When I was in San Miguel last month, after I had been there for a few days, I was hanging out with some new friends at a bar, and a lady asked me:
“How long have you been in town?”
“Since Monday”, I replied
“You’ve only been here since Monday?! How do you know all these people?”
And I answered with a sheepish grin “I guess I have good social skills”
And then I thought back to the last time I visited San Miguel, almost two years before. I had just quit drinking, and I was shy and awkward, isolated in a little shell of insecurity. I think during the entire week I was there I talked to about two people. For years, I had relied on alcohol to overcome my natural introversion and make it easier to socialize. And every time I quit, that feeling of isolation led me to start again.
Now, I’m not trying to convince anyone not to drink. If you’ve got it under control, and it’s a positive thing in your life that helps you de-stress and makes it easier for you to make friends, I’m happy for you. Maybe even a little envious, because I could never keep my drinking under control for very long.
But I know a lot of people who are unhappy with their drinking, but are afraid that if they quit, they’ll lose contact with the world of human beings. To them, I just want to say: It gets easier. It takes a while to get comfortable in your own skin, but once you do, you can enjoy all the benefits of going out and socializing and still get to bed at a reasonable hour and not feel like shit the next day.
How do you get to that point? The same way you get better at anything: Practice. Just do a little bit every day. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I promise.