I stopped drinking alcohol some time in late 2010/early 2011. I had was living in Australia, I was recovering from a head-on collision, I was meditating a lot, and just didn’t see that it had a place in my life anymore. I also valued having the clarity of mind and body over the feeling of escapism that happens when taking alcohol.
It is a big difference when you go out to places where people drink alcohol, and I try my best to avoid them. I don’t fancy hanging out in pubs, or in venues where people get drunk. Quite frankly, it makes me feel uncomfortable and I can tell that they are under the influence and not their normal selves and it freaks me out a bit. There is only one exception to this and it’s when my husband has a glass of wine every three or four months and he gets this very relaxed vibe and then goes to sleep. I think it’s kind of cute and it really doesn’t happen often, so I just accept and enjoy it.
Choosing to stop drinking alcohol is not as big of a deal though if you start doing other things. I started doing other things that didn’t involve alcohol. I started getting involved with the theatre and although they definitely do drink in the theatre, they don’t while preforming and usually don’t while rehearsing, so that was a good option. I also started to be a part of a kirtan event in the local town and started to do other things that engaged me in ways that were better when sober. I guess that is the key, doing the things that are better sober, then doing those more. haha. That sounds funny. I’ll see if I can refine that.
The key to stopping alcohol and not feeling like a social outcast, is to go with the evolution that you are in, and find new social scenes to be a part of where being sober is normal. This is the key. Then it’s not weird. You may outgrow friends, scenes, venues, and your old self, but there is always another tribe, another version of you that is waiting with open arms.