For many, alcohol serves in part as a crutch in social situations – masking or dulling feelings of anxiety. While booze’s sedative effect can cause you to relax in the short term, as the alcohol leaves your system those feelings of anxiety and unease will return – often amplified by the physical symptoms of a hangover.
A recurring theme among those that we spoke to was the pivotal role that alcohol played in their social life. “A lot of my friends relate to each other through drinking, that’s how we’d hang out,’ Kate explained.
For Lucy, it was a similar story. “I realised that a lot of the people I’d stick around with on a Friday weren’t actually my friends, they were people I’d hang around and drink with.” In sobriety, this realisation led to a deepening of meaningful connections. “The quality of my friendships actually improved when I wasn’t drinking,” she recalled.
John, too, felt that sobriety impacted his social life. “When I’m not drinking, I find I spend more time by myself, I don’t go out as frequently,” he said. “I feel like I’m a better friend, I don’t cancel plans.”