(Not) Drinking & Anxiety

A short post from me today but a personal experience that I wanted to share  …

I went to an event alone recently. I don’t do this much, it makes me even more anxious than I usually am.

I was nervous when I arrived but it turned out ok. It almost always turns out ok.

I started talking to S, lovely S, and stuck to her like glue at the beginning of the night (thank you).

As the night began, and time passed, I felt my anxiety soften.

It was during this time, at the beginning of the event alone, that I would have previously grabbed a drink to ease myself into the night.

I would drink to minimise my nerves/fear/general anxiety. At an event for the sober curious, a glass of wine wasn’t an option nor would I have been drinking one if it was.

I used to reach for the booze to ease my anxiety, to shift my nervous state to a relaxed one.

It always worked, or at least I thought it did. I’d have a glass of wine when I arrived at an event or a party and twenty minutes later I’d feel at ease, relaxed and ready to enjoy myself.

The same thing happened at this event, except I had no glass of wine. I just had twenty minutes, and then I felt myself soften, relax and began to enjoy myself.

No wine involved, just time.

I felt it again more recently. That urge to drink when I felt isolated and afraid at a social event. But I stopped and noticed, comforted in knowing that the feeling should pass in time. And it did, sure enough, twenty minutes later I had become comfortable in the situation.

Not rocket science, but a revelation to me.

What are your experiences with alcohol and anxiety? How do you manage your anxiety whether you are drinking or not drinking?

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  1. Maureen
    February 24, 2017 / 4:30 PM

    I give in to easily to the call of a drink. When I taste it, it’s not at all good. Its strong and bitter but I know I won’t care after soon. I always regret it in the morning.

  2. Deb L.
    February 24, 2017 / 9:14 PM

    great timing for this post as i am going to an event alone tonight! i used to do the exact same thing, except I’d have the first drink(s) before I arrived just so i could have the courage to show up.
    now that i am over 8 months sober, focusing on my breath is one way i manage my anxiety and will def use this technique tonight 🙂

  3. February 28, 2017 / 2:48 PM

    I used to drink to manage my anxiety. Now I rarely drink at all. Once or twice a year.

  4. March 1, 2017 / 10:59 AM

    I feel right now that a glass of wine is the only thing that calms my nerves:( I have 4 kids and by 5:00 I’m beat, and that’s when the anxiety really kicks in. I would love to meditate or take a few minutes to gather myself, but I’ve got hangry kids that are demanding a meal. My glass of wine while I cook keeps me calm enough to deal with the rest of the day. Eventually I would like to phase this out, but it’s kind of my coping mechanism at this point.

  5. November 11, 2017 / 5:51 PM

    I sometimes get anxious at events, especially if a lot of booze involved…but then I think “well, I bet 90% of the people here are anxious. Not just me. Sometimes feeling anxious or nervous is a normal human feeling” and that sense of acceptance helps and within 10 minutes I’m settled in (with a seltzer or gin-less tonic) and enjoying the night.

  6. Chris Redmayne
    February 8, 2018 / 8:57 AM

    I thought quitting drinking would help my anxiety at work in meetings. But 5 weeks with no booze and I’m still feeling it, maybe it just takes longer or there’s deeper issues! I always used to blame the alcohol for it though, if I had drank recently I would say the anxiety is just the effects of a 3 day hangover! Sure it’ll get better with time though (positive thoughts!)

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