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Social repercussions of quitting alcohol??l

HoggirlHoggirl 2137 replies215 threads Senior Member
edited March 2019 in Parent Cafe
I gave up drinking for Lent. I probably fall into the category of “moderate” drinker. I do not drink every day, probably 7-8 drinks a week. I am stunned at how much better I feel overall, how well I am sleeping, how much less brain fog I have, how much more relaxed I am in only a little over two weeks. I’m thinking about ditching it for good, but I’m still pondering this.

Right now, I’m not getting much push back or negativity about abstaining. A little, but not much since people only view this as a temporary choice/are respectful of my decision. However, I know I will receive social pressure to resume once Lent is over. Honestly, that seems like it would be the most difficult part - the social pressure to drink. I can truly see how it is everywhere now that I am “on the other side,” so to speak.

Just wondering if anyone here has made a conscious choice to just stop drinking and what reactions you experienced from drinking friends/family members.
edited March 2019
99 replies
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Replies to: Social repercussions of quitting alcohol??l

  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 4110 replies28 threads Senior Member
    No one in my circle cares if anyone drinks or not. The bill split thing pointed out above is true though.
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  • Bruno13Bruno13 6 replies1 threads New Member
    I stopped drinking some 10-12 years ago. Now I only take an occasional glass of wine if we are dining out. We slowly lost friends as I was no longer 'fun' at wine parties and get-togethers. I am older, wiser and feel so much better about myself. Have more time reading or gardening and all things that are deeper and have few but special friends.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1624 replies46 threads Senior Member
    my parents never drink (because basically the alcoholism in my grandpa). they have a theory that people will gravitate to one side or another -- heavy drinker or non-drinker. I'm not sure about that; i think a drink or two a week is fine for me. But i know how you feel; i quit sugar and it actually feels good! I do not ever notice social repercussions at this age of those who drink or don't. go for it if you feel good!
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  • MaryBarbara58MaryBarbara58 204 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My husband never drank (and I only drank socially) so I haven't had a drink in probably 25 years. I always told my kids that you didn't need to drink to have a good time. I do, however, have an addiction to Diet Coke...
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34218 replies770 threads Senior Member
    For me? Not much. My parents in law make some snide remarks sometimes but I don't care about their opinions.

    My best friend on the other hand has had huge blowback especially from his family. His brother is an alcoholic and he refuses to be around him when he's drinking. His family accuses him of acting like he's better than them and being a general party pooper.

    In general, I've noticed that people of my parents generation have a way bigger issue with people abstaining from alcohol than my generation does.
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  • liska21liska21 690 replies11 threads Member
    I stopped drinking 3 years ago. 100% abstinence. I became more sensitive to alcohol as I got older and it was messing with my sleep, putting me in a fog, making me achy in the morning and causing me to gain weight. This was after 1/2 a glass and after 1 glass I was knocked out. I love beer and wine. Stopping really sucked, but for my health (physical and mental) I choose to.

    Socially it's been a drag. I am now the wet towel at social gatherings. It's also a negative at work social gatherings. Going out for drinks at conferences is popular and it's just not as fun when I am drinking sparkling water. Part of it is that there is this vague sense that I am making a comment on others' drinking habit. I'm not. I don't care that others drink. But that sense is there hanging over the table. Another part is that unlike alcohol, sparkling water (or whatever non-alcoholic beverage I am drinking) doesn't increase my enjoyment of the gathering by itself. My companions ability to engage in interesting conversation goes down as they drink more and the conversation becomes punchy and silly. Fun if I am inebriated, but not when I am dead sober. So halfway through the evening, I depart to let them drink and laugh together. Yeah, sigh.

    But I have no intention of going back to drink. It was really making me feel rotten. It had to go.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 41472 replies480 threads Senior Member
    7-8 drinks a week is actually more than moderate drinking. The fact that alcohol negatively affects you means your liver is no longer able to process it efficiently. Can you still have an occasional glass of wine with dinner when entertaining wine drinkers on weekend and don't fall back into the old drinking pattern? Or do you need to go full cold turkey on it?
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  • jonrijonri 7370 replies135 threads Senior Member
    I enjoy my wine. I give it up for Lent and I miss it. (I guess that's kind of the point.) I don't feel better without it though, so there's no incentive for me to just stop.

    One thing I've noticed, though, is that after 6 weeks of Lent, I have to be careful because wine has a lot more of an effect on me when I begin drinking again.

    It's funny because most of my close women friends drink very little or not at all. So if I gave it up, they wouldn't care. Often I don't have a drink when I go out with them since they don't drink. If I do order a glass of wine, we take it off the top and split the rest of the bill.

    However, I'd have a harder time giving it up when I visit my married kid and spouse. They are both very moderate drinkers--usually one glass of wine or beer-- but they always buy interesting wines and so do their friends. Whenever one of the women in their circle passes on the wine, everyone always asks "Um...are you expecting?!!!" and almost always the answer is yes!

    I enjoy trying their wines. My best friend and her husband, whom I only see a couple of times a year in person, are true experts on California wine. Trying new wines is part of the fun of visiting them.

    So, I think how awkward it is depends upon whom you socialize with. I do think people notice if the norm in your circle is to order a bottle or bottles of wine for the table. If lots of people prefer to order a cocktail, it's less likely people will notice.
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threads Senior Member
    It's less of an issue than you might think. Maybe just smile and mention something about "meetings" and then people will leave you alone.
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  • mom2andmom2and 3068 replies21 threads Senior Member
    I am a light drinker so can go a couple of weeks without drinking but enjoy the occasional cocktail, glass of wine or beer when out to dinner, hanging with friends, or celebrating. I very rarely drink enough to "feel" it. I am often the DD It is generally not an issue although I have occasionally been seen as a bit of a light weight or party pooper so very rare negative vibes, but have not lost any friends. One of my b-in-l doesn't drink at all and has never been an issue. If I hung out with a heavily party hearty crowd, it might be a different story.

    7 to 8 drinks a week when not drinking daily suggests you might have several drinks on weekend nights and maybe that is what was impacting the way you feel. Also, I don't drink red wine as even one glass sometimes gave me a migraine the next day. As bunsen said, having a glass of wine with dinner may be OK without any negative impacts.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 1068 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I stopped drinking last summer, as did my husband. We felt we looked too forward to weekend cocktails. Also, I m in remission from cancer and can get paranoid about carcinogens- read a scary paper about alcohol.
    People do comment on it, especially when we are out as a group, but I don’t care and my husband loves to have fun in that type of situation. The more you question him, the more he likes it!
    I just fascinates me that they care so much about what we are doing, like our abstaining is a judgement of them.
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  • oneofthosemomsoneofthosemoms 369 replies1 threads Member
    I was never much of a drinker, but stopped entirely about 18 months ago. A few people questioned why I wasn't having a glass of wine at social gatherings; I explained I've chosen to devote my calories to food, not alcohol. I haven't received any negative comments.
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  • HImomHImom 36057 replies396 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2019
    I never have been much of a drinker, a sip here or there, maybe a total of two or three glasses of wine a year.

    It really hasn’t affected me much. I can order virgin mixed drinks if I want them but I prefer to eat my calories in appetizers or desserts instead if drinking them. It really is a $$ savings to just drink water rather than alcohol when dining out & I don’t get filled up so there’s no room for appetizer/dessert.

    Folks can also say their medications sadly don’t mix well with booze and folks are understanding as well, since there are quite a few maintenance Rx that aren’t supposed to be taken with alcohol.
    edited March 2019
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  • katliamomkatliamom 13972 replies170 threads Senior Member
    I have a few non-drinking relatives who abstain because they simply don't like the taste of alcohol. It's never an issue. Anywhere you go to eat or socialize there is always water and often it comes bubbly and with a twist of lime.
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  • liska21liska21 690 replies11 threads Member
    I think if you can drink a little in social gatherings it's easier. I'd say it's 75% of social occasions where I say 'I don't drink' and then the person says 'just a little' or 'just this once, have some with us'. Yes, they drop it when I repeat 'No thanks. I don't drink', but it's relentless. It's not that it bothers me exactly, it's that I'm always of it reminded in social situations (dinners, adult gatherings). But for me it's 7-8 a week (glass a night with dinner and 2 on weekend) which was negatively impacting my health or 100% abstinence. It was hard to accept that. What does that say about me that I can't stick with only drinking occasionally in social situations? But that's the way it is. With friends and family, it's actually totally fine. It's more the work-related social drinking that I find is impacted.
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 4193 replies15 threads Senior Member

    IME, many people who drink a little too much or a lot too much, want company, and they will notice the abstainers or moderates and call them out. Come join us, come join us...

    But once people get used to your new drinking rules, it will settle, and the social pressure will be no big deal.

    I have given up alcohol for Lent before and enjoyed the experiment. Last year, I switched from wine to beer and I'm much happier and I drink less. I found that a 12 oz beer (one serving) is way way more satisfying than 5 oz of wine (one serving) --- five ounces of wine felt like nothing, y'know?, and I would often drink more than 5 oz.

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