Addiction Recovery: Sober Socializing

February 22, 2010 — 5 Comments

Slowly I am becoming more and more comfortable with being sober in social settings. I have found it easier and easier to be myself in front of people and carry on real conversations where I actually listen to people instead of just waiting to talk. Then I had kind of a weird sober socializing setback.

I had attended a party a couple of weekends ago where my husband’s side of the family also was. The day was crappy and we were sitting outside under a tent in the pouring rain. That didn’t bother me any, I was still happy to be out of the house and around people.

I had written a post previously about having a slight case of social anxiety which I used to self medicate for with beer and drugs. Since I am no longer doing that, I just have to tough it out and wait for myself to become more comfortable in the situation.

With this particular party I saw people that I hadn’t seen in a very long time and it was nice to catch up. Because of this I was all over the place talking to this table and that table. I didn’t really spend much time sitting down at my family’s table. I didn’t think anything of it but my family thought I was acting kind of peculiar.

The following Monday my husband had informed me that my brother in-law had questioned him about my behavior at the party. He said that they had thought I was a little fidgety and that I was all over the place. He asked if I was ok and he also asked if I was on any kind of drugs. I was crushed.

My first reaction was to be embarrassed and that lead right away into anger. I’m not sure if that happens to any of you but for me embarrassment and anger go hand in hand. I immediately got mad at my husband. He kept trying to assure me that the reason they asked is because they care about me and are concerned. That didn’t really make me feel any better.

I started replaying the whole party in my mind. What did I do that made them think I was on drugs? Is it so odd to see me happy and having a good time? Where they watching me the whole time? I just felt very self conscious. It was a horrible feeling. It still is really.

Once I started to cool down a bit and explain myself to my husband he could see where I was coming from but also could understand his family’s concern. Prior to me admitting to everyone that I was addicted to Oxycontin they had known that something was wrong with me but had no idea what. Therefor no one had talked about it or mentioned anything to my husband, they just didn’t want that to happen again.

It is nice to have people care about you. With that said it is a crappy feeling to work so hard at being clean, getting over depression and social anxiety and back to what you think is your normal happy self just to have people watching you and commenting that you are acting weird.

That’s really the best that I can explain the feeling of this incident. As much as I don’t want this situation to have any effect on how I act at parties in the future I know that it will. My social anxiety is back to where it used to be. I’ll just have to work hard again at overcoming it without the use of drugs. I also need to let go of this situation so that past experiences don’t dictate my future ones. It sounds very easy doesn’t it?

5 responses to Addiction Recovery: Sober Socializing

  1. That sucks, Erin. As I was reading your post I felt like you were describing me. I too have a bad case of social anxiety–always have. I too drank and took oxy (which dissolves all anxiety) to feel more comfortable around others. I don’t do either anymore and it is a real battle with my thoughts to act normal in social settings and be perceived and accepted as such. To hear a comment like that would really send me over the top. I’m sorry. Just ignore it and take it for what it is. Be yourself at parties, people enjoy that. They’ll get used to the new “real” you over time. Continue to be a great example for those around you and for those on the net. We appreciate it! And thank you for sharing something that must have really hurt your feelings, I would find it impossible to do that. I look to you and the examples you set about self-honesty and sharing openly and can only hope to become more like you and improve in this area.

  2. hi totally able to identify with your sober socializing whether it be face to face or on computer(facebook)i get nervous talking with people whether it be someone i hav known for years or just met alot of times people think i am also on somthing i just let them think it cuz they r gonna anyways those are their thoughts My God and I know the truth my thoughts r that the truth needs no defense the peops whom i am rally tight with no wusssup(have trouble socializing with them also) as alky and addicts we have history that raise doubt with others often just keep doing the right thing believe in yourself it take time this to shall pas and we wil get better at these situations take care many blessings

  3. i understand completely..preaching was so easy when i was using (public speaking to 300 people)…

    folks got so used to seeing me using, when i stopped they thought i was on drugs..

    ill be praying for ya..

    Brother Frankie
    A Biker for Christ

  4. For me, what works when social anxiety creeps up is to simply acknowledge that I feel uncomfortable, and then be at peace with it. Allowing it space to manifest, and not attempting to cover up, deny or medicate it seems to help it diminish. If it gets bad I can close my eyes and focus on my breathing to calm myself down.

    Frequently anxiety is fuel for activity, however, and that’s what I heard in your actions at the party — if you were aware of some anxiety and then your socialization was a little more “social butterfly” than usual — it’s probably a factor here as well.

    Instead of making *THEIR* story about your truth a reason to be upset (“is she on drugs?”) — own your own truth of working through a growth phase, without drugs. One idea I heard is that everyone’s stories are more about them and their history than the truth. And some of what we tell ourselves is also a story, some fiction we’ve learned and propagate for ourselves. Looking within for what the spirit shows helps differentiate the stories from the shining truth.

    Let yourself be, let your family be, and celebrate that you’re learning to function in all situations of life clean and sober!


  5. I have a similar issue with social anxiety, which I refer to as feeling ‘fish~bowled’. (As if everyone is on the other side of a glass, and every move I make is magnified, exaggerated.) It actually makes me blood pressure rise and pupils dilate. In the worst scenarios my underarms sweat. I feel very discouraged, as if I will never be free of this debilitating panic. It began ages ago, during childhood, but is worse now that I am clean.

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