I have become a social pariah. People seriously tend to tiptoe around you if you stop drinking. It’s fine if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant (which are not relevant to me), but is not fine if you are someone who used to drink and have now made the decision not to. Since my non-drinking has become common knowledge, my social life has diminished. I rarely go out for dinner anymore and I hardly ever go to parties. Granted, starting a family also has something to do with the demise of my social life but when I am aware that people choose to not invite me to functions because I do not drink, I still cannot fully understand it. In the same way that people hate dieters, especially those who lose weight, they hate people who no longer get drunk. Try as I might to point out that it’s a personal decision, there are those who seem appalled by this, incapable of accepting that Sprite is my limit, they have stopped inviting me anywhere.
Is it because people think I am no fun anymore? I don’t think I’ve lost my hilarious sense of humor, I am probably much funnier sober anyhow because I think I’ve got a sharper wit now it’s not dulled by half a bottle of rum. Sometimes our "change" appears threatening to those we hung with. We are doing something different. There is comfort in the familiar. Even if the familiar is killing them, it is what they know. For some, their reaction to change is to reject the concept of change, including the messenger. Maybe it isn’t about me, maybe it’s about how they deal with changes which I have no control over.
I know now that most alcoholics run in drinking social circles. You don't realize it until you've been sober for a while, but many of the friendships that you thought were deep and meaningful were nothing more than drinking buddies. In those groups, alcohol is the binding thread that holds everyone together. Little by little, the drinking friends realize that hanging out with you means doing it without a beer in their hands. And at the same time, if they do drink around you, it may only be a matter of time before they start offering you one. After awhile it doesn't take long before they stop showing up at all, and after years of building relationships that revolve around alcohol, you have no idea where to even start looking for real-world friendship. As you try to figure out how you're going to build a whole new social life from scratch, the dread and panic of being totally lost is just enormous. You are in social limbo. How the hell do you escape that? After 1.5 years, I still don't have an answer to that. As much of a hermit as it makes me seem and even though I know I am capable of being around alcohol. I've since resigned myself to a few very close relationships, like the ones with my family and my best friends and the rest are all just part of my 500 Internet friends.