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Stopping drinking and pressure from friends Watch

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    I've come to a point in my life when I realize that only by stopping drinking can I reach my full potential. I've tried several times to cut down, both in the amount I drink and the frequency of drinking occasions, but have failed. I've done the "month off" three times this last year, but each time I find it more miserable, feeling that I'm being deprived of one of life's greatest pleasures. As such, the binge which ensues once I resume drining gets bigger and more destructive. The last such period resulted in a massive week-long vodka binge, arguments with my parents, loads of wasted money and lost friends.

    I agreed to seek help and am seeing an addiction counsellor. It was explained to me that there is no such thing as an alcoholic, and anybody who drinks alcohol is at some stage of addiction. Few of us would socialize, for example, at a party without a drink in our hands. Whatever stage we are at, once we realize that alcohol has given us absolutely nothing, but has instead only taken away, we can quite easily quit. We don't need to feel deprived. In fact, we feel nothing but release.

    I was dubious at first, but he asked me to question anything I was undure about. He successfully convinced me that alcohol doesn't give me confidence, but actually makes me more vulnerable and destroys my confidence in the long-term. There was more banter, but I ended up coming round completely to his point of view. I decided there and then to quit drinking. I no longer see the point in it, and I have so much to lose.

    Anyway, I met up with some drinking soc chums over the weekend they were still drinking heavily. I didn't even tell them at first. I just opted out of rounds. And neither did they notice. I was as jovial as ever, and one lad commented on how much energy I seemed to have. But then another said, "Bret, why are you drinking neat gin". "I'm not," I said, "I'm drinking Perrier". Everyone laughed and I told them about my issues. These are some of the responses I got:

    "You're not an alcoholic, I drink more than you"

    "You went a month without booze. You don't have a problem."

    "Can you walk past a pub and not go in? The means you're not an alcoholic."

    "No more boozing= no more birding"

    But the one that got me most was:

    "You'll wake up in 10 years time and wonder why you wasted your twenties. These should be the best years of your life and you're thinking of throwing them away."

    How can I respond to this? I know lots of people who agree with them, that you can't live life to the full without being on the piss big style. I've found life much more fulfilling since I quit for good. It's like a weight has been taken from my shoulders that was there for too long. But am I just kidding myself that life without the piss can be anything other than satisfactory?
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    (Original post by bret)
    Few of us would socialize, for example, at a party without a drink in our hands.
    Not true I don't drink and I socialise.

    That's my 10 pence worth! :p:
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    You don't need alcohol to have fun. Just ignore everyone. And don't make a big thing out of it.
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    (Original post by sil3nt_cha0s)
    Not true I don't drink and I socialise.

    That's my 10 pence worth! :p:
    I said few, and the point is, once you start drinking you wouldn't want to socialize without it. Put 50 drinkers in a room without booze and they'd have a miserable time. Put 50 non-drinkers in a similar situation and they'd have fun. Give the boozers their drinks and they too would have a good time. Point being, booze makes us default miserable in certain situations, not ultra happy. Look at at a kiddies birthday party for a bunch of gregarious non-drinkers.
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    I will never understand why people think if you dont drink (get pissed) your boring
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    (Original post by Turbanator)
    I will never understand why people think if you dont drink (get pissed) your boring
    This ^

    (PS rep coming your way )
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    I wouldn’t worry about it. I think it has a lot to do with your upbringing. My Dad doesn’t drink at all and my Mum only does occasionally. There was also never any mystery about alcohol in our house. If I wanted to try it I could and it wasn’t forbidden so I found out what it’s like, and didn’t really see the point.

    I don’t drink at all and really don’t understand people who think you have to binge to have a good time.
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    As for practical advice, I would say just don't make any kind of big deal out of it, whatsoever. If you start telling a bunch of heavy drinkers they're all addicted to alcohol they might start to get a bit pissed off, but if you just leave it eventually it will become normal and they won't even mention it any more.
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    For the record, I don't drink at all (never have) and don't have any trouble whatsoever with socialising/clubbing/etc. Everything's much cheaper when you're teetotal, too.
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    (Original post by bret)
    "You'll wake up in 10 years time and wonder why you wasted your twenties. These should be the best years of your life and you're thinking of throwing them away."
    I've found life much more fulfilling since I quit for good. It's like a weight has been taken from my shoulders that was there for too long.
    There's your answer...

    + some cliche advice from me: don't try to live other people's expectations or you'll never be happy. Happiness comes from within, not without. Well in this case also without, I guess.

    What a seriously bad pun. Ah well, sorry.

    PS. don't try to justify yourself in front of your friends, if they don't understand you. Just grin or make a joke and change the topic.
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    I'm begining to question myself as to whether I am giving up something pretty major in not drinking. It scares me that they're right. That I will look back on my youth as a waste, at least past the age of 24.
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    Well then - binge-drink until you're 30 and stop afterwards.
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    (Original post by whitepearlbaby)
    You don't need alcohol to have fun. Just ignore everyone. And don't make a big thing out of it.
    This. You won't feel as much pressure if people aren't 'against' you not drinking. If you have a coke or something then it might be ignored by friends, there could be vodka in it. Don't mention it. I'm not trying to imply that you should hide it, just not to bring it up unless someone asks. Don't feel under pressure, do what you want.
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    (Original post by bret)
    I'm begining to question myself as to whether I am giving up something pretty major in not drinking. It scares me that they're right. That I will look back on my youth as a waste, at least past the age of 24.
    Of course you aren't. Don't be silly. Seriously. Your liver, wallet and ability to remember stuff past 11pm will all thank you for it, for one thing. You're not going to waste your youth away by not getting drunk... which idiot gave you that idea? Slap him or something, he's an idiot. :p:

    You will probably come up against opposition, as you have already. Not drinking does require some self-control if your friends are nagging you about it, but you're an adult now - they should get used to the idea pretty quickly. If they don't, telling them exactly how much it means to you can do the job, by whatever means. Including anger. If they're annoying you by pestering you about it, snap at them for three sentences, and if they're friends worth having, they'll say little to nothing about it after that point. (You could argue that if they're friends worth having, they'd support you in your decision anyway, but society's far from perfect, so we'll forgive them so far.)

    Not drawing attention to it can also help. I'm pretty proud of being teetotal, and don't mind vocalising this, but I have it easier than you in that I've never drank, so perhaps it's a bit easier for my friends to respect that than if they'd gotten used to the idea of me drinking. In your case, it might help to not mention it very much - just get water/Coke/whatever if you're thirsty and say no more on the topic; concentrate on enjoying yourself! And at some point you'll discover the secret pleasure of going clubbing, dancing exuberantly, then watching people's amazed expressions when you inform them that, actually, you're perfectly sober.
 
 
 
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