The tricky world of Friendships and not drinking

Was thinking recently about the different types of friendships that we make in our lifetime. I am one of those people that has a load of friends I still keep in touch with from twenty years back. I like that I have regular reunions with university friends, people I worked with, the crew I picked fruit with backpacking in Australia 23 years’ ago. I like that I do make the effort to keep in touch with people – it is always reciprocated and it doesn’t really take much. They are kind of on the outside friends; they see the good bits, we laugh at old in jokes, music and sayings; we share each others the milestones in life and we meet up every other year or so.

However, getting older changes things in the way you want your immediate relationships to run. I have a small number of close friends these days. I keep it that way as I cannot be as available for people as I used to be. Partly being busy working full time and running a side hustle as well as (constantly) doing up my house all on my own. Also, I genuinely love and need my own company and freedom; I crave it. I can be fickle too – I am self-aware enough to know that about myself. My emotions can swing wildly and I am just too old in the tooth to be around people who I don’t feel comfortable with or who are too demanding of me, or who bore me.

I noticed recently after nine months of no alcohol that a lot of the time I used to drink for a bit of confidence/soothing in social situations but also because I often found it easier to listen to people that I wasn’t that interested in if I had the focus of alcohol. This might make me sound like a bitch but what I mean is not everyone is going to be interesting to you nor you to them but oftentimes alcohol creates a smoothing effect for that. Imagine yourself now with all your friends and acquaintances at a party without alcohol? How many of them would make the cut? Would you have fun with all of them?

In the last nine months I did a bit of a call out for sober people in my local area and I have met some truly wonderful souls who totally GET IT! What I have found quite disheartening is the people who I do like feeling uncomfortable around me not drinking. Maybe sober me just isn’t their bag – fair enough. But, I think people who feel uncomfortable around non-drinkers most definitely need to have a look at why that is. It is a shame. What I decide to put in my mouth should not have an impact on what is supposed to be a friendship but UK society has people hooked into booze culture. People fall away and that is absolutely natural.

In the middle of the pandemic I started to go to the sea every morning for a swim and have made some lovely friends down there. A real cool community of women who encourage each other; and as we get out of the sea, cold but exhilarated, wrapped in our towels, we share coffee and chit chat. This connection with the earth each morning is life affirming and really helped me feel much happier with my life and what I am doing. One of the women I have recently made friends there said to me as we sat on the sand post swim this morning that this community of women and the sea almost feels like a calling.

Today I am nine months free from the torture of alcohol and booze culture. Someone said on my instagram post celebrating my nine months that it must have taken great willpower – no, that is not true. I don’t want to drink a poison, I don’t want to sit with people who make me feel drained, I don’t want to live a life where I am running on 70% battery in a brain fog. I want meaningful authentic and huge loving connections and I am absolutely grateful for it all.

I #alcoholfree #healthlife #friendships #noalcohol #sobriety #nqtd

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