For many, alcohol and social situations go hand in hand, and can mask or dull feelings of anxiety. While alcohol’s sedative effect can help you to relax in the short term, those feelings of anxiety and unease will return as alcohol leaves your system – which is often amplified by the physical symptoms of a hangover.
Everyone spoke about 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.” When she stopped drinking, this realisation led to a deepening of meaningful connections with her friends. “The quality of my friendships actually improved when I wasn’t drinking,” she recalled.
John, too, felt that sobriety had a positive effect on 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.”