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Codist 06-11-2019 11:30 AM

Relying on Alcohol for My Social Anxiety
 
For about the past 8 months, I've been heavily relying on alcohol to ease my social anxiety. I drink every day starting around 1:00 PM and I generally don't stop until about 8:00 PM, and this is because I never know who will come around or what type of social situation I will have to deal with. I work from home, so it's never a dangerous situation that I'm putting myself into. My alcohol level has become very tolerant. I can drink a lot, and once I get started, it's a little hard for me to stop until I feel that buzz and can keep it going. I don't care to get completely drunk, unless I'm hanging out with friends and family during a gathering or something. Any other day, it's just to feel normal, whatever "normal" is. Alcoholism runs in my family, and I do get nervous that I could eventually fall into that due to my social anxiety and feeling like my only option is to give up.



About 4 months ago, I lost my true first love due to my dependence on alcohol. It got to the point where I felt as if I needed to be buzzed to go see him, just because people make me nervous in general. That wasn't the only reason it ended, but it absolutely contributed to it, even though he says it didn't. We were a fantastic couple - never argued, never fought, always smiled when we were around each other - until I had my embarrassing moments of drinking too much and I would be a mess about 6 months into our relationship. I think I just stressed him out.



I told him about my social anxiety, and he was completely understanding, but couldn't relate. He was a teacher, so he was constantly dealing with fellow teachers and hundreds of students a day. He offered going small places with me and helping me deal with my social anxiety, slow and steady, but we never did. To someone who's not familiar with social anxiety, it can be like a completely foreign subject to them. And for me, it feels like I'm living on a different universe. I do get envious of people who are outgoing and can have a conversation with a stranger. I want that to be me one day.



I'd like to know if anyone else has ever become dependent on alcohol for your social anxiety, and how you went about stopping it? Or, if you're still doing it, do you find it helpful, or does it just make you feel worse for being reliant on a substance to deal with social anxiety? I know it's not necessarily a healthy way to deal with social anxiety, but it helps, and I just go with it for the time being. Even going to a therapist for help makes me stomach churn and I get sweaty and begin shaking. Honestly, my social anxiety has started to embarrass me. Sometimes I just feel helpless.

Roderick83 06-11-2019 12:02 PM

ok

1 Do you want to stop with drinking?

2 Don't you think professional help is needed?

3 Do you think you are an alcoholic

4 You are not alone we are with you so don't feel alone :)

ShotInTheDark 06-11-2019 08:02 PM

Drinking is definitely not a answer... Isn't there any other ways to cope?

chrisinmd 06-11-2019 09:12 PM

Alcohol helps with the social anxiety. But its a double edge sword. It will cause you problems as well. So drink in a responsible manner

Denwil24 06-11-2019 09:53 PM

I was the same way. I would rely on alcohol and other stuff every time i went out. It helped in a way because before that i had trouble just having a conversation. My body hated it and I always ended up saying something that I regret and then I would beat myself up. Moderation.

rayan 06-12-2019 05:16 PM

this topic reminds me of this article https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...ng-bad-is-good


from the article

Quote:

Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain. When you avoid the short term discomfort of a negative emotion, you resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It works,' and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, short term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.

wittyusernamehere 06-15-2019 06:04 PM

I get a lot more extroverted when I'm drunk so I understand the temptation to use alcohol as a coping mechanism when it comes to social situations. However, you should definitely be wary of it. Alcohol addiction can have devastating consequences. It's not worth it imo.

jtd1974 06-16-2019 04:33 PM

Some kind of prescription medication might relieve your anxiety enough that you would no longer need to drink.

It's not ideal, swapping one substance for another, but taking an antidepressant or anti-anxiety med has got to be better for you than drinking every day.

Riverbird7 06-18-2019 11:31 AM

I used alcohol to cover up my anxiety. Now I'm a sober alcoholic with severe anxiety. I think the alcohol just moved the problem further down the road. It definitely didn't fix anything.

Drinking felt great to me until it didn't. Ultimately it almost lead to my death. I guess the plus side is that the desperation to get sober, needing to open up to people in order to save my life, helped me connect with people for the first time. I met some of my very best friends through AA, which is big considering that speaking in front of a group is something I NEVER thought i'd do!

There's nothing inherently wrong with drinking, but I think it concerns you or you wouldn't have posted it here. Feeling like you need a drink just to make it through is a pretty yucky place to be. At least it was for me. Unfortunately my anxiety is still there in a big big big way (hence finding this forum), so I don't have any real solid alternatives for ya.

kesker 06-18-2019 11:52 AM

I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling so. I can relate very much to what you're saying. The physical manifestations of panic can be overwhelming. Have you tried medications such as benzos. They get a bad name but if used situationally they can be a good tool. Note: They can be addictive so if you feel like you're an addictive personality then it might be best to pursue alternative treatments.

I've been using alcohol medicinally for 50 years. Well, the first ten can't be termed medicinal. I got drunk a lot then. But after that I've always used it to a certain degree and it works up to a point, although nothing like it did at first. I've never drank every day. And I'll take extended periods of abstinence just to clean out my system a bit (not sure how effective that is but it puts me at ease a little).

I'm worried you're drinking every day and that it's resulted in the loss of someone. If you're looking for advice the best I can give is therapy. I bit the bullet and went and, yes, I was freaking out but I found an understanding therapist who helped me in ways I didn't expect. Take care. :squeeze

jtd1974 06-18-2019 04:04 PM

I recall reading somewhere that a high percentage of alcoholics have social anxiety 😞

Codist 06-19-2019 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick83 (Post 1093739635)
ok

1 Do you want to stop with drinking?
Not completely, but I don't want to rely on it for social anxiety anymore. I wish I could just enjoy a drink or two here and there like most people, but I don't stop drinking because I want to continue feeling a buzz all day due to my social anxiety. And you never know what kind of social interactions will happen in a day. Someone unexpectedly coming to the house makes my anxiety go through the roof if I haven't been drinking, even if it's family members. Drinking every day has to be taking its toll on my body, so I exercise 6 mornings a week, simply because I want to almost "counteract" what the alcohol is doing to my heart/body, I guess. I tell myself that if I exercise that much per week and get my heart rate up, surely the alcohol won't make my heart just explode or something one day. Though, I know that can't be necessarily true.


2 Don't you think professional help is needed?
I do. I'm just anxious/nervous to get it. I don't want to be told what type of problems I have, although I know they are there and they are existent.



3 Do you think you are an alcoholic
I feel like that word can vary. I think I'm alcohol-dependent, but not an alcoholic. I know I abuse alcohol, I won't deny that. But I have a job (working from home because my social anxiety only allows me to do work-at-home jobs. Which, don't get me wrong, I love my job, it's what I went to college [online - again, good 'ol social anxiety at its best], but there's part of me that wants to interact with people, but I cringe at the thought of it).



4 You are not alone we are with you so don't feel alone :)

Thank you. I appreciate this so very much. When you suffer with something like social anxiety, it really does feel like you're alone, so it's nice to be reminded that I'm not alone. And some people in life think they know what you are be going through when dealing with this disease, but they don't truly know unless they suffer from it themselves. Again, thank you.

Codist 06-19-2019 09:40 AM

Also, sorry. I'm not very good with forums and quoting people. I have rarely used forums, so if my post looks weird, that's why. lol

Codist 06-19-2019 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShotInTheDark (Post 1093739979)
Drinking is definitely not a answer... Isn't there any other ways to cope?


Honestly, I'm not sure. If there are other ways to cope, or if you have any suggestions and ideas on how to cope in another way, please. I'm all ears.

Codist 06-19-2019 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrisinmd (Post 1093740001)
Alcohol helps with the social anxiety. But its a double edge sword. It will cause you problems as well. So drink in a responsible manner


Thanks for your reply. I do agree with what you're saying, that's why I do worry about my alcohol consumption, and I'll hopefully find an alternative on how to manage.

Codist 06-19-2019 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Denwil24 (Post 1093740017)
I was the same way. I would rely on alcohol and other stuff every time i went out. It helped in a way because before that i had trouble just having a conversation. My body hated it and I always ended up saying something that I regret and then I would beat myself up. Moderation.


So do you have any other ways that you cope with your social anxiety now? I'm definitely open to new ways on how to handle it, but alcohol is just the easiest I've found so far. One thing I'm good at is handling my alcohol, so I never say anything I regret. But when I drink, I just feel normal to be honest. It calms my social anxiety and it relieves me of any emotions I have toward myself or others. It just works right now. But I'd love to hear about any other coping mechanisms you've found that help. Thanks!

Codist 06-19-2019 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Riverbird7 (Post 1093745531)
I used alcohol to cover up my anxiety. Now I'm a sober alcoholic with severe anxiety. I think the alcohol just moved the problem further down the road. It definitely didn't fix anything.

Drinking felt great to me until it didn't. Ultimately it almost lead to my death. I guess the plus side is that the desperation to get sober, needing to open up to people in order to save my life, helped me connect with people for the first time. I met some of my very best friends through AA, which is big considering that speaking in front of a group is something I NEVER thought i'd do!

There's nothing inherently wrong with drinking, but I think it concerns you or you wouldn't have posted it here. Feeling like you need a drink just to make it through is a pretty yucky place to be. At least it was for me. Unfortunately my anxiety is still there in a big big big way (hence finding this forum), so I don't have any real solid alternatives for ya.


First of all, congratulations on your sobriety! I do feel for you since you are still suffering with severe anxiety. That's what I'm worried about - if I don't drink, I'll just end up with severe anxiety with no way to control it, and simply fall back into a drink. If I don't drink and I start thinking about my social anxiety, it makes me crave a drink. It's tiring, but it works. It also costs a large amount of money.

May I ask what complications you had from alcohol that it almost lead to your death? I relate to the word you used: "desperation," because I almost feel desperate at this point, with my social anxiety. I'm very guarded though, so I just don't know how well I'd connect with people at AA, but I guess it would be worth a shot if I felt I truly needed it. But I admire your dedication and work toward becoming sober.

You are right, though, my drinking does concern me. Believe it or not, my boss (of all people) told me that he has anxiety and smokes weed to make it "settle down."

I am sorry that you're still dealing with the anxiety. I appreciate your response. Best of luck to you, and if you want to have a chat through this forum's messenger thing sometime, I'm open to that. I'd honestly be very interested in hearing more about your story of sobriety. Best wishes.

Codist 06-19-2019 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kesker (Post 1093745551)
I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling so. I can relate very much to what you're saying. The physical manifestations of panic can be overwhelming. Have you tried medications such as benzos. They get a bad name but if used situationally they can be a good tool. Note: They can be addictive so if you feel like you're an addictive personality then it might be best to pursue alternative treatments.

I've been using alcohol medicinally for 50 years. Well, the first ten can't be termed medicinal. I got drunk a lot then. But after that I've always used it to a certain degree and it works up to a point, although nothing like it did at first. I've never drank every day. And I'll take extended periods of abstinence just to clean out my system a bit (not sure how effective that is but it puts me at ease a little).

I'm worried you're drinking every day and that it's resulted in the loss of someone. If you're looking for advice the best I can give is therapy. I bit the bullet and went and, yes, I was freaking out but I found an understanding therapist who helped me in ways I didn't expect. Take care. :squeeze


Hi, thank you for your response! And thank you for your concern. I've actually never tried a medication for my social anxiety. I've heard it can help. I do have a very addictive personality, and that's a huge flaw for me. I was addicted to gambling about 6 months ago and lost almost all of my money, and I ran my credit cards up to the max, plus some more. I'm now trying to dig myself out of debt on top of dealing with social anxiety and consuming alcohol everyday. I just don't know if I'd trust myself to switch from one substance to another (benzos, as you mentioned).

You mentioned you would take long periods of abstinence, and I used to do that, but now I don't. I just give in to the drink because it makes me feel functional.

I do think about that person that I lost due to drinking every single day, so that's also on my mind, but never enough to make me want to not drink. I just think I'm in a dark place, and I need help coming out of it, but I don't know where to look for that help. That's why I started searching for others like me, who could relate and actually suffer from this horrible problem. It's just nice to be able to relate to people who have the same disease, especially the ones who have beat it.

Honestly, therapy has sounded good for about the past 2 months, but I'm just nervous to make the first step towards that. I've searched numerous times on where to get therapy near me, but I never call or follow through on anything. If I went to therapy, I would absolutely have to have a drink or three before going.

It's always been so weird to me because alcohol makes me open up to people, but it also makes me reserved. I don't know.

Riverbird7 06-19-2019 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Codist (Post 1093746161)
First of all, congratulations on your sobriety! I do feel for you since you are still suffering with severe anxiety. That's what I'm worried about - if I don't drink, I'll just end up with severe anxiety with no way to control it, and simply fall back into a drink. If I don't drink and I start thinking about my social anxiety, it makes me crave a drink. It's tiring, but it works. It also costs a large amount of money.

May I ask what complications you had from alcohol that it almost lead to your death? I relate to the word you used: "desperation," because I almost feel desperate at this point, with my social anxiety. I'm very guarded though, so I just don't know how well I'd connect with people at AA, but I guess it would be worth a shot if I felt I truly needed it. But I admire your dedication and work toward becoming sober.

You are right, though, my drinking does concern me. Believe it or not, my boss (of all people) told me that he has anxiety and smokes weed to make it "settle down."

I am sorry that you're still dealing with the anxiety. I appreciate your response. Best of luck to you, and if you want to have a chat through this forum's messenger thing sometime, I'm open to that. I'd honestly be very interested in hearing more about your story of sobriety. Best wishes.


Drinking gave me "permission" to not really connect with anyone. I thought I was connecting because I was socializing while drinking, but really I was too drunk to build meaningful connections. I fell deep into loneliness and isolation, all while alcohol was tricking me into thinking I was ok. Without any rational influences into my sober brain, I was able to convince myself that my friends, family, and the world as a whole would be better off without me and I tried to kill myself.

I actually did go through AA, as well as some group therapy...both things I thought I'd NEVER do due to anxiety. At the time I rarely talked to anyone! But AA was extremely welcoming...it's one of those places where you can show up and cry the whole time, or act as awkward as you want and everyone just accepts you and tells you they're glad you're there. They've all been there. Even if they don't have social anxiety, no one is at their best when trying to get sober. AA was the first place I learned to build real, lasting connections with people who know the real me, and I'm extremely grateful for it.

That said, AA helped me not to turn to alcohol for my anxiety, but it didn't do much to ease the underlying anxiety. Though I'm grateful for my AA experience and the role it's played in my life, I wish I'd known how to get help for my anxiety before I started drinking so heavily. Unfortunately at the time I didn't understand that what I was dealing with was anxiety. I just knew I felt different and icky all the time. I felt lost and alone and just wanted to make it stop.

Now in some ways I'm back to square one, because I have no idea how to get help for anxiety. Though as I think about it my anxiety used to come with a lot more desperation so there has definitely been some overlap. I would imagine if you can find a good therapist they could help you with the anxiety and the drinking. Also, there's nothing wrong with trying out an AA meeting. It's free, and no one's going to make you stay. You can sit in the back and just listen, you don't have to speak. Just see if you hear something there you connect with.

Quick funny story....I used to get SO scared walking into AA meetings that I'd bring fidget toys to play with to keep from running out of the room. One day some people around me noticed I had play-doh and asked for some. Before I knew it I was passing out play-doh to multiple ppl around me and everyone was wishing I had more. So definitely no judgement there! :lol

T-Bone 06-20-2019 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Riverbird7 (Post 1093745531)
Now I'm a sober alcoholic with severe anxiety.

A healthy start would be to stop referring to yourself as an alcoholic if you've been sober(no matter for how long). That's a bullsh*t way of keeping yourself down, and discounting your achievements. How many sober addicts do you know? Sober people don't use. That would be like me calling myself a heroin addict even though i havent used it in 8+ years. Get over the made up notion that "once an addict, always an addict." It's not true, It's bs.


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