Sobriety and social anxiety

Hey every one, I’m still early in my sobriety, what helps you all deal wjth the fact that you don’t feel as social anymore? I have always used alcohol for my social anxiety and to be more outgoing. I am now terrified of going out in public. Or being able to talk to people, even friends and family out of fear I won’t even know how to keep a conversation. What are some tips?

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Social anxiety was one of my favorite excuses for drinking.

My inner alcoholic twisted it into your boring without alcohol. Everyone drinks, might as well join them. Sober is boring.

As my alcoholism progressed and I continued to put my health at risk, and had to deal with all the negative consequences of what I said, or did while drunk and not remembering doing it, I isolated myself as much as possible from alcohol.

That meant staying away from social activities, because alcohol was involved in everything I did and everyone I hung out with.

It wasnt comfortable at all in the beginning, but my days without drinking were adding up, so I kept isolating myself, and only socialized with people who dont drink. Many of those people I dont share common interests with, so I spent more time alone, working on me.

Now im comfortable not socializing. Im not a hermit. I still live a very active lifestyle. I interact with people. The people I choose to interact with are healthy, positive, and sober.

Its more meaningful, although less frequent.

I have been around people who are drinking, getting drunk. Its no longer fun to be around. I dont stay long, and im greatful to leave. Sober.

I still sometimes feel like I’m missing out on something, but know that my inner alcoholic is twisting my perception. Thats what it does. It wants it keep me drunk. Sometimes its subtle, other times its loud.

We dont have to be social butterflies in recovery. If I get social anxiety in any situation, I’m free to leave. I can persue other interests. Many times those other interests lead to meeting other people with similar interests that aren’t drinking. Thats been really cool.

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Thank you for this perspective. Honestly it makes me feel a lot better. I suppose I was putting too much emphasis on feeling like I must remain as social as I was when I was drinking. When in fact that would be detrimental. Gives me something to consider. Thank you

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I think its pretty common. I spent so much time partying that it became my identity. Im still learning who I really am. Or reconnecting would be a better word. Im also learning to love and respect myself again.

As my alcoholism progressed I lost the ability to love and respect myself. I am humble today too. Alcohol made my ego huge. I was not humble unless I humiliated myself from drinking. Then it only lasted until I drank again…

Repeat vicious cycle…

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This especially and everything Jason has said is huge for me too. Give yourself time to develop strategies, new interests and activities your can share with people, or just to relearn how to have a conversation! I was just as worried as you are now in my early sobriety, and frequently commented how the most normal things with other people were all new and frightening for me. I still suffer hugely from social anxiety in larger groups/with strangers. I’m working on that much as I can by building a healthy relationship with myself. When I was still drinking, my self image was so incredibly low, for years I would be so full of self loathing and obsessed with how untenable I was, the obliteration through alk was required for me to go out at all almost other ppl, even friends. I was really unsure whether and how this would change, but wonderfully it did. Like Jason said, our relationship with ourselves change, self respect will grow again, and will give you a whole different starting point from where to venture into the world. And even then, you don’t have to do the exact same things with exactly the same folks. Allow for change you come, it is needed in you and will accommodate you. :two_hearts::sunny:

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This is all hitting so close to home. I have been feeling this exact way but couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me… you have.

Thanks for sharing!

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Man, do I understand this feeling. I needed several drinks to get me to a place where I could exhale enough to talk to people in social situations…and then after a few more I was there arranging the afterparty and picking the bar.

In sobriety, I was forced to get to look inward - and realize that I had no idea who I was or what I truly enjoyed. I had numbed for so long…used booze to even feel able to exhale…i didn’t know how I would ever go to a party again.

What I am figuring out is that I am a natural introvert. For me, listening to music, gardening, cooking, reading…these are the things that seem to recharge my soul. At a little over two years sober, I can now go to social gatherings, but I typically find a way to stay busy there. Dishes to wash? Kids to play with? Some way to help the host? That helps me to fill the time I used to spend with a drink in my hand.

My other go-tos? Especially in early sobriety, I drove seperately in case I started feeling a lot of anxiety and needed to slip out. I made sure to always have a seltzer in my hand so that no one would offer me a drink. I realized that, in making small talk, questions were my friend. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! What’s new? How’s your job going? Traveled this summer? What going on with your family these days?” etc. It is much easier for me to focus on engaging someone if I can make the conversation about them.

Don’t feel badly about saying no to social engagements, especially early on. I have found that I maintain contact with friends one-on-one much better than in group situations. There is some freedom in the realization that I dont have to make the scene anymore. It just isn’t who I am…and taking care of who I am seems a lot healthier than trying to force myself to be a social butterfly.

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First few months of my sobriety i used Meetings as my social outings met like minded people wish you well

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I hit 5 years last month and I still have social anxiety, I’m actually going to a weekend party for my girlfriends birthday and it’s all sober people but from zoom meetings she does since corona hit. I really just have a pit in my stomach for some reason and it doesn’t help that the person who introduced me and my girlfriend is my friend for 15 years and her friend for a little over a year and I know this girls character and behaviors and always calling me at 3 am to pick her up from whatever boyfriend she has at the time crying or yelling. So it’s just got added drama also with her current boyfriend and another one of my girlfriends friends who had a tight friendship like me and this girl So they have beef, I don’t know if I’m rambling but I just have a feeling of dread right now and we are suppose to leave in an hour or so…anyways. There is always anxiety but the best thing to do is try to conquer it and get use to that feeling until it’s gone. I still get it but I think it’s normal. Be blessed yall

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Happy birthday to your honey; you’ll be fine. It always seems worse in our minds, and it’s her day so put that in the forefront and let all the other sh*& go by the wayside!

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I’m 2 years sober today and I still deal with it alot and in the beginning it was very hard for me as it killed me to set boundaries for myself like not going around drinking/parties/certain friends and hope people didnt hate me for it. I always have to remind myself that no matter what anyone thinks - being sober and the way I am now is a better lifestyle for me and is now MY priority as well as enjoying the life I live.

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Meetings have helped me tremendously with my social anxiety. I couldn’t even speak at the first few. When I finally started sharing, I knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t get the words out. It got much easier over time. Now I’m able to socialize in all situations sober. It takes practice just like everything else we learn.

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I finally just accepted it and the fact we are running late because she also has anxiety about looking perfect for her birthday lol, it’s only human. Thanks for your wishes and advice. I shall definitely keep it in the for front of my mind

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Well, yeah!:smile: I hope it’s everything she expected!:smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart:

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I think this hits the nail on the head for me. I have some of these issues too, and it is certainly anxiety inducing to go out with the same people if they are drinking etc. I think some of that anxiety is the internal question of your role in a social situation that you are already accustomed to. My thoughts would be to go through and learn yourself, maybe search for groups that also enjoy your new hobbies or interests. Interact with some of the same people, but on different terms…instead of going to the same bar, try an acitivty of some sort without alcohol.

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How was party?