Community. It’s such an important part of life and there are a plethora of questions surrounding this topic when it comes to quitting drinking. Join Scott Pinyard, head coach at This Naked Mind, as he focuses on answering questions about how to navigate through those first few months of being alcohol free without losing the sense of community we’ve had for so long.

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Download EP:179 Transcript

Community

In the intensive, I spent a lot of time thinking about drinking and in my personal life I’ve spent a lot of times thinking about drinking and how it affects my life. I’ve heard people talk about community and how important that is, especially early on in the process. I get that and it has been very helpful for me. My question is this, what about long term? I’ve spent so much time thinking about and working on this problem. What do you think community should look like over the long haul? Should I only hang out with non-drinkers? Do I need to be continuously thinking about drinking? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Having Community

First of all, yes. Particularly early on in those stages when you’re just becoming aware, when you are working to try to change your drinking habits, having community, having people around, having people you can talk to, who understand what you’re going through, who understand what you’re dealing with is absolutely key. It is so helpful to be able to connect with someone and hear their story. To hear what they went through and what they’re thinking and what they felt and what happened. It’s so amazing to be able to do, to talk about your own, and talk about the way you feel and what you see happening with your life.

Long Term

So all of those things are 100% true and important, particularly early on. Now, longer term. A lot of us think, alright, I want to “get back into life.” I want to still be able to go out with friends. I want to still be able to engage. Obviously we can’t hide from alcohol. So what do we do? And this is a really interesting question, and I’m not necessarily recommending one way to do it over the other, but I do want to talk about some things that I’ve seen really help people be successful long term, including myself.

Alcohol Free Friends

So number one is I have a few alcohol-free friends. These are people that also don’t drink and some of them are in my social circles here in, in town. That that I go out with regularly. Some of them are people that I know online that I’ve met in forums, but I have a group of friends, I have people that I talk to and connect with on a regular basis that are alcohol-free. We don’t always talk about booze. The entire relationship isn’t based on that. But I have relationships there. So I know if I do end up having a hard time, and over that first six, eight months there was a lot of times when I really wanted to talk to someone who was alcohol-free. I have that group of friends and we do stay in contact fairly regularly, but that is not my only group of friends. As a matter of fact, a lot of these people were people I met after I quit drinking, and while those relationships are fantastic, I have a whole other group of friends who I’ve known for a very long time and I have not cut ties with them at all. As a matter of fact, I will go out and hang out in bars with these people.

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Maintaining Community With Drinkers

I will go to weddings, barbecues and places where people are drinking. To your question of do you have to not be around alcohol? Obviously that’s a personal choice and if it is making you that uncomfortable, first I might ask you kind of what your beliefs are around it and see if we could work with it a little bit. But ultimately that’s up to you. And so for me, I’ve kept my drinking friends and I hang out with them and yes, I don’t get wasted with them anymore. I don’t stay at the bar with them until 2:00 in the morning. That’s where the behaviors kind of stopped. But these people are still my friends. So we still interact and we still engage. So I kind of have both. What I’ve seen people be successful with is having that sort of balance.

It would be very difficult to remain alcohol-free if it meant you had to give up all of your other relationships.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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