Has your alcohol consumption evolved from a ‘social lubricant’ into a ‘crutch’?
In this post, I’m answering a viewer question, maybe you can relate to this.
“Was alcohol ever an issue because of social anxiety?…”
Sebastiaan: Hello, this is Sebastiaan – social-anxiety-solutions.com. I’m a former social anxiety disorder sufferer and a social confidence coach and today I’m answering a question that was posted on the one of my YouTube videos and I’m going to read it to you now. Here we go, it was by Kenty.
She says, “You’re great and have big heart for doing this for people that are in this situation that you once were”. Well, thank you. “I want to ask you a question. Was alcohol ever an issue to you because of your social anxiety? I find myself over drinking in some situations even though I only drink once in a while. And my social anxiety is much better but that alcohol issue is still there and I think it is because that anxiety issue is as well still there deep inside. Not to mention how awful I feel the next day after I drink extreme anxiety hangover, shame and guilt”.
Okay, well, first off, yes, I can relate to the extreme anxiety hangover shame and guilt and not just a little bit, a lot. What should I say about this? Well, for one, I don’t want to be saying alcohol is bad and that kind of stuff because I have drunk a lot. I partied a lot and alcohol really helped with that. Now it is a crutch and it is definitely not a solution and it’s very sad if people are alcoholic and that’s a real problem but let’s be honest, it does give you liquid courage and when I was drunk especially in the beginning I could just not necessarily be myself but I would be quite… there was no anxiety and I’d be quiet all over the place and I’ve had a lot of fun. So, I just want to put that out there.
All right, that said, obviously, it’s not really a solution. The hangovers are actually what made me stop drinking because I was drinking a lot and for a long time. I think I started drinking when I was 12. I did a lot of drugs too but I started drinking when I was 12 and I stopped really maybe when I was 27 or 28. And that was because I was just done with it. It had become boring and I didn’t really need it anymore.
I moved to Thailand and Chiang Mai and my best buddy Tom, he was preparing for MMA fights in the ring. He was eating super healthy; He was into health. I left the Philippines and after a couple of years of partying and drinking that had become boring and now, we’re just more busy with building our businesses and our Fridays are now consisted of in the evening getting together and this must even be longer ago than that. But anyway, Friday evenings coming together to drink green tea and to talk about our goals for the next week and to set up accountability. Hey, if I don’t do this Tom, I will wash your dirty gym clothes that kind of accountability. So, things kind of became different and then instead of drinking two-three times a week, now it became once a month.
So, once a month I would go on a big bender until eventually that also kind of tapered off and I’m 35 now. I had four beers a couple of days ago. I drink a beer every now and then. I’m not against drinking in any way shape or form but yeah, it doesn’t pull me anymore. It’s not so interesting anymore. I go salsa dancing a lot but if you have a couple of drinks in you, your dance gets less good. You don’t hear the music so well and you get offbeat and it’s not great and I really dislike the hangovers. My hangovers at one point started to get so bad that I was getting panic attacks when I was having a hangover. That really helped with stopping drinking as well.
But if it’s a real problem for you, you could be an alcoholic I don’t know but if it’s a real addiction then you need to get some proper help for it. However, if it’s something that you’re doing to cope with the anxiety then that is something that you might very well stop doing once you’ve dealt with the actual like you said deeper underlying causes of your anxiety. Because if you don’t really need to have something to pap you up or to give you some confidence in order to socialize it to hang out then alcohol is less attractive. No, it is fun to have a drink every now and then. That’s that.
There’s one more thing that I did want to say about it once I stopped drinking, I became like really hardcore about things. It’s kind of like these people that stop smoking and then start hating on everyone to start smoking like “The smoke stinks”. It does stink by the way. I smoked for a long time as well I don’t smoke anymore, it does stink but let people be.
What I then noticed was like I was really hard on myself. So, I kind of started to develop like a real apathy against alcohol and then when I would drink a couple of drinks, I would actually become more insecure because I was so hard on myself internally. Then I had to work on that so that my harshness would leave and I could just have a few drinks if I wanted to. I think that’s real freedom.
For me it’s the same thing with smoking. Like I don’t smoke any cigarettes but I have smoked from 12 to 27-28 something like that and then I stopped. It was pretty easy to stop because I had a clear goal for why I was stopping and that was I noticed that I had less stamina and I was less sharp on the football pitch and that mattered to me more. I also realized I smell bad and I don’t want to smell bad. So, I stopped that and it was relatively easy. And now it’s at the point where I sometimes smoke but it’s very rare. Yeah, I might smoke once every three months and only when I drink. So, I don’t drink a lot but when I do, I smoke a cigarette. I love it, I enjoy it. I’ve really savor it but then the next day it’s like… And I don’t want anything to do with it anymore.
So, when you don’t have any addictions left which you can get to. It’s something that you can address depending what the addiction is. I’m not an addiction expert. I’m just talking from personal experience here. Then you can have that kind of freedom where it’s like alright, well, now I feel like drinking and I’m having a great time. I’m enjoying having a couple of drinks. What the hell, I’ll have a couple of cigarettes as well. And then the next day you have to suffer a little bit with a bit of a hangover. By the way the little hangovers that I have are also not that bad anymore. I mean there’s a bit of headache but it’s not that extreme like beating myself up of feeling horrible about life in the world coming at me and panic and all of that because I think that the hangover just exacerbates the already pre-existing beating yourself up an anxiety problem that you have, if you have it. So, that just makes it a lot more difficult.
This is a bit of a ramble on your question but that’s my personal experience with drinking. So, in conclusion I drank a lot. It’s been fun. Now I almost don’t drink anymore and I’ve gone through judgements about drinking which kind of made it a lot less fun.
Yeah, I’m at a good place with that now. I think that’s something that you’ll get to as well once you resolve the issues that cause you to drink. Then it’s no longer a need – “I need to drink in order to feel a bit more confidence when I’m out socially” and then it just becomes a preference. Like “Hey, right now there’s something cool going on. I feel like having a drink. I’m going to have a drink. Hey, let’s live life and celebrate it. Cheers”.
So, I hope that’s been helpful. Thank you for your question. It’s kind of fun to answer this. If you like videos like this, most of the time it’s more specific advice but you can subscribe here.
Have a great week and I will talk to you soon. Bye.