Friends and family can sometimes react a bit funny when you decide to quit drinking, When I was a drinker I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little wary of sober people myself. Who am I kidding I was more than a little wary I thought sober people were like little secret spies waiting for me to say or do something stupid! I know now that I was so completely dependent on alcohol as a social lubricant, I genuinly just had no idea how to socialise without it, Drinking is a participation sport, so, when you choose to sit out, you don’t bond quite as well with those playing the sport and it is true people think you are a bit weird! The peer pressure is absolutely real when you decide not to drink.
When you tell those close to you that you have quit drinking and they react badly please don’t be offended, You see the truth is your close friends might feel like they are losing their bestest drinking partner. And your decision to not drink forces them to examine their own drinking. It can be a bit like you are holding up a mirror to your friends/family that says “I’ve decided my drinking needs to change and maybe you should look at your own drinking”. Your friends or family may feel that you are passing judgment on them. some maybe even feel a little betrayed somehow by your decision not to join in the drinking.
“Your close friends might feel like they are losing their bestest drinking partner”.
OK The science bit: Alex is the scientist so I confess to totally pinching this next bit from an article I read online but it totally makes sense, So lets look at it this way: Essentially, Humans are tribal social animals. From an evolutionary perspective, early humans had to form social groups to hunt, gather food, protect each other and survive. As a result, we have evolved tendencies to support group cohesion by conforming to group norms and shunning non-conformity. So if we tend to associate with people who are like us and engage in similar behaviours, and we start doing things in a way that goes against the group norms, such as not drinking in a social situation, this can be a challenge to the acceptability of that behaviour in the group.
“Remind yourself of the reasons you are cutting down or stopping drinking”.
Not the science bit: Remember Whatever your reason is to stop drinking, it belongs to you. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you’ve decided to quit drinking If you feel you can speak to somebody then be truthful, if they have been funny with you let them know it has hurt your feelings and explain what you are trying to do, remind yourself of the reasons you are cutting down or stopping drinking. A strong resolution to change your drinking can be an importantant part of resisting pressure to drink. Change takes time, and there will be times when you have to meet friends and family where they are but don’t be afraid to ask them to meet you in new, cool places. Some relationships will have to be rebuilt and it won’t happen overnight- but I genuinly believe you will be amazed at the depth and strength of relationships in sobriety- even with those who still drink around you.
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