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What will they say?

Over the next week or so I will be back in the land of the living socially. I have really struggled with people’s reactions to my not drinking in the past and have been observing the kind of drinkers that I come across, how they react to me and why…

There are four types:

Big drinkers in denial. These are the ones who drink too much but are in denial about the extent of their drinking. They love company, someone to booze with them. More the merrier when it comes to drinkers or drinks. They are ones who I will get the most reaction from when I refuse a drink. They will try to coax me to join in, remind me of happier boozy times. Tell me I am not that bad. They will pat me on the back if I do accept a drink. They will be keen to arrange another social occasion for a time when I am drinking again and avoid me like the plague if they suspect that I’m not. They are not bad, mean people and maybe I am guilty of having been this person in the past. If I ever made anyone feel like they make me feel, I regret that now. I was so busy trying to make myself feel ok with my problem, I was desperate for safety in numbers.

Big drinkers who are curious. People who drink too much and have tried to do something about it but are still trying, still struggling, not at the end of their tether yet. These people are still the life and soul of the party and appear to be enjoying the actual drinking, but there are the tell tale signs that they are not in total denial. They won’t hassle me to drink. They will ask me questions about how I am doing it, what I am feeling. They will say that they wish they could do what I’m doing… might even admit to having had a go a few times and how nice it felt but that it was just not sustainable. They will be interested in any tips or advice I have. They will be supportive but not judgemental whether I decide to have a drink or not. I have been this person lots of times over the last five years.

Normal drinkers. There are people who use alcohol, to relax, loosen up, switch off, open up, celebrate or commiserate. They will be surprised that I am choosing not to join in and may encourage me to have a night off, just have one to be sociable. They won’t overdo it, they can participate in the required amount of social drinking and stop when it appears to be the time to do so. Why, when or how they can control or decide to stop drinking at the point they do, cannot be deciphered. It’s their off switch and I am not in their head. Who knows if their insides match their outsides? I know that I have been this person at the party sometimes. You might have watched me and wondered how I could be so controlled and levelled. Truth is, I wasn’t. There was probably a voice inside my head screaming for more booze and I was using immense strength to control it or maybe my drinking was simply going through one of its troughs.

Normies. People who really are not bothered about drinking AT ALL. They will be driving, looking after the kids, helping in the kitchen, anything other than drinking. I don’t think they actually like drinking, it’s just something they do because they don’t’ want to be hassled or draw attention to themselves for not drinking. They don’t get it, don’t understand the attraction. They might do it be sociable, to not make others feel uncomfortable or even for the health benefits of a glass a day They won’t even notice whether I am drinking much less care. They would not be bothered one little bit if someone told them tomorrow that they had to stop drinking alcohol and could
never do it again. That was like my worst nightmare!! I was the total opposite of this person. I would break out in a cold sweat at the thoughts of a life without my precious wine to drink. I have about two people who I can genuinely call nornies. There just aren’t many people in my life who I could imagine being ok with a booze free world.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t drink at all, except me! So I suppose it’s up to me to get out there and show them that it can be done. I want to have more resolve in my choice to not drink although I don’t think that has to involve brutal honesty or baring my still very vulnerable soul.

I have said before that it’s my desire to stop drinking and get an amazing, fun, fullfilled life in return. But I also want to be a good advertisement for not drinking, because if that helps one person realise that there is another way, an alternative, then that would just be brilliant.

 On a lighter note, I am going to see the Hangover Part 3. I just love the irony of Bradley Cooper. who is in recovery from drinking, starring in and promoting this film! He is my sober celeb flavour of the week!

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10 thoughts on “What will they say?

  1. You have nailed the four types so perfectly. This is just what I have found too and I am in the same place as you – surrounded by drinkers of various shades. You will be fine. If anyone gives you a hard time you will know it is ultimately about THEIR drinking, not yours. Plus, watching drunk people when you’re sober can be a good reinforcer. Stay strong and keep posting about your experiences. xx

  2. Oh my god I did not know about Bradley Cooper! I love him even more now. Really identify with the first two types you mention – I’ve been both of those people many times. X

  3. Good stuff! I tend to put normies and normal people together – those who can take it or leave it. I think it’s their attitude that it’s just a *thing*. Sure, they can have fun with it, and have a glass or two with dinner, but like you said, if the world ends and there is no more booze they may not get too upset about it. You certainly are right that the ones that will question you the most are the ones who often have a difficult time looking at their own drinking habits. Not that they are alcoholic per se, but realize that they might have something going on.

    Regardless, it’s you, not them, that you focus on. What others do and drink is their business. Stay the course 🙂

    Have fun at the movie!

    Paul

    • The normal and normies split came about during a chat with my husband who I have always considered to be a normie, take it or leave it type. I mean, I can’t really have booze in the house now unless we have people round, which is not at all at the moment and this means he doesn’t get to have his relaxing beer or whatever anymore. He doesn’t go out much either. He has been totally supportive on that front and doesn’t complain about it at all. But, when I asked him if he thought he could do the challenge and not drink for 100 days, he said he probably couldn’t do that, in fact he was adamant and the thought of it made him feel uncomfortable. So, that’s not what I would call a “take it or leave it” attitude. He is definitely not a problem drinker so normal but not a casual normie!
      It is all about me but I just want to be ready for the comments if they are made and I want to remi d myself where people are coming from. Thanks for the support.

  4. This is amazing–you really nail the types. This helps me to figure something out that I was bugged by: do “normal” drinkers have a booze problem? Not essentially, but I definitely know people (a LOT) who drink to take the edge off. They just never go overboard. They know when to stop. But, that still doesn’t mean they’re not anticipating or obsessing, and that they don’t have bad nights. I think “normies” are total freaks!?!? Haha. My bf does not like drinking; he’d choose water or soda over beer ANY time, mainly cuz it makes him feel bad (like an allergic reaction almost)… Anyway, great post, thank you!

    Oh, and I guess if I were you, I’d try to surround myself with at least a few soberites or normals, mainly because then the focus is on something else–I’m so tired of it being on booze these days.

    Great work…

  5. I didn’t know that about Bradley Cooper either!!!!!! Your husband sounds exactly like mine. definately normal but wouldn’t cope with 100 days off the booze I don’t think. Great post. xxx

  6. Yes, this clarifies something for me too – what DDG said. I know a lot of people who drink regularly and on some level seem to have a real need for/relishing of booze yet can totally stop when it’s sensible – like if they have to work the next day or are getting too pissed or whatever – but they would probably find quitting for 100 days too big an ask. (And why should they, really, when it doesn’t cause them undue angst?)

    In my opinion then the ‘normies’ are actually not so much normies as people who don’t really like alcohol – don’t like the taste or being out of control or just the general feeling. But they drink to be social and maybe have been brainwashed into associating a glass of bubbly or wine or cocktail or whatever with celebrating or partying or just being decadent and grown up, so it’s more about the psychological connection than the experience of drinking per se.

    And those people are in some ways as left out as us. I had a friend like this – would drink once in a very blue moon but really just didn’t like it. She told me she got hassled about it ALL THE TIME and at one point said to me, “And don’t even get me started on the people who assume I have a problem!”

    Interesting.

  7. You have just nailed something that I have been hammering at for a few weeks! These descriptions are so accurate and helpful because NOW I can see why I’ve been bumbling around. I’m straddling that wall between Normal & Big. Some days I’m right in there with just putting the lid on after one glass or not even bothering and then others it feels like I’ve fallen over the other side of the wall. Huh, who knew! Thank you for helping me to work out why I struggle so much to really know whether quitting forever is my path. Sometimes I just don’t feel like I belong anywhere!

  8. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to be a good advertisement for not drinking. I feel that there’s such a social pressure on people to drink, some people who would prefer not to actually just have a drink … just to fit in. I think as well that the more people are open about their recovery the less stima and shame there will be attached to addiction. Good on Bradley Cooper for “coming out”!!!! Also, life in recovery CAN be great, like life … it’s what you make of it and it needs to be advertised so that people who are struggling can see there is another way, and it’s not miserable or boring. I’m going to start following to keep up with your progress. I got inspired to start blogging recently too, very much a newbie … but the first step and post has been done!

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