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Realising when social drinking is no longer social

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by eaglesgift, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. eaglesgift

    eaglesgift Member

    I think that one of the reasons it is so easy to fall into the trap of alcohol addiction is the fact that it is socially acceptable to drink, sometimes in fairly large quantities, in many countries and especially the one that I am from, the UK. I would estimate that I had a drinking problem for a good ten years before I even begun to suspect that there was anything wrong and this was mainly due to the 'manly drinking culture' that was prevalent in the UK at the time (at least in my social circles it was).

    For me, I only started to realise that something was amiss when I looked at the people I was drinking with in pubs and came to a startling conclusion - they were different people every night! This may not sound very startling to anybody else but I had previously assured myself that I did not have a problem with alcohol for the very reason that all my friends enjoyed a drink too and whenever I was out I would always bump into some of my 'drinking buddies' and have a good chat. It was only when it dawned on me that the cast of friends I would meet down the pub changed every night that I realised I was the only one (or one of the very few) who was always there and always drunk.

    My apologies for rambling. The point I am trying to make is that it is important to take a step back from your life sometimes and try to analyse what you are doing. This is harder than it sounds when you spend half your life drunk and the other half hungover but for younger people who do not think they have a problem, it's well worth making the effort to see your drinking activities from an objective point of view. When I announced to my friends that I thought I had a drinking problem, most of them told me they had realised that fact several years before I had - I only wish they had bothered to tell me!
  2. Lackluster

    Lackluster Active Contributor

    In the UK, there's more pub culture than in the US. Here, you go to a bar not necessarily expecting to find friends, but with the sole intention of getting drunk. There might be a band or a show to keep you entertained, but bars are for booze. It's harder to see it as a problem here, because you think of a bar as a place of entertainment rather than a meeting place, like I would imagine a pub would feel.
  3. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    It's a sad fact that sometimes, even if your first intention to drink is to socialize, you tend to forget that because it's being replaced by your drive to just drink. It's great that you have come to realize this now and I hope that more people like you would open up and share to the world how it really is.
  4. Allen24

    Allen24 Active Contributor

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I agree that it is easy to get caught up in a social pattern of drinking with friends. It's always wise to step back every once in a while and reevaluate when/why/how often you're consuming alcohol. Same goes for any similar habits.
  5. eaglesgift

    eaglesgift Member

    Thanks for your comments Allen and MaryAnnBalleras. I think that if friends were more honest with each other, many people might realise that they have a problem with alcohol sooner rather than later. Not that I am blaming my friends for what happened in the past, I'm certainly not. I think that it is important that we all take responsibility for the things that we do rather than to look for ways to blame them on other people or 'circumstances'. For sure there are many factors that can make you more likely to misuse alcohol but speaking for myself, it was only when I accepted that the fault lay within and not outside of myself that it was possible for me to start on the road to recovery.

    Some people may not agree with my way of thinking and that's fine too. Whatever motivates you to examine your life and stop drinking is a good thing and I would never try to persuade somebody that their approach was wrong, just because it was different to mine.
  6. AFKATafcar

    AFKATafcar Community Champion

    You make some good points. Friends will drink a lot more than they should when they're together, and it doesn't necessarily make them better friends. The lucky ones recognize how destructive this can be and try to tone down their drinking. Others sometimes continue drinking more and more in the name of being "social" with their friends. I'm glad to hear that you recognized something was wrong and worked to correct it!
  7. Lackluster

    Lackluster Active Contributor

    Well, to consider it from another angle, a person who only drinks at a bar has one advantage over the guy who drinks at home. If you drink with moderate drinkers, you're more likely to follow their lead. If you drink at home like I did, you're more likely to wake up in the morning wondering where the other half of the half-gallon went.
    valiantx likes this.
  8. jaray87

    jaray87 Member

    I was a social drinker when it all started. I would invite friends over every night for "one" drink and to have great laugh. (or pity as I had lost my job then). Sometimes it was four or five guys, sometimes only one. They would leave and I would continue with more as I had no work the next day. Slowly, friends stopped coming because they had other commitments so it didn't matter if friends were around, I would just keep drinking. Social drinking doesn't have to lead to abuse but it can.
  9. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    I agree with your point about taking a good look at ourselves, eaglesgift. I've also noticed the differences you and Lackluster explained. As a tourist. It seemed totally normal to go to the bar alone there. Not so much here unless you're new in town, traveling or a hardcore alcoholic who doesn't like to drink at home.
  10. jackslivi

    jackslivi Active Contributor

    Good for you for realizing this. Most people just deny it completely which is why your friends probably never brought it up. I think a lot of people do fall for this in the United States too. Hanging out with friends may always lead to having a drink and before someone knows it, they are stuck with always getting a drink even when they are not with friends. Your story is a great lesson for young people to realize what they are doing before it is too late. But how do you tell people who are set in there ways what to do? You have great friends for them to still stand beside you during your journey. It is amazing that you realized this yourself because in the end, it made you the stronger person. Could you imagine if one of your friends said that you had a problem before you were ready to face the problem? I bet you would of had a hard time seeing yourself in someone else's eyes. This is why your story is inspiring. You made the change and your friends probably respect you more for coming to terms with it yourself. Good job!
  11. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I agree. Sometimes it's hard to see the whole picture when you are in the eye of the storm so to speak, and it is only when we really start to become aware that everything becomes clear enough to serve as a sobering moment. Unfortunately, this happens for everyone, not just addicts. Almost all people have some sort of delusion that they are living that negatively affects the people around them and becoming self aware is just all too painful or scary to them so they just choose to ignore it which is why I find it even more commendable when someone on an addictive substance is able to get past it. Congratulations to you and I wish you well on your journey.
  12. valiantx

    valiantx Community Champion

    Addiction to alcoholism, comes down to the individual and how he/she sees their self, privately and publicly. Whether one is drinking in the cold basement alone or high on top of a hotel suite with a bunch of people, the amount one consume in alcoholic beverages, all comes down to each and every individual's wish. Most people are not forced to drink, they maybe influenced to do so, but in the end, it's all voluntary.

    I opinion, it's not the addictive drinking of alcoholic beverages that most people like, it's the experiences impressed from consuming such drinks along with the activity they entertain in, that reinforces people's acceptability to continue such a bad habit over and over - simply put, people drink alcoholic beverages because it gives them a change in their perception(s) of their self in contrast to everything external that is real to them.

    In my own experience and opinion, there is no social alcoholic drinking, it's every man and woman simply acting out their own addiction in a public environment.
    LostmySis likes this.
  13. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    I hate the term social drinking, and when I hear it, I automatically think alcoholic. Someone who has a beer during a football game is not a "social drinker" in my mind. It is funny how different people think. I know people who wear the term social drinker like a badge, being sure to differentiate it from "alcoholic". I once asked someone what he meant by "social drinking". His response was, "I drink after work with my friends." When I asked him if this was nightly he said, "of course, it is after work". So he and I went out, and I had virgin drinks and he threw back. He asked me why I wasn't drinking and I explained that his company and the entertainment was providing my good time. I did not need to rely on the beer/wine for that. He was shocked. He never considered it. He actually stopped drinking after that.

    But most would not. Eaglesgift, your friends might have hinted or joked about it trying to get you to notice it. If someone isn't ready to hear it, they will not. I'm so happy that you come to realize your situation! Good luck in all you do!
  14. geegee

    geegee Active Contributor

    My friend often used this excuse. Well, he's currently sober but we've had a lot of ups and downs. Whenever I tried to help him in the past, he'd tell me it's just regular drinking. That it's just a way to hang out with the guys. And since bars is the common hang out here, it was pretty hard to convince him that his drinking was a problem. Good for you for realizing on your own eaglesgift :)
  15. Ronsa

    Ronsa Active Contributor

    You have explained us a very accurate description of getting addicted to alcohols. At the beginning, the reason to drinking is to enjoy social gathering with friends. As time goes by, people start to forget why they go to the bars. It gradually becomes a habit. It no longer is a social activity with friends and colleagues but an excuse to escape our pressure and troubles.
  16. Onionman

    Onionman Active Contributor

    Well done for becoming very aware of your drinking habits. That's half of the battle. There are so many people there that simply do not see it.

    And I totally know where you are coming from with the UK drinking culture. I'm from there as well but I've also lived in the US so noticed the stark differences. We're from a culture where the focal point of our most popular soap operas is the local pub, and every form of celebration is about drink first, food second.

    In fact, I became a lot more aware of my relationship with drink when I was in the US, and took on board that it wasn't always the best. The "eating is cheating" and the 'drinking as much as you can on a Friday night' mentality really didn't work when I was there. I think it was my moment of stepping back and reflecting.
  17. Sprezza

    Sprezza Member

    Yes, very good point indeed. This is the problem with alcohol, it's perfectly normal to consume it, even in large quantities. This culture of drinking socially cannot be changed over night of course, it will take decades to alter. In my country however, The Netherlands, there is a slight change going on: the minimum age for buying alcohol has been raised to 18 years, resulting in less alcohol related problems with youngsters.