• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How to deal with social situations...especially without alcohol or drugs?

F

firelight

New member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
4
How to deal with social situations...especially without alcohol or drugs?

I am not completely sober, even though I have tried this for periods of time. I have a variety of mental health obsticles I am always trying to get over..

I could have posted this in a more specific forum (like anxiety forum or depression forum) but I would like imput from people with a range of MH issues because I think it really is a general problem for many of us.

I am not on medication currently, but even without the contraindication issues with drugs and alcohol, both alcohol and drugs effect my mental health negatively, if not straight away then they will afterward.

So I am trying not to drink or use, but the problem is alcohol and drugs have been a massive part of how I cope with my mental health (and the social implications of it) in the past, they have made me able to socialise and connect with people when I would not have been able to otherwise (even if sometimes this has also created problems),so I cannot say D&A have always been negative.

But D&A do increase my symptoms considerably. Mentally as a result I get more phobia, dysphoria, lethargy, depression, paranoia, stress etc etc... and obviously all the physical health issues too. I can feel it for days, even weeks after.

But the problem is I don't don't know how to connect with people without the use of D&A, I just avoid socialising, if I go out to a bar where friends are, if I don't drink I will sit silently, very paranoid and anxious, so it's like... whats the point?.. I don't connect... so whats the point?


Does anyone else share this problem? how do you meet and connect with people? doesanyone else avoid drugs
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
18,110
Location
london
i said to one psychiatrist if i didn't take meds i'd have a serious alcohol problem, maybe i've got one now
 
F

firelight

New member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
4
i've been sober/clean over 12 years. Think it's a case of just doing things sober.


Yeah I do a lot of things sober, but can't seem to do the social thing sober, well I can, but its not at all enjoyable, so I just don't bother, also there is the temptation when going to bars to drink, so I find that difficult.. so what other social things are there to do?

I am an kind of part-time photographer, so I have to be around people and communicate with them sober sometimes.. and I dread it.. but its slightly easier as I am not expected to be funny, entertaining.. I know what I am supposed to say.. I can just get on with my job, there is clear parameters... I don't have to answer awkward questions.. like "how are you?" "what have you been up to?" (the answer might be 'um feel like a total mess.. recently been contemplating suicide/hurting myself.. most often I'll be staring at the ceiling.. and to be honest getting out of bed and getting dressed is sign of a success these days!") but actually you just say "I'm fine, not much".. Ok so I might be exagerting a bit... but not always and you get the idea...

So what sort of thing do people do to get around this? coping strategies? anecdotes? what?
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
2,192
Location
East of England
I feel like this but I don't have any MH issues. I don't have any addictions either. Alcohol and drugs provide a lift to greater confidence and a false sense of well-being. They make socialising easier. They make you forget about the differences between people. All drunks and/or all stoners are best buddies. Personally, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

But there is a huge difference between occasional social intoxication and dependency. What you seem to be describing is your inability to feel meaningful connections with people unless alcohol/drugs are part of the equation. I just wanted to suggest, that feeling is not the sole province of the mentally ill. Indeed, it's how our whole society is engineered. It's encouraged. It oils the wheels of profit. I've given it up. I've accepted the truth is there will only ever be a very small number of people you will ever truly love or truly be connected with within your lifetime. Socialising is just transient fun and nothing more, and most people cannot achieve it unless they are pissed or high. But yes - if you have a problem talking to other people or feeling good unless you are drunk or high - that is a real problem. That is self medication.
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Yeah I do a lot of things sober, but can't seem to do the social thing sober, well I can, but its not at all enjoyable, so I just don't bother, also there is the temptation when going to bars to drink, so I find that difficult.. so what other social things are there to do?
i don't like bars & clubs, & avoid them as much as possible. If i do go in one i have an orange juice. Personally i like meeting up with friends for a meal & chat - wherever, cafes are good, a nice meal, it doesn't have to be anything wild.

i'm quite content to sit quietly somewhere, there is something very therapeutic about being in my own space, in peace & quiet.

So what sort of thing do people do to get around this? coping strategies? anecdotes? what?
i try & focus on being calm, & find some basic mindfulness/meditation approaches very helpful. i've used 12 step a lot in the past & still try as far/best as possible to use the principles of it all.
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
18,110
Location
london
i don't like bars & clubs, & avoid them as much as possible. If i do go in one i have an orange juice. Personally i like meeting up with friends for a meal & chat - wherever, cafes are good, a nice meal, it doesn't have to be anything wild.

i'm quite content to sit quietly somewhere, there is something very therapeutic about being in my own space, in peace & quiet.



i try & focus on being calm, & find some basic mindfulness/meditation approaches very helpful. i've used 12 step a lot in the past & still try as far/best as possible to use the principles of it all.
but how do you use meditation say on a crowded train, you can't use relaxation either, i'd be interested on tips as welll
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
but how do you use meditation say on a crowded train, you can't use relaxation either, i'd be interested on tips as welll
Of course you can! There is tons of stuff on basic mindfulness/awareness practise, & it can be used anywhere in any situation/circumstances. There is nothing mysterious or complex in any of it.

In a basic sense, what's difficult about a focus & awareness on diaphragmatic type breathing (slow, gentle deep breath)? You can easily train yourself to breath like that naturally the entire time with not much effort, if you wanted to. Other mindfulness practises can become just as easy, in regards to basic principles/practises of allowance/acceptance & dis-identifying from the mind, regardless of whatever else is going on. You can also very much train yourself to be in an observer mode of consciousness with everything.

The issues i see isn't one of difficultly with all these practises/areas, it's in actually doing/practising them - it's not about some intellectual understanding or achieving some assumed state - it's about a certain doing/Being.

It doesn't have to be anything complex, the best approaches, imo, are the most basic anyway.

There are tons of books, web sites & videos on it all. If you (or anyone) wanted to do it, then you'd do it. & it's not about being a perfect enlightened Being in a World of inner peace & calm, it's about an awareness/allowance of what is (whatever it all is), & a practise to increase a certain type of awareness through some very simple principles.
 
F

firelight

New member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
4
Interesting

Of course you can! There is tons of stuff on basic mindfulness/awareness practise, & it can be used anywhere in any situation/circumstances. There is nothing mysterious or complex in any of it.

In a basic sense, what's difficult about a focus & awareness on diaphragmatic type breathing (slow, gentle deep breath)? You can easily train yourself to breath like that naturally the entire time with not much effort, if you wanted to. Other mindfulness practises can become just as easy, in regards to basic principles/practises of allowance/acceptance & dis-identifying from the mind, regardless of whatever else is going on. You can also very much train yourself to be in an observer mode of consciousness with everything.

The issues i see isn't one of difficultly with all these practises/areas, it's in actually doing/practising them - it's not about some intellectual understanding or achieving some assumed state - it's about a certain doing/Being.

It doesn't have to be anything complex, the best approaches, imo, are the most basic anyway.

There are tons of books, web sites & videos on it all. If you (or anyone) wanted to do it, then you'd do it. & it's not about being a perfect enlightened Being in a World of inner peace & calm, it's about an awareness/allowance of what is (whatever it all is), & a practise to increase a certain type of awareness through some very simple principles.
This is interesting, I have never tried this in public,I have tried meditation on my own and it really does help. I just never thought of doing it in a social situation,but rationally of course when you think about it... it would work... because its the space in between talking which is the main difficulty..so if I could practice mindfulness in these times it would help stay calm... even when talking.. because you are you being very in the moment.. and maybe not needing to rely on props (alcohol etc).

Thanks for your contribution. Could you recommend any books or website that might help with specifically doing this in public/social spaces? its long shot, obviously any mindfullness exercise would help.. but maybe there are also some tailored exercises?
 
F

firelight

New member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
4
I feel like this but I don't have any MH issues. I don't have any addictions either. Alcohol and drugs provide a lift to greater confidence and a false sense of well-being. They make socialising easier. They make you forget about the differences between people. All drunks and/or all stoners are best buddies. Personally, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

But there is a huge difference between occasional social intoxication and dependency. What you seem to be describing is your inability to feel meaningful connections with people unless alcohol/drugs are part of the equation. I just wanted to suggest, that feeling is not the sole province of the mentally ill. Indeed, it's how our whole society is engineered. It's encouraged. It oils the wheels of profit. I've given it up. I've accepted the truth is there will only ever be a very small number of people you will ever truly love or truly be connected with within your lifetime. Socialising is just transient fun and nothing more, and most people cannot achieve it unless they are pissed or high. But yes - if you have a problem talking to other people or feeling good unless you are drunk or high - that is a real problem. That is self medication.
I understand what you mean, it can be really superficial, and would prefer less totally mindless socialising, but I think thinking like this can also be harmful for some... connections are important..

Even transient connections can be better than none, and if you don't socialise how are you gonna find the long deeper connections within the sea of transient meetings? some of my most loyal friends have been made going to parties and events... just because they were founded in a more superficial setting doesn't make the connection less real, when you have chemistry with people you have it, if you don't you don't.. the key is that you have to actually MEET people first.. unless you have some sort of super power! and then the second key is feeling calm enough to actually speak to people! lol... :) if I get those down I reckon I've cracked it..

I suppose its about going places you might actually meet people you have something in common with too.. doing some social pruning or something.. maybe thinking about this and also doing a bit of mindfulness could be key.

Thanks for all the responses, the I'm already feeling a bit more positive!
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Thanks for your contribution. Could you recommend any books or website that might help with specifically doing this in public/social spaces? its long shot, obviously any mindfullness exercise would help.. but maybe there are also some tailored exercises?
Your entire life can become a meditation.

There is just so much stuff out there. & i feel it's a case of finding what resonates & works for you as an individual, what you are personally drawn to. Where there is so much stuff out there, i think it can help to find one particular practise/focus/teaching, so as to not get too confused. For me personally i find the very basic & simple practises the best, & have outlined it in the post above. It's easy to get caught up on practises, when that doesn't really matter so much.

i started with learning diaphragmatic breathing (run a google/you tube search on the term) - It is basically breathing from the stomach.

Diaphragmatic breathing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

i'm not sure on basic mindfulness books, there are loads i could list, but just google/amazon/you tube terms such as meditation/mindfulness.

Often cited as a classic is 'Mindfulness in Plain English' by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.
i also have 'Meditation' by Sogyal Rinpoche, which a small & informative book.
Another is 'Mindfulness - a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' - Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World

The Power of Now series by Eckhart Tolle, & his teachings, also a lot of people find very helpful.

A lot of people find the books by Pema Chodron very helpful, & also Thich Nhat Hanh.

There is often a ton of local groups, classes workshops to explore these practises/areas as well. Very often there are local meditation circles.

i have found certain enlightened teachers to have been very good to listen to on you tube. Among those i have found the best are Adyashanti (the videos, basic principles of the teaching & application of the teaching are very good), & Mooji.

Adyashanti.org Home

satsang with mooji

Meditation sites -

Meditation - One thing that changes EverythingArt Of Meditation | Just another WordPress site

Mindfulness Research & Guides

Beyond specific forms it's all really discussing/pointing to the same stuff.
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Just to sit quietly in my own space, with no distractions & a candle is a form of contemplation/meditation - don't get hung up on it. & remember that you already are that which you are seeking. :)

It's a letting go more than it's about 'attaining' anything.
 
Last edited:
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
18,110
Location
london
my transcendental meditation guru used to say if you can meditate on the tube you can meditate anywhere, the tube theres a general background white noise when it goes through tunnels, the train when people are talking or talking into mobiles is hard

Abdominal breathing i do that, if i can find a seat, helps if you don't smoke
 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,634
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
my transcendental meditation guru used to say if you can meditate on the tube you can meditate anywhere, the tube theres a general background white noise when it goes through tunnels, the train when people are talking or talking into mobiles is hard

Abdominal breathing i do that, if i can find a seat, helps if you don't smoke
Sounds like you know more than me? Why ask if it's what you already do?
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
18,110
Location
london
Sounds like you know more than me? Why ask if it's what you already do?
because i struggle to find a method that works on trains and in social situations
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
P How do you guys deal with vindictive people? People 11
hicks Not having to deal with someone any more People 2
C Is my roommate on the autism spectrum/ how can I deal with him? People 2
F How to deal with frends and family that only reply to correspondence and don't keep in touch! People 3
Hikikomori1979 How to deal with people who cheapen your worth/ make you feel worthless? People 1
K Me [28 M] How To Deal With My Mentally And Physically Abusive Father [59 M] Who Bullies And Harasses And Is A Tyrannical Dictator Who Is A Manipulator People 2
S Need help to deal with mental pain People 6
A My mom is very sick how do i deal with it? People 24
A How do i deal with my abusive ex husband People 1
J How to deal with this? People 2
T How do I deal with fake people? People 9
J How to deal with a narcissistic father? People 1
L How do I deal with my family bullying me and calling me argumentative? People 3
J How do I deal with friend that is asking too many favors? People 7
amathus How to deal with critical people. (Article) People 2
L I deal with hearing a family has Cancer? People 5
C Can't deal with all this cyberbullying. People 89
B How do our Family's Deal and Cope with Mental Health Issues? People 6
M How do I deal with my paranoia? People 4
S How to deal with a break up on top of everything else??!! People 11
D How to deal with parents who criticize you for everything? People 5
A How to deal with one-uppers? People 12
Lincoln1990 How do you deal with... People 12
P Being ignored on social media People 16
D The neighbours who ignore social distancing People 2
calmsea Social alienation and isolation People 4
D I used to be very quiet in my class, I then turned very social, and now my classmates seem insecure around me (?) People 3
Peter86 Powerful nostalgia about a camp school from 19 years ago, probably related to my current much less social life People 2
K Blocking people on social media People 2
I Silence and Dating Someone with Social Anxiety. Please Help Me to Understand People 3
I Social skills People 27
D Finding a partner/Dating when struggling with social anxiety People 2
blueMandM90 Friend has removed me of social media People 4
M Getting the silent treatment for twelve years from a person you are forced to live with: Social anxiety, PTSD, Estrangement People 2
M more anti-social by the minute... People 2
N Feel like a social pariah People 13
O The "Judge" (Social Insecurity / Paranoia) People 8
LoneKnight Social PLEASE HELP I'M BEGGING! People 9
Catastrophe Christ, I'm anti-social. People 10
Zanily Bad social life People 2
D Just a suggestion for men and women in regards to relearning how to be social. People 2
Zanily Another awful social situation! Advice needed! *long sory* People 5

Similar threads

Top