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Hi all,

My problem is that I am very shy and anxious in social situations, and the only thing that helps me to feel comfortable is drinking.  I don't have so much trouble with day-to-day interactions, but more at parties when I'm meeting new people (especially the opposite sex).  I don't think I have a problem with alcohol per se. I have zero relatives with addiction problems and have stopped drinking "just like that" quite easily.  I don't drink at home...I only drink when I go to parties and I don't go all that often (maybe once or twice a month). 

However, I hate the fact that I use alcohol as a crutch to help me feel confident.  I also struggle with depression, and as we all know, alcohol is a depressant.  Today I'm hung over (went to a big party last night) and I feel very down.  I am seeing a wonderful therapist, but I have deep-seated self esteem issues that will probably take some time to overcome.

Anyway, I'm just wondering how I can avoid using alcohol to help me with shyness.  It's just so tempting as a "quick fix" that turns me into a confident person for a night (even though it's a false confidence). 

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One device that I have used in social situations is to fill that need to have something in my hand, and have something to drink. When I dont' feel like drinking alchohol, or know that I shouldn't , I will go ahead and order a coke, or a seven up, or tonic water with lime. 

That way I don't feel like I stick out by not having a drink in my hand, I have something to sip on, and I have the same taste experience minus the liquor. 

The solution otherwise, of course, is to find some way to meet up with someone so that you are busy and not worrying about being anxious.


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I did the same thing for years, only I didn't realize it. I ran with a hard hitting crowd and drinking and hangovers with the norm. I don't hang with them anymore, and besides, I am too old.

You might try this:

EAT: try something high in protein and bulk before you go to the party. This will absorb the booze better.

ALTERNATE: Have a drink, then do as AM suggested, have a coke. Be a clock watcher and count your drinks. Water is good, while you are drinking and when you get home. Hangovers are a result of dehydration.

And, learn some calming tricks. Try and learn to not be so nervous at the party. This ultimately will be the best thing. Learn mediation and do so before you go. It will bring down your anxiety level and your adrenaline.

Good luck. I think you can do this, have a good time, and wake up the next morning liking yourself!


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  • 3 weeks later...

First of all,

Alcohol ain't no pure depressant.  It hits more receptors than Indianapolis' final field goal kick during the NFL (American football) semi-finals game against Pittsburgh last month.  Namely, it hits your GABA (depressant/relaxant, think the benzos and neuropathic pain meds), opiate (semi-depressant, semi-euphoric and also pain-relieving, think morphine), and D1/2 (stimulant/euphoric, think most ADD meds as well as crack/cocaine) receptors.  This is why you probably feel simultaneously both relaxed and stimulated/"buzzed", and it's why you're probably going to be disinhibited and feel like socialization is easier.  Relaxed about feeling more talkative, as they say.  As a 'depressant' as they like to call it, it's not necessarily going to aggravate clinical depression in acute use such as bingeing.

This is speaking from the point of view of a total hypocrite here, as you can tell... I think that your depression would still be better off if you did in fact stay off the alcohol as much as possible, and follow the general alcohol moderation rules as said before (water and juice are good, but I debate the use of sodas/pop since carbonation might unexpectedly increase the uptake of alcohol into your bloodstream and make you more inebriated than planned).  The dysregulation of all those receptors I just lectured you about might cause depression (and a host of other nasty things), especially if you end up a chronic user and then withdraw. 

I've used alcohol as a crutch, though just to avoid reality (and on occasion, seemingly make myself seem less Aspie at parties and other gatherings).  Reality can be an f'in painful bitch a lot, if not all, of the time.  And, just like you, I haven't had any issue quitting cold turkey from 5-10 standard drinks/day (for months!) to zero for over 10 days.  But, I don't experience physical symptoms (like hangover), unless my digestive system happens to be running in reverse that day (I have gastric dysmotility, non-alcohol related, on occasion), and in which case, everything does in fact come out, in reverse, and the alcohol doesn't help, trust me! 

Take my words with a grain of salt... again, hypocrite here.  I love getting smashed.  Any reason, any party, at home, with friends, any f'in filthy excuse I can find.  Reasons I've said before.  Probably on the level of >200 standard drinks per month.  Do as I say, not as I do. ;-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to be like that... And I still am, sometimes. One thing I've learned is to not have too high expectations for yourself. I've learned that it's ok to not be the most social person at a party. Try finding some people you know that you can sit and talk to. And take a break if you need to. I sometimes go to a quiet room to get some time with myself and just take it easy. Maybe doing some breathing exercises. Whatever helps.

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Right---it's a CNS depressant, not necessarily a mood depressant. But it usually causes you to feel depressed the next day when you think about all the goofy things you said and did the night before.



Of course it's a CNS depressant (no disagreement there).  But it's also a CNS stimulant simultaneously (D1/D2 action).  But, the depressant activity > stimulant activity, and it's usually the CNS depressant activity that gets people killed (GABA overactivation leading to passing out w/aspiration, or pure CNS death by toxicity, or doing stupid shit while stumbling around ataxic or attempting to drive).

Also agreed with your secondary depression theory there. ;-)  It's that combination of CNS depressant (telling one part of your brain to STFU, namely, the one that controls inhibitions) and the CNS stimulant (hey guys! let's yap about everything and act like f'in idiots!) effects that'll make you regret what you did the previous night. =D

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