I write a lot about love and dating as you all know if you’ve read my other entries. I don’t really like to talk about myself in regards to other things, but I had a moment of clarity about drinking that I just can’t let go. I am 26, turning 27 in just about a month, and I don’t really drink. I never really have because I haven’t been interested. I was never a partier in high school or college. You may be thinking to yourself, “man that’s so lame” and it is to an extent, but it never kept me from having a good time.
I was an awkward kid. I don’t think you have an idea how awkward. We are talking like harry potter glasses, bangs and tie dye shirts. I had severe social anxiety to the point where, when I was 16, my parents didn’t think I would ever drive a car or go to college. I was afraid of practically everything and going to school every day was a struggle. When the bell rang at the end of the day I was literally the first person to leave the school and be in my car on the way home. Big crowds gave me anxiety. Pretty much anything I didn’t know gave me anxiety. I was in therapy and yes, it helped (I am a complete advocate for therapy for everyone at some point). Even with therapy day-to-day activities were a struggle.
I pushed through it. I went to college. I applied and I picked a school. I forced myself to go and face my fears. Because that’s what you do with most anxiety, at least mine. The more I exposed myself to things that made me nervous, the less I felt nervous about it. I joined a sorority my sophomore year. I know what you’re thinking. How did you go from severe social anxiety to joining a sorority? I did it because I refused to give into the things that make me uncomfortable. I also don’t want to tell anyone that every situation that made me uncomfortable then doesn’t make me uncomfortable now because that isn’t true. I still have my issues and my days where things get overwhelming, but I work through them.
I finished undergrad and I got my master’s degree in business. I currently have a job that requires me to build relationships throughout my organization and outside of it. I give presentations to large groups of people without feeling like I want to run away. I accomplished all of this by pushing through my anxiety because the less power you give it, the less it has power over you. People are shocked I’ve even had social anxiety because of it’s stigma. I am an example of how you can overcome issues that are seamingly daunting.
There are still a few things that make me uneasy. The main one is drinking and drugs. As a person with anxiety I don’t like to lose control around people that I don’t know or in situations where I don’t feel safe. My anxiety has to do with not knowing what will happen when you do something. It’s a fear type of anxiety. I don’t want to give the impression that I judge people who drink because that isn’t how I am. I may not particularly like something, but that doesn’t mean other people should feel the same way. I have friends that like to drink and have fun that way. I totally get it! I just don’t have fun that way. Sometimes being around people I don’t know that are drinking gives me anxiety because I don’t know how they’ll act. I also know I’ll have to explain why I’m not having a drink or stopping at one.
Up until now I haven’t cared what people think about my choices because they are my choices. But I’ve felt like a bummer recently. It sucks when people are like “oh, I didn’t invite her because she doesn’t really drink.” It’s like who the fuck cares. I mean really? Does it make a difference? I am fine hanging out with people when they are drinking (even if I am slightly uncomfortable) because if they get belligerent I just leave. It is as simple as that. You don’t like a situation or feel uncomfortable, leave. People will understand.
I don’t have to drink to dance, be stupid or just have fun. If someone has a problem with that or they feel judged because they drink, that’s there problem. I like having one beer. I’m such a lightweight it only takes one ha. I just don’t feel like I should have to have to have drink to feel comfortable like most people. That is a form of self medication and I have been through too much to let my mind get the best of me. Most of my close friends know this about me and they don’t care. Because this choice, in the entirety of life, doesn’t matter. I have fun working out at the gym – getting healthy and strong. I have fun playing madden or video games with my friends. I have fun roller blading and cooking and hanging out with my family. I have fun going bowling and dancing and going out to eat. I do all of these things without drinking and I will never again let someone make me feel bad about it. If you don’t drink or you don’t like to, don’t let anyone push you to drink or make you feel bad. You can have fun without being altered. That is one of the biggest gifts and biggest assets you possess. If someone doesn’t see it that way, they don’t belong in your life. If you do like to drink, more power to you because that is how 95% of people like to have fun. There is nothing wrong with drinking or not drinking. You DO you. This is by far the most attractive quality.