Learning to overcome social anxiety without alcohol can be a challenge, especially for those in the early stages of recovery. In the past, you probably turned to drink to get through social events and gatherings.
Now that you’re in recovery, it’s important that you learn to live your life without resorting to alcohol. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some useful tips to help you cope in settings where you feel anxious or inadequate.
Learning how to overcome social anxiety without alcohol is an important step on the path to recovery. SHAFAHOME takes a closer look at what social anxiety means and offers tips on how to handle interactive situations without relapsing.
Learning how to overcome social anxiety without alcohol is an important step on the path to recovery. Social anxiety or social phobia can affect anyone to a certain degree, and those who feel elevated levels of anxiety often use alcohol as a crutch. Although alcohol can initially make you feel more comfortable, it inevitably magnifies the little things that make you feel anxious in the first place.
So what exactly is social anxiety?
The condition is often described as a fear of interaction with others that leads to heightened self-consciousness and the feeling of being negatively rated or judged. It’s worth noting that you aren’t alone. Social anxiety disorder is the third most prevalent psychological condition and millions of people around the world struggle with it every day.
Common symptoms include:–
Feelings of emotional distress during social encounters, particularly when you need to speak or when you’re the focus of people’s attention. Physical symptoms like shakiness, stomach cramps, sweating, dizziness or light-headedness.
Fear of embarrassing yourself or letting yourself down in public. When you’re in an alcohol treatment programme you’ll often find feelings that were masked by drinking in the past rising to the surface. It’s normal to feel emotional when you first get clean and it takes a while to learn how to deal with things.
Here, we’d like to share some of our best tips for managing social events without reaching for that glass.
1. Take a Moment for Yourself
If you feel panicky at the thought of dealing with other people, take a moment to relax. Stop what you’re doing and sit. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Try to focus your mind while regulating your breathing. Remind yourself that others are likely to feel just as scared as you and that you really can overcome social anxiety without alcohol. You can read more about mindfulness meditation here.
2. Take Advantage of Your Support Network
Lean on your friends, family, or support network when times get tough. You’ll discover that a problem shared really is a problem halved. Letting others know when you’re worried about work events, parties, or simply interacting with others as you do the shopping often puts the situation into perspective.
you’re stressing about speaking in public or attending a large event, see if you can take a friend. Having someone familiar to focus on will make you feel calmer and you’re less likely to turn to drink.
3. Understand Your Triggers
When we drink, we develop certain habits and tend to associate certain events with alcohol. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective way of identifying and dealing with triggers and habitual behavior patterns. You may be familiar with the ABC model:
This could be a party where you only know one person or an intimate meal with friends where you feel more conscious of your new-found sobriety.
Your thoughts about the event and how you see your part in it. Your beliefs can be rational or irrational; a rational response may be that you see yourself meeting new people while an irrational response might be feeling that no-one will like you or talk to you.
The way that the event plays out as a result of your beliefs including how you behave and how people react to you. If things didn’t go to your liking since you’re more likely to form another cycle of repetitive behaviour that puts you at risk of relapse.
It’s important to treat each social encounter individually so try to avoid entering new situations with a pre-ordained mindset. Learn from previous events; note how you felt and reacted and use the knowledge to help you overcome social anxiety without alcohol in future.
4. Make a List
List circumstances where you feel most stressed or anxious, particularly those that make you feel like drinking.
These might include: – Large parties or celebrations, Intimate meals with just one or two friends, Public speaking, Work presentations Practice putting yourself in each situation, starting with the least stressful.
You may be surprised to find that interacting with others is easier than you imagined. You’ll begin to feel stronger and more able to overcome social anxiety without alcohol. Be proud of yourself and reward each successful encounter with a little treat such as an evening at the cinema, a morning off from chores, or a bar of chocolate.
5. Write it Down
Keeping a journal is useful, wherever you are on the path to recovery. Note whether you did or didn’t enjoy a certain event along with the reasons why. List what you feel worked and what didn’t and, of course, if and when you felt most like drinking. As you look back on what you’ve written you may see solutions that went unnoticed at the time.
Get Help to Overcome Social Anxiety Without Alcohol
SHAFAHOME specialises in personalised, professionally lead treatment for all types of addiction. Our Recovery Zones method, enjoys high success rate and combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with mindfulness meditation and 12-step techniques. It’s essential to treat alcohol addiction and social anxiety simultaneously so do contact us today if you are concerned for yourself or a loved one.
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