourself more once you take away the layer of whatever it was you thought alcohol was “adding” to your persona. For me I thought it was helping me be more social and relaxed. It wasn’t

I'm not talking about alcohol adding something to my persona. I don't find socialising - even sober - difficult. I am not shy and I do not need alcohol to make me feel more social or witty or anything really. It's more about a feature of my own self perception of "my brand" if that makes sense. [I'm using the term "my brand" losely and not seriously - I'm not Victoria Beckham FFS. I just mean the person who I see myself as and the way other people think of me]

So prior to stopping drinking, I was able to present a glamorous "brand" image - because I was always going to champagne receptions, black tie events and so on. Now because I am enjoying these things far less, I am going to less of them which means I have less to talk about and present as part of "my brand"(Again just a short hand phrase not literally!). My life just seems pretty dull and boring to me whereas before I was doing lots of things that many people don't get to do at all or at least not as regularly as I was.

WomanInGreen

Playing devils advocate for a minute, if someone said "I won't enjoy X event without drugs" what would you think?

I'd think "well don't go then"!

Now you've aske me that question I think I'd also think "it's likely that what you enjoy is the drugs and not X".

Which goes back to DonaldTrumps point about it's good to analyze your life and your habits - I'm now wondering if actually the only think I really liked was drinking and getting a bit drunk - rather than any of these events at all.

I still feel like I want the less boring me with the less boring life back!

I've ordered that book you mentioned Anglaise1

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crackerjake Thu 24-May-18 22:13:45

How are you doing op?

I'm sort of declaring that I no longer drink. So far so good.

000olongtea Fri 25-May-18 21:50:00

Still not drinking Crackerjake.
I'm not intending not to drink ever again - at least I don't think so.
Although now I'm in such a rhythm of not drinking that I'm a bit scared to have a drink because I feel better not drinking (apart from the boring/boredom issue I've posted about) and it was very hard to start with if you know what I mean.

It was hard to stop drinking totally and get going on the break from drinking. That was harder than now carrying on not drinking is. I'm thinking that maybe I should just keep going - but then I know I don't want to spend the rest of my life without fine wine.

It's also not been super- super healthy for me as I've replaced alcohol with sugar it would appear.

I've got the joy of being sober book a previous poster mentioned but haven't read it yet.

OP’s posts: |
sunraintea Sat 26-May-18 11:05:18

Hi I completely understand where you are coming from. I avoided social situations when I initially stopped drinking but had to go out last week as it was my birthday. I felt under pressure to drink but I didn't and it was ok. Probably more dignified (boring) than if I'd been drinking but I enjoyed myself and drank non alcoholic drinks out of a wine glass. I tried no alcohol wine a couple of weeks ago and it was really nice - better than normal wine! I think if you drink that, nobody will know you're not drinking and you can secretly judge people who are off their face while you keep your dignity and composure 😊

tribpot Sat 26-May-18 11:29:39

I think what you've discovered is that many social events involving alcohol are intrinsically boring. They were boring before, you just didn't notice because you had been drinking.

If the glamour of swishing off to these events was genuinely important to your sense of self, I don't think you'd feel so conflicted about going. You would perhaps enjoy the other elements - the dressing up, the fancy locations, seeing who was wearing what - and that would be sufficient reason to keep doing it, as part of your image.

So what you've learnt is:
- booze is boring
- 'being seen to be seen' is actually quite boring.

Now the trick is to replace those things which no longer provide you with fulfilment with things that done. I rarely socialise in groups now that I am sober, but see lots of my friends on an individual basis, so we can properly chat. This is much more fulfilling than spending time (even with the same people!) in a group drinking session. There is plenty of laughter. It may be less 'Instagram-worthy' but I couldn't give two shits. (Admittedly I never have cared about being Instagram-worthy, advantage of being 46!)

You can still do amazing things, esp if you want swishy glamour. Paris for the weekend, tickets for an exhibition no-one else knows about yet. You can choose to do things because you actually want to. You might have to put a bit more legwork in to finding glamorous things to do that are also enjoyable - but there are plenty of opportunities out there.

iamyourequal Tue 29-May-18 20:30:41

000olongtea how are you getting on this week? I’ve just stopped drinking during the week as I feel it’s becoming more than just a bad habit. Have you found something to replace the parties? I don’t go out much but hate the thought of a sober party. I must admit I’m the kind of person who agrees to host a party rather than stay sober to drive to somebody else’s. It’s finally dawned on me that that is a crazy attitude in life and I’m now going to learn to live without saying ‘yes’ to a drink at every opportunity. I hope you are doing well. Your posts have given me hope and I wouldn’t be worrying about the sugar too much! ..lol

bubbles108 Fri 01-Jun-18 07:04:20

I rarely socialise in groups now that I am sober, but see lots of my friends on an individual basis, so we can properly chat. This is much more fulfilling than spending time (even with the same people!) in a group drinking session. There is plenty of laughter. ......
*
You can still do amazing things, esp if you want swishy glamour. Paris for the weekend, tickets for an exhibition no-one else knows about yet. You can choose to do things because you actually want to. You might have to put a bit more legwork in to finding glamorous things to do that are also enjoyable - but there are plenty of opportunities out there.*

This ^^

It's about changing your perception of your brand and gradually changing your brand altogether

Yes, that fizzy not quite there slightly drunk feeling is lush. But you're getting it by drinking a poison.

It's kind of a DER realisation hmmconfused

000olongtea Sat 02-Jun-18 13:23:03

Big thanks to @Anglaise1 for recommending the book Catherine Gray The Unexpected Joy of being Sober.

It was indeed a good read and helpful on socialising sober in a world of drinkers.

I agree with tribpot that what I have learned is that alot of socialising is actually very boring. It is quite a shock at actually how boring it is and the massive difference that alcohol makes to "having fun" and small talk.

This is all a journey for me and I'm still undecided at how long I will stay totally alcohol-free for.

Another shocking thing is that I am struggling to even think of anything that I can replace a glamourous cocktail party and a glass of champagne with - there is nothing I enjoy as much. Everything really does seem dull in comparison.

I feel slightly like I'm in the Matrix and I've just unplugged myself (If you haven't seen the film, basically everyone is living in virtual reality plugged into a giant matrix but the truth is that they are living in foetal pods in suspended animation and just belive their virtual reality is their actual life).

It's like I am trying to decide whether it is better to be unplugged and aware of the dullness but hangover free and healthier

OR

whether the dullness is just so dull and fun free that it is better to be plugged back in on the champagne and the odd hangover and downsides are worth it.

I'm still not drinking though. It's a journey of self reflection.

OP’s posts: |
000olongtea Sat 02-Jun-18 13:24:59

In the meantime, I will soon be buying shares in Cadbury's and a sugar plantation.

stuffed full of chocolate and sugary things appears to be my new trick

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Stripybeachbag Sat 02-Jun-18 13:45:32

It sounds OP as if you want to cut out alcohol for a bit, but not forever.

How you approach this depends really on your relationship with alcohol. If you liked your social life before but want to enjoy being sober, can't you drink once or twice a week but limit yourself to a maximum of say 3 drinks? Pretty much no hangover, but a little more lively than being stone cold sober.

On the other hand if you don't feel you can keep to this and would end up going overboard, you probably have deeper issues with alcohol. In that case I'd advise thinking about this in more depth than questioning why you find your friends boring without booze.

I drink and found it so tiring being in the company of others drinking when pregnant. So I understand. I heard a teetotaller say how she'd meet with friends on a night out and then leave after a couple of hours when they started getting drunk and boring. She got to bed early, no hangover and they pretty much never noticed.

Good luck.

ashtrayheart Fri 31-Aug-18 22:59:00

How are you doing OP?
Just reflecting on socialising (am 15 months sober) and sobriety and found your post!

crackerjake Sat 01-Sep-18 14:19:28

I have stayed sober. No plans to drink again.

Wider family still not really accepted it.

Went on holiday with friends and waiters kept on at me to drink. Bit annoying.

How are you op?

greeneggblueegg Sat 01-Sep-18 17:46:36

I'm 6 weeks sober (last period of abstinence was 10 years ago whilst pregnant blush).

Generally I feel much better but have felt a bit flat over the last couple of days. Met some friends for a drink last night (1st time seeing them since going AF) and it just didn't feel right having a Fever Tree instead of glass of dry white. Don't feel like I'm good company at all at the moment or enjoying life AF.

Hoping it will pass

artio87 Sun 16-Sep-18 23:12:12

I am currently pregnant and therefore sober for the first time in a over decade... And ugggh I can relate to so much of what you're describing!

I used to think of people who didn't drink as a bit boring... Now I'm starting to sway the exact opposite way. I think drinking easily replaces a purpose in anyone's life. Or at least it did for me for a while. I had great fun going out and getting drunk every weekend (just for me it usually wasn't fancy events, more pubs and house parties and clubs so on) and really did not mind the reputation that came with it, in contrary, I somehow enjoyed it and saw it as part of who I am. During the week I was bored or depressed and drinking fixed that too... But once all that was gone I felt like there suddenly wasn't much of me left...

And I can't believe that in all those years I never realised how stupid people get when they're drunk... But like you're saying, maybe after the baby is born I will still want to reduce myself to an absolute idiot in return for some joyous hours.

Unfortunately I haven't got much advice for you as I'm still figuring it all out myself. I think for me I will need to find at least one big thing or a few things that I am passionate about, enjoy doing, have the means to do, eventually end up being good at and then will be able to be proud of. I just haven't found those things yet...

I'm curious to hear how you're getting on – keep us updated.

ashtrayheart Mon 17-Sep-18 15:12:07

My life is much much better without alcohol. Different, but better. It took me a year to get to that point though, of complete acceptance!
Alcohol promises so much but it's all lies in the end. These days I liken it to an exciting but unreliable and damaging ex-lover grin

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