It is pretty common for people new to a life sober to feel some angst about being “different” from everyone else who “gets to” go out and drink. Everyone gets to go out drinking but me! What will I do with myself?
Why Can’t I Be Like Everyone Else?
What makes you think you aren’t?
Here is a truth that might surprise you.
Although drinking, and even drinking excessively, has become a large part or our culture, a very large part of our society does not do that.
The problem is, we become who we surround ourselves with. Most of us who have found ourselves in a place where alcohol is a problem for us have created social constructs where drinking is the norm.
When I was a young adult, weekends meant going out and drinking. I couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. How boring my life would be without it. What would I do with myself?
Later in life, I started running to lose weight. I remember the day that I ran a whole mile without a walk break. It was a huge accomplishment. I entered a 5K race to help keep me motivated to keep running. I remember that first 5K like it was yesterday. I watched people jogging to warm up. I remember thinking “good lord! Isn’t 5K a long enough distance for these people?” I remember talking to a woman about 1/2 marathon training. I asked how far that is. 13.1 miles. I thought “Well, that’s just crazy!”.
I really enjoyed myself that day so I entered more races and soon joined a running club. I made lots of friends and soon entered a 5 MILE race…because my friends did. At that race, someone handed me a flyer for 10K. With each race, I made more friends. Next thing I knew, I was running a 1/2 marathon. Shortly thereafter, I had entered my first full marathon (16.2 miles) with a group of friends with whom we agreed we would train together through the winter.
In June of that year, running anything longer than 5 kilometers seemed crazy to me. BY December, I was training for a full marathon. I ran my first marathon the following May. It all seemed perfectly normal.
Because the people I was hanging out with did that.
Here in the USA, the holiday drunking season begins with Thanksgiving eve the last Wednesday of November. It has become quite a drinking night. There was a time when my friends and I would go bar crawling that night. We would spend Thanksgiving hungover. What a slap in the face to whoever was hosting the Thanksgiving sware’ that was! But going out and drinking the night before Thanksgiving and being hungover for the holiday seemed normal to me because all my friends were doing it too.
After I started running, a Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot became a new tradition. Thanksgiving morning races are indeed a “thing” throughout the USA. I couldn’t help but notice this year that there were at least 1500 people at this small town race, which started at 8:30 am. Everyone there was bright eyed and smiling. People were dressed in costumes, laughing and having fun in a healthy way before spending the afternoon and evening enjoying a day of thanks with family and friends. No one I saw was bored. They were having fun. REAL FUN not illusory fun brought about by artificial stimulation of pleasure centers by a drug that is seen in bars.
I realized there is a story here. There IS a large population of people for whom drunken nights and hungover holidays are NOT the norm. You can find them when you get involved in an interest that does not revolve around drinking. Running is one such activity but it is just an example.
If you want to live a sober life, surround yourself with people who support that. Let the rest go. You will be happier for it in the end.
If you’re drinking too much too often come talk to us.
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Alcohol is the only drug that people question you for not using. Rethink the Drink.
Sadly, holiday weekends are always prime time for traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving and in the United States, July is the deadliest month. Drunk driving kills someone every 48 minutes. Join us for Dry July
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