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Question for recovering alcoholics/non-drinkers...

Old 10-17-12, 05:15 PM
  #1  
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Question for recovering alcoholics/non-drinkers...

Long story short my basic question is what do you do when everyone around you is drinking and you can't or don't? I've almost never refrained from drinking in the past, and every time I have I've just been exceedingly bored or annoyed with the drunk people. If I just avoided the situations, I would honestly have to stop seeing almost every one of my friends. I guess I'm kind of hoping it's the type of thing that you just get used to. So anyone, ways to not feel like an outcast for not drinking amongst drinkers?(Not that my friends would look down upon me for not drinking or anything, it's just my own anxiety.)
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Old 10-17-12, 05:42 PM
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Drink something else is my usual answer. There is no shame in just having a Coke or whatever. It used to happen to me all the time... I had an amateur bartender for a roommate for a while.
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Old 10-17-12, 05:44 PM
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Find some new people to associate with. I hate being around people who are drinking- they're loud and moods can swing in no time. I prefer to drink alone on the rare occasions I feel the urge to do so. Bad experiences in my youth... and with today's tech/mobile video/pics, I really don't want to wake up some morning to discover that I did something that I really shouldn't have.
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Old 10-17-12, 05:51 PM
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People, places and things. I avoid being in situations where there is heavy drinking. I can count on one hand how many times I've been around alcohol since I started recovery nearly two year ago. However, with the Steps and the guidance of others, I should be able to join the occasional gathering (with others drinking). But, I've done a TON of work to get to that point. I'm an adult and should be able to handle big boy situations.

I realize and accept now, that I can not consume alcohol or mind altering substances in ANY form. After years of trying to control the beast, I've accepted that I am an Alcoholic and that I am responsible for my actions and one of those is making a decision everyday. That decision is to not drink.

With that said, I've found that the people who truly cared about me, my old drinking buddies, refrain from drinking around me when they want to see me and be around me. The others have moved on and I'm very cool with that. I am not here to judge their actions. Most of them can effectively drink as adults.

If you want to, you are more than welcome to PM me regarding all of this. I've already put enough on my sleeve in this thread. I will finish off with this though. My life has become wilder than my wildest drunken dreams since I started this recovery gig. Life has truly been amazing these past two years.

Rick D.
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Old 10-17-12, 05:54 PM
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I just order a coke or an iced tea.
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Old 10-17-12, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
I just order a coke or an iced tea.
Coffee neat for me.

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Old 10-17-12, 06:36 PM
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Tonic with a twist of lemon is my preference in social situations. After a relatively short time, I didn't find being in the presence of alcohol to be much of a problem. (Stress, OTOH, never ceases to trigger an impulse.) But I did stop hanging around bars, except those with live music. Drunks were just not as much fun as it had seemed in the past. Casual social situations where alcohol is being consumed was an easier adaptation than I would have anticipated (and I was one who was pretty much never without a drink of some sort nearby from the first shot in my morning coffee). Having no fear driving home when you see a cop nearby is a nice bonus. Avoiding heavy drinking situations while still maintaining the friendships you want to maintain really is doable. Some drinking buddies may fall by the wayside, but people come and go throughout one's life in any case. For me, it was a new promise every day that ultimately just became part of who I am. And you really do come to realize that the benefits outweigh the sense of deprivation. You ain't really missing all that much. Good luck.
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Old 10-17-12, 06:57 PM
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Thanks all. I get my license back next week after having it suspended for a DUI in March, so I need all the good vibes I can get about not drinking. Frankly I'm lucky to be alive and not have several more DUIs. Hopefully now that I've massively cut down on the drinking and have a very good group of friends, those days are behind me.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:02 PM
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In my experience, the only people who pay attention to what and how much other people are drinking are alcoholics themselves. Either active or in recovery.

But here's the practical advice: have a drink in your hand. It keeps people from commenting or shoving a drink on you. I usually drink sparkling water with lime. (Most people will assume it's a Tom Collins or G&T.) If you get uncomfortable, give yourself permission to leave.

Last edited by caloso; 10-17-12 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
In my experience, the only people who pay attention to what and how much other people are drinking are alcoholics themselves. Either active or in recovery.

But here's the practical advice: have a drink in your hand. It keeps people from commenting or shoving a drink on you. I usually drink sparkling water with lime. (Most people will assume it's a Tom Collins or G&T.) If you get uncomfortable, give yourself permission to leave.
Only a pathetic jackass concerns himself with what others drink.
I drink(very often) but never have been around others who berate non-drinkers with us.

You might reconsider where you hang out in that part of the world and go elsewhere.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:13 PM
  #11  
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I had to think about this a bit and I realized I've only been around drinkers 3 or 4 times in my 25 years of sobriety.
Over the first 2 to 5 years of sobriety I formed realationships with sober people.

On occasion I've been pressed to have a drink and I usually say something like "no thanks, I have to be home by Christmas."
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Old 10-17-12, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jimblairo View Post

On occasion I've been pressed to have a drink and I usually say something like "no thanks, I have to be home by Christmas."
I like that. I like that alot. I'm going to have to use that in the future.

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Old 10-17-12, 10:45 PM
  #13  
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Two words: Shirley Temple (or maybe Roy Rogers)
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Old 10-18-12, 01:29 AM
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As someone who is a Jekyl/Hyde, and had a Bad Sober as a father, to say I have a dislike for alcohol is... an understatement. That said, this is how I hand situations involving alcohol:

Bar rules: I enter for 1) Food, 2) live band, or 3) I'm being paid to do so. I also agree with having a drink in your hand, be it water or a root beer(closest I come to drinking beer). I also don't let random people order for me(since most bar goers are there for the buzz). If it became a regular occurance(sp?), I'd get a shirt saying I DON'T WANT ALCOHOL. At least the bartenders, if they knew a drink was for me, wouldn't make it in the first place.

Alcohol outside of a bar: If you can handle your alcohol, GREAT! If you can't, I don't wanna be around when you drink(I housed someone for the local SA Corps and they ruined a set pf speakers I can't replace, and playing a ((shudder))Jimmy Buffet CD too)
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Old 10-18-12, 02:12 AM
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Order a Virgin Cuba Libre
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Old 10-18-12, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
In my experience, the only people who pay attention to what and how much other people are drinking are alcoholics themselves. Either active or in recovery.
That has not been my experience; many people pay a lot of attention if you aren't drinking, and it's generally very negative attention. I've lost count of the times someone's demanded to know what was wrong with me or made fun of me for refusing a drink. I've even had someone refuse to date me because I didn't drink. To give some context, my father was alcoholic, I was allowed to drink as a young child, and at 17 I decided never to drink alchohol again. I've spent a lot of time as the only non-drinker in a crowd of drinkers. Eventually I took up activities that aren't conducive to intoxication -- that's a lot better!
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Old 10-18-12, 02:54 AM
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I just say no. I have never wanted to drink bar once when I was at college. Hated the experience and never did it again. Here in Korea its almost an obligation to drink and I simply refuse. People don't understand and I don't care. I choose not to drink and if they do its not my problem.
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Old 10-18-12, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BenzFanatic View Post
Long story short my basic question is what do you do when everyone around you is drinking and you can't or don't? I've almost never refrained from drinking in the past, and every time I have I've just been exceedingly bored or annoyed with the drunk people.
That's probably because drunk people are usually boring and annoying.

Originally Posted by BenzFanatic View Post
So anyone, ways to not feel like an outcast for not drinking amongst drinkers?
I'd say you pretty much have to accept that you're different and you are going to stand out from the crowd. Coming to peace with that is not so easy. One interesting thing I observed is that my being sober when everyone else was drinking caused genuine distress to quite a few people -- I'm not entirely certain why -- maybe they felt bad about using alcohol as a crutch to cope with social situations. They don't express that directly, maybe they aren't even really aware of it, but if you look carefully you see it. Knowing that helps you realize that you're not alone and gives you something outside yourself to focus on.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:19 AM
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I'm much more aware of this now that my sister is about to marry a recovering alcoholic. I actually have felt awkward drinking infront of him.

Her wedding was initially planned as 'dry' but now will be 'mixed'. Will be interesting to see how that works out with so many AA members there...
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Old 10-18-12, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post

Her wedding was initially planned as 'dry' but now will be 'mixed'. Will be interesting to see how that works out with so many AA members there...
Like any other group of people, you will find that some of them are jerks, some of them are not jerks and some of them are Steelers fans (I recovered in Pittsburgh). Honestly, if most of the AAers at the party have down their work, you will likely not even know they are in AA. In my experience, and this is only mine, most of them are just grateful to not have to pick up again and generally mind their own business in public. But, that's generally the type of AAers I hang out with.

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Old 10-18-12, 08:32 AM
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By the time I stopped, several of my other friends had stopped. So if anybody commented, it was easy to just say "I had to stop for a while". If it got to a point where I was uncomfortable, I would then make a quite exit.
Simply decide what you want to do for yourself.
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Old 10-18-12, 08:44 AM
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I simply choose not to go to parties or hang out with people that care if I am or not drinking.

If they care what's in my hand to drink, I don't care to be around them.

I do drink, but I don't get drunk. I had two beers last night and was pretty buzzed. That was more than enough.
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Old 10-18-12, 08:56 AM
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In 20 years, I've only had one person really insist I take a drink. It was the Dean of the College where I work. I just kept smiling and politely declining. He knew I was an alcoholic and just didn't care. He wasn't a bad guy otherwise, he just couldn't take the fact that I could say no and he couldn't. After spending his last few years drinking at his desk and passing out every afternoon, he is no longer among us. Just keep smiling and you'll live a lot longer.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:24 AM
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I just tell people that I'm the designated driver, just don't tell them that the person you're driving for is yourself.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
I just tell people that I'm the designated driver, just don't tell them that the person you're driving for is yourself.
I used to show up with soda when I was in college and drove somewhere and got some grief for it, especially if people found out there wasn't any alcohol in it. I used to tell people I'd put too much time/money/effort into my car to wreck it by drinking and most people were ok with that. The rest of them usually wanted a ride home later on.

I can't say I'd recommend what I did after that, but it worked for me at the time. My exwife is a heavy drinker, and everyone seemed to understand that one of us needed to be able to handle the trip home.
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