If there’s one thing I’ve learned about self-confidence through five years of sobriety, it’s valuing myself more. This isn’t an exclusive trait of sobriety. I’m just more resilient against merely going with the crowd now. If they’re all going to the bar to go drink, and I’m not feeling particularly strong-willed, I’m comfortable saying no. Also, if anything doesn’t feel quite right, I’m more comfortable voicing my opinion, because what have I got to lose?
Weak friendships with acquaintances?
There are 7.6+ billion people on Earth. Some will hate you for no apparent reason. Most won’t care no matter what you do. Why not spend your time with those who do? The people that genuinely support you? It’s a lonelier path, for sure, since it’s a path that goes against the common comradery of communal consumptions of anything: sports, popular culture, and anything that might cause you to sacrifice parts of your individuality for a group that you’re not quite comfortable in.
Potentially making new friends?
Bars aren’t the only place to meet new people. Drinking isn’t the only way to become acquaintances with strangers. Alcohol isn’t the only thing to unite people. While self-consciousness does become more of a factor, these are all temporary. The people you meet in the bar one evening are gone the next. When you meet people that share your interests, you’re more likely to stay in contact. Without the guise of inebriation, you also meet them as they are, good and bad.
Stressful jobs without rewards?
I haven’t met too many like-minded people through my travels, in part because inebriation is thoroughly ingrained in corporate culture. My drinking habits got out of control because I wanted to be friendly with people at one gig. It worked well enough, except I had to pay the price: in exchange for the potential for promotions, I had to sacrifice parts of myself. My pride, my self-respect, and my sense of autonomy. It was like doing drinking tricks in exchange for some pennies.
False pretenses about myself?
I drank to hide from my reality. It was my coping mechanism against adversity. Now, I stand and fight those adversities! There is no better feeling than refusing to accept anyone else’s negative baggage. Dodging abuses means you don’t carry it with you when you get home. Anything that does stick, that isn’t purged out in the exercising or writing process, is minimal now because everything is addressed. If not in the moment, then after the heat of battle, to prevent lingering anxieties.
Fun, relaxing evenings?
I still have those. I can still go to concerts or hang out with friends. It’s just that most Friday or Saturday nights, I prefer to use the time to write or I have plans for the remainder of the weekend that are more important to me. I don’t care as much about trivial matters. Things need to get done!
When I do go with the crowd, it’s because they value me and I value them.
|Sources: My personal experiences
Inspirations: My personal experiences
Picture: Nothing directly related. Just a power strip to give a sense of resilience against dust, neglect, and did you see that paperclip? What a terrible fire hazard!