Why Alcohol Use Gets Connected with Recreation and Fun
“I’m no fun without alcohol.” Sound familiar? This may have been what the voice in your head said when you were first thinking about quitting drinking. It may also come back to you in early recovery when you take the first tentative steps back into building a social life for yourself as a sober individual.
It is not true, of course, that drinking makes us more fun to be around. In fact, it is usually the opposite. Have you ever spent time with a drunk person when you are sober? Drinking does not make you fun, it makes you loud, clumsy, and obnoxious to be around. So why, as Americans, do we continue to believe the myth that drinking makes you fun?
Drinking at social events is part of our culture. Many people believe you cannot socialize without having drinks, but when you ask yourself why that is, there is no good answer. It is just “how it is,” which is never a good reason to continue doing something, especially if you want to make a change.
Debunking the “I’m No Fun Without Alcohol” Myth
The “I’m no fun without alcohol” myth may stem from another common myth: that alcohol reduces anxiety. Some people believe that having a drink will reduce their stress, likely from seeing people taking shots or grabbing a beer when they experience stress in memes, TV, and movies, which may lead people with social anxiety to believe that they are better socializers when they do not feel nervous.
What alcohol does is lowers your inhibitions, and may give you a slight sense of euphoria, while increasing your risk of acting out in violence or engaging in risky activities. It can make you act in ways you may regret, and if you are drinking to avoid social anxiety, you are actually reinforcing the idea within yourself that people will not like the real you.
Some friend groups only get together when drinking is involved, and they may feel afraid to try spending time with each other sober, worrying about whether they will still like each other as they truly are. This says a lot about each person’s self-confidence, and the belief that their own value comes from what others think.
The confidence you think you are feeling when you drink is not coming from the alcohol, it is coming from within yourself. While some people may believe that partying without drinking is awkward, in reality, as long as you remind yourself you are out to spend time with people and not just to get drunk, you will still have a good time.
You will not become boring if you don’t drink, nor will you be the only one not drinking. When you go out sober, you will notice that not everybody is drunk. There are always other individuals who are sober, whether they are in recovery, the designated driver, or a pregnant person who you did not notice due to intoxication in the past. Partying does not always have to include drugs and alcohol. It is a state of mind more than anything, and if you truly enjoy the company you keep, and the atmosphere where you are, you will not need to take a shot or chug a beer to have fun.