Back in the day, my recreational sport of preference was drinking my face off and partying until I literally banged my face off the floor. I hit a phase, shortly after I dropped out of college, that was literally sleep all day, party all night. I had social anxiety back then too, but I tried to numb it all with booze (and I was more successful at it than I am now. Huzzah!)
It wasn’t a good time of my life. I wasn’t as bad as some people, but I also wasn’t smart about it. I hung out with other people who were in a similar phase of drinking and having fun.
After having kids, my priorities changed completely. I no longer was that girl that drank all the time. I sort of completely submerged myself into the land of parenting. I still had the occasional glass of wine after a rough day, but I didn’t drink like I used to.
My social anxiety seems to have gotten worse and worse with every year that passes. My ability to cope with things in social functions, and to roll with the punches worsens. Almost alarmingly so.
When I was younger, I didn’t get a belly full of twisted nerves at the prospect of going to a party. I was okay, because my friends would be there and they would have my back. But times changed, and I was stuck in self-inflicted isolation for so long…I became paranoid of everyone’s intentions with me. Each not-so-stellar experience I had at a party solidified my anxieties about dealing with other people in that kind of setting.
The few times I’ve ventured out to a party, I went in with the mindset of get so drunk I can’t even hear myself think…because if I heard myself think, I would hear the unpleasant analyzing of every encounter. In an attempt to calm my anxiety, I would drink too much too soon. I used alcohol as a buffer, a shield from my anxieties.
I’m an emotional person, and emotional people do not make good drunk people. They make emotional drunk people, which is ten thousand times worse than being just an emotional person.
I also get sloppy. Alcohol is wonderful in that it dulls the pain receptors and makes pain a little more bearable. Naturally, it dulls the control you have over your body as well. Thus making me klutzier and, well, sloppy. I limp more. I slosh my drink because even when I’m not drunk, I do not have the same control over my limbs as someone else does. It’s a thousand times more obvious when I’ve been drinking.
My attempts to calm my social anxiety with alcohol have always back-fired. Plus, it exhausts me. Drinking, being out, socializing when the anxiety is overwhelmingly powerful, being in pain (even if I can’t feel it as much in that moment)…all that is exhausting. I get insecure, because I’m not the hot drunk girl, I’m the sloppy drunk girl. I don’t want to be the sloppy drunk girl…
The new reality of party going, for me, is always a belly full of nerves, anxiety through the rough followed by a sloppy drunk me, calling it quits early because I just can’t do the all night party scene…even when sloshed straight into “white girl wasted” territory.
There is a party coming up that I was looking forward to. My favourite holiday is Halloween, and naturally…costume parties are the best. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about it…about who I am when I’m drinking, when I’m in that environment…and I don’t like that person at all.
I have a drinking problem even though I’m actually not at all dependent on alcohol. I don’t need it and I don’t regularly drink it, but to use it as a social buffer makes it a problem. When you find yourself knocking them back to quiet the nerves, clutching the glass of some alcoholic beverage like a lifeline, then it may very well be a problem. Drinking in social situations where my anxiety is sky-rocketing is still not something I should do.
So, I’ve decided that I am going to willingly miss out on the upcoming Halloween party…or at least, go and not partake in any of the drinking and still leave early because I will undoubtedly be a hot mess because of all the anxiety.
It’s not that I want to hide behind my anxieties and avoid doing anything that makes me uncomfortable, oh hell no. I honestly do a lot of things that make me feel extremely uncomfortable. Like taking Archer to playgroups, or taking the kids to town events. I guess I just “tap out” when it comes to things I can avoid. I know that I can’t avoid doing things that the kids would enjoy, but when it comes to a “grown up” party where the kids’ happiness and entertainment is not at stake…well. The cons outweigh the pros. I can only think of one pro…and that’s seeing people that I haven’t seen in a while.
And, well. Then there’s the cons. There will be a lot of people there, people that I don’t know (and some that I don’t like). I’ll say awkward things, I’ll be awkward. I’ll be insecure about my awkwardness. I won’t know what to talk about, and if the topic lands on me I will be uncomfortable, and I’ll likely want to go home within minutes of getting there anyway.
I’m all about saving money too…so if I don’t go, then I’ll save money on a babysitter and a costume. And I’ll probably get called lame…a lot.
But I’m good with being lame.